A smaller chip off

the F-PACE block

Jaguar E-PACE, front action 2
Jaguar E-PACE, side action field 2
Jaguar E-PACE, side action field
Jaguar E-PACE, front static
Jaguar E-PACE, front action
Jaguar E-PACE, side action
Jaguar E-PACE, rear action 2
Jaguar E-PACE, boot 2
Jaguar E-PACE, front seats
Jaguar E-PACE, dashboard
Jaguar E-PACE, rear action
Jaguar E-PACE, boot

MOST people buying a new Jaguar E-PACE will be making their first purchase of a car with the big cat badge on the nose.

And that's mostly because until now Jaguar hasn't had a medium-sized SUV to sell them.

Now it has, and for less than any other current Jaguar as the company feeds a galloping world demand for cars that look as though they could tackle a river crossing on their way to drop the kids off at school.

Costing from £28,500, the new E-PACE looks quite obviously like a smaller, younger brother to the deeply successful F-PACE, which is at least £6,000 more expensive.

Showing how Jaguar plans a truly international future for the E-PACE, it is being built in Austria with a Chinese operation added later in 2018.

This new and most affordable Jaguar has to mix two worlds to tempt buyers; it's got to look and drive like a Jaguar and then perform mundane family duties in a spacious and practical way.

Well, it certainly looks like a Jaguar and won't ever be confused with rivals like the BMW X2 or the new Volvo XC40. If you like the bigger F-PACE you'll like its smaller sibling.

Looks like a current Jaguar inside, too. With a sweeping dashboard, big touchscreen and nicely clear instruments the E-PACE feels premium enough to fight in the same ring as its German and Scandinavian opposition.

Only a fraction longer than Range Rover's Evoque, which donates a modified version of its underbody to the new Jaguar, the E-PACE is big enough for mum, dad and three children and has enough room in the boot for the weekly shop or a carefully packed week's worth of holiday luggage.

Power comes from a series of 2.0 litre four-cylinder engines; three diesels (150, 180, 240 horsepower) and two petrol units (249 and 300 horsepower) and all E-Paces except the entry level diesel have all-wheel drive and most will a nine-speed automatic gearbox.

Choose the 150 diesel with six-speed manual gearbox and you'll have the least polluting E-PACE, with 124g/km of CO2. At the other end of the spectrum you'll find the £50,710 300 horsepower petrol model which takes 6.4 seconds to hit 62mph, but at the cost of 181g/km.

Likely most popular will be the 180 diesel, from £30,790 with eight-speed auto 'box and the ability to shunt power to all four wheels when a slippery road surface is detected.

Like all cars with lofty aspirations the E-PACE comes decently well equipped as standard but tempts with a glittering array of tasty extras. Standard kit includes 17ins alloy wheels, six speaker sound system, DAB radio, cruise control, rear camera, parking sensors and climate control.

The R-Dynamic trim level (from £30,750) adds more aggressive looks and, inside, bolstered front sports seats and the sort of prominent double stitching to the upholstery that makes a car feel expensive.

Choose a First Edition E-PACE (from £47,800) and the goodies count includes LED headlights, tailgate that opens with swipe of a foot beneath the rear bumper, 20ins alloys, leather upholstery, heated and electrically adjusted front seats and a head up instrument display.

Driving behind the 180 horsepower diesel engine showed off a car with reasonable verve, but nothing approaching proper sportiness (9.9 seconds to 62mph).

There was compensation in a ride that stayed impressively pliant even on optional 20ins alloy wheels and a trip computer read out of 42.6mpg after 90 miles of spirited driving in deepest Wales.

Hustling a 300 horsepower petrol version produced a thirstier 29mpg but in a car that rode more roughly but covered ground with a Jaguar-like growl and felt properly quick when prodded.

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