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Jaguar E-Pace Caught Ready To Do Battle With Germany's Baby SUVs

Spy Shots / Comments

Could this be the car that puts JLR on par with the Germans?

Even with three stunning sedans and one of the best-looking coupes on the market, the rush to ditch small cars and snap up SUVs has made it so that the Jaguar F-Pace is currently the most sought-after cat in the automaker's fleet. However, if Jaguar ever wants to truly compete with the likes of Mercedes-Benz, Audi or BMW it will need more SUVs. Seen here is the E-Pace, an upcoming model set to go toe-to-toe with the likes of the Audi Q3, the BMW X1, and the Mercedes GLA. JLR already has experience in this segment thanks to the Range Rover Evoque.

Our spy photographers had to travel to Northern Sweden to catch the new E-Pace testing. It appears to share its steel D8 platform with the Evoque, meaning no ultra lightweight SUV this time around. While weight could remain a concern due to the user of the heavier metal, interior space should be more abundant and the car as a whole will be cheaper to produce, meaning JLR is setting itself up for some serious profits, especially if the E-Pace sells in F-Pace numbers. That's because, despite all the camouflage, it's easy to see that Jaguar is retaining the attractive silhouette of the F-Pace. With a lower price than the F-Pace we're sure the baby crossover will be a hit for the automaker.

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While we can't peek under the hood of the test mule, our best guess is that the E-Pace will feature Jaguar's range of 2.0-liter Ingenium four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines. Once the E-Pace is established, we wouldn't be surprised to see either a plug-in hybrid variant or a full electric version out within the next few years. If anything these electrified models will pave the way for the upcoming I-Pace, which could be on the market as early as 2018. While the Jag appears to be in the middle of rigorous development testing, we shouldn't have to wait too much longer until we see it on dealership lots, with some rumors suggesting it could be out as early as mid 2017. That would put it in showrooms just time for the holiday season.