The new E-PACE baby luxury SUV is exactly what Jaguar needs

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Unlike the F-Pace SUV, the E-Pace has only been announced with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine for our market. The next step is a 177bhp diesel with a little more torque, which is yours with manual or ZF nine-speed automatic transmissions. Torque vectoring will also be available on some E Pace models depending on which engine you opt for.

Proportionally, the E-Pace takes a slightly different approach than its larger SUV sibling, though the same elongated hood is found here. It's a manual and front-wheel drive vehicle only.

If you favour a petrol engine there are two options, one producing 247bhp and the other 296bhp.

The new E-PACE baby luxury SUV is exactly what Jaguar needs

No E-Pace should feel slow. We expect the 180PS diesel will be the popular choice for many, getting you to 60mph in under 10 second. You can see a lot of F-Pace in the side profile and the rear end, although the overhangs seem a bit shorter here. The rest of the diesel engines attract BiK ratings of between 27 and 34%, while the two petrol engines get either 33 or 35% tariffs. It sits in the range under the larger and already hugely successful F-Pace, but with its smaller stature the E-Pace is expected to surpass its stablemate. Jaguar has resisted the temptation to consign the heating and ventilation controls to a touchscreen submenu and says the physical dials for these functions are inspired by a camera lens. This goes one better than the F-Pace, which offers the 8-inch Touch as standard. Prices will start at $39,595 for the Core range, $48,245 for the R-Dynamic range, and $54,545 for the First Edition. The latter will be available in the car's sporty, R-Dynamic trim. Drivers can choose between four driving modes, which include Normal, Dynamic, ECO, and Rain, Ice, and Snow. On a slippery surface for example, the system can send nearly all the engine's power to the rear if the front axle loses traction. It's also the first Jaguar to feature a next-generation head-up display and gets the option of a 12.3-inch instrument panel. This might open the E-Pace to jibes about how much it's going to roll when hitting fast corners, although Jaguar assures us that won't happen.

Like other Jaguars, the E-PACE makes extensive use of aluminum for trimming weight.

Folding the seats down gives you 1,234-litres of space.

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There's even a wearable, waterproof activity key wristband so you can lock your keys in the auto while running, swimming or cycling. A gesture-controlled boot release is also offered, so waving your foot under the rear bumper will see tailgate to lift up - a boon for those times when your hands are full.

There's plenty of safety kit on-board with autonomous emergency braking, pedestrian detection and lane keep assist.

There will also be a "first edition" model available in the first year of sale, costing £47,800.

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Three drivelines are also available, a front wheel drive layout for the 148bhp diesel, with permanent all wheel drive systems available with the aforementioned model and the 178bhp diesel and 246bhp petrol engine.

Despite Jaguar's dangerously similar naming scheme, don't confuse this vehicle with the all-electric Jaguar I-Pace, as the E-Pace doesn't sip electrons.

With a starting price of $38,600, the 2018 Jaguar E-Pace is substantially more expensive than existing entries in the segment, with most priced around $33,000.

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