The Focus RS-like all-wheel drive system should help in that pursuit.
JRL isn’t exactly in uncharted territory with the Jaguar E-Pace. Jaguar’s sibling Land Rover has a few years of experience building the compact Evoque and even went as far as to experiment with a convertible version of that, but this will be the first compact SUV from the company with a feline-inspired logo emblazoned on the grille. Though it shares its architecture with the Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport, Jaguar toiled quite a lot to make the E-Pace unique and car-like as ever.
It all starts with the length of the car. At 4.4 meters (14.4 feet) long, it’s not much larger than a compact sedan. Buyers can spec it so that the engine powers only the front wheels, but the top spec version Jaguar loaned out to Autocar is equipped with the range-topping transversally-mounted turbocharged inline-four making 300 horsepower.
That’s sent to all four wheels using a sophisticated all-wheel drive system—similar to the one on the Ford Focus RS—after passing through a nine-speed automatic transmission. In the UK, Jaguar asks £50,000 ($66,660) for the privilege of owning one. Steep, but possibly worth it if the British automaker managed to make the finished product any good. So did it? To find out, Autocar’s Matt Prior takes the 2018 E-Pace for a spin. In doing so, he learns that the E-Pace does in fact feel like a Jaguar and preserves some car-like handling through the corners, though that might not mean it’s actually the best vehicle in this highly competitive class.