I drove a $54,000 Jaguar E-Pace to see if the crossover SUV could deliver both on luxury and performance - here's the verdict
- After launching its first-ever SUV with the mid-size F-Pace, Jaguar has followed with the compact E-Pace.
- It's a sharply and stylishly designed luxury crossover.
- I liked the F-Pace better, but there's no arguing that the sport R-Dynamic trim level delivers eye-opening Jaguar-caliber performance.
For most of its dazzling history, dating back to 1935, Jaguar was known for gorgeous cars that were captivating to look at and thrilling to drive.
During the financial crisis, Jaguar and stablemate Land Rover were sold by then-owned Ford to India's Tata Motors. Since then, Tata has done a marvelous job of keeping Jaguar relevant. That's meant stunningly high-performance cars like the F-Type, but also Jag's first-ever SUV, the F-Pace, which arrive for the 2017 model year.Designed by Ian Callum, that vehicle was a stunner. But the insatiable market for luxury crossovers wouldn't be sated by a single SUV with a Jaguar badge on the grille. Thus, the smaller E-Pace arrived for 2018. Now Jaguar has the crossovers it needs to compete head-to-head, segment-by-segment, with BMW, Mercedes, Audi, and Lexus.
The big issue for Jaguar isn't that the company can't do SUVs. With the F-Pace, it showed it can. The question is whether it can consistently translate Jag's storied DNA - Enzo Ferrari named the classic E-Type as the most beautiful car he'd ever seen - to the more awkward genre of the crossover. Because let's face it, these are basically just large hatchbacks, or lifted station wagons. You aren't supposed to drool over them.
You are supposed to drool over Jags, however. All Jags. And that extends beyond the aesthetics. You're also meant to relish the driving part. Speed and beauty have always found themselves conjoined - such is the destiny of all leaping cats.
We were intrigued to see if Jaguar could pull off a repeat performance with the E-Pace, after the F-Pace blew us away. So we borrowed a 2018 E-Pace R-Dynamic HSE, stickering at $54,095. Here's how it went.
Photos by Hollis Johnson.