WHEN a neighbour takes the trouble to knock on my door and rather cheekily ask for a closer look at the car on my driveway, it must be something a little bit special.
That's exactly what happened when I took delivery of a Jaguar E-PACE.
It's a scaled down version of the mighty F-PACE SUV and it's big on performance, thrills, styling, technology and all-round appeal. And with the likes of the Porsche Mecan and Audi Q5 in its sights, it needed to tick all the right boxes - it does.
From any approach, the E-PACE looks muscular and athletic in its styling. Our car was supplied with Pearl Black premium metallic paintwork and together with the tinted windows, 20-inch black alloys and red brake calipers it looked pretty menacing too.
And that's not all - other eye-catching styling cues include chrome side vents, twin tailpipes, a tailgate spoiler, a fixed panoramic roof, sweeping light clusters with signature LED daytime running lights and an R-Dynamic body kit that introduced a unique bumper design and gloss black grille.
Move inside and there's a wealth of state-of-the-art technology to explore. Creature comforts include the likes of Oyster Windsor leather upholstery with suede headlining, 18-way electric heated front seats with memory functions, a head-up display, a surround camera system, pitch perfect Meridian sound system, sat nav, a 12.3-inch interactive driver display, a 10-inch Touch Pro infotainment system and plenty more besides. In fact, the list of features was so long it extended to a second page of A4 in miniscule print size.
Our car in range-topping HSE R-Dynamic trim was powered by a 300ps 2.0-litre petrol engine and could complete the 0-62mph dash in a very rapid 6.4 seconds. It topped out at 151mph and, according to official figures, delivered combined fuel economy of 35.3mpg with carbon emissions of 181g/km.
Clearly with such a generous list of features, the E-PACE was not cheap. Our car began life at £50,710 but the optional extras saw that cost rise to £57,015.
But it's worth remembering that this was a range-topper fitted with all the bells and whistles, so if you're looking for a more economical entry price, the E-PACE range starts from Â£27,770 which is pretty reasonable for an SUV carrying the big cat Jaguar badging.
Comfort levels within the car are excellent with all the seat and steering wheel adjustment necessary to find a perfect driving position.
There is ample space for four adults to travel in comfort, a fifth is possible but could mean rubbing shoulders. And when it comes to storage space, the E-PACE is well equipped to cope with the demands of an active family's lifestyle.
The boot can accommodate 575 litres (484 if there is a space saver spare wheel) which is more than its closest rivals and it can open up to a capacity of 1,234 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat.
Elsewhere there's a good-sized glovebox, central box, practical door bins, cup holders and lots more storage options scattered throughout the cabin.
So, it seems Jaguar has the looks, practicality and technology aspects covered, but what about performance? After all, Jaguar customers expect a dynamic experience.
Well, the E-PACE with that mighty petrol engine lives up to any high expectations.
Admittedly it's the punchiest of all powertrains on offer so was never going to be left wanting, but it delivered blistering performance.
The acceleration through the eight-speed automatic gearbox was very swift and there are paddles if you fancy taking control of the gear shift changes.
The road-holding is exceptionally grippy and tight bends can be attacked with confidence.
There are various driving modes that alter the car's responses and if driven in Dynamic you can almost watch the fuel gauge drop before your eyes.
If driven with a little more respect, the economy is better, but still not great. However if fuel efficiency tops the wish-list then look for a more frugal engine as there's plenty of choice.
Out on the faster motorways, the cabin is well insulated against any road surface or engine noise and the road creases are ironed out by the highly efficient suspension.
Then, in town centres, the E-PACE behaves like a tamed animal moving nimbly through the crowds drawing glances of admiration as it passes.
Head back into the country and that dynamic performance is back to its best, proving the car is an ideal model for all types of driving.
Our car also came with an Activity Key (costing £310) which proves the E-PACE is being marketed towards a younger, more adventurous audience.
The key is a security wrist strap that can be worn for swimming and diving to a depth of 30 metres.
It's also shockproof. While it is being worn the ‘proper' keys can remain safely inside the car and when the activity key is activated, the car is locked, the alarm armed and any smart key inside the vehicle is disarmed.
This process works in reverse when you return from a dip to cool off.
And of course, it boasts all the essential USB outlets along with 4G Wi-Fi hotspot to stay connected on the move.
So, when you factor in the comprehensive list of safety specifications and the car's all-wheel-drive capabilities, the E-PACE is the complete all-rounder.