If your first SUV is a huge success, logic would declare you should hurry up and pump out another one as soon as possible. In fact, these days, the more SUVs you have in your lineup, the better. Well, there is indeed a second Jaguar utility, as they’ve followed up the midsize F-PACE with a compact E-PACE.  

There are many things that surprised us about Jag’s encore SUV. Chief of which, is that due to it being based on the Range Rover Evoque’s D8 architecture, it’s actually heavier than the mostly aluminum midsize F-PACE.  So, there’s a very solid feel when prowling the curves.

One thing that is no surprise is that E-PACE shares the Evoque’s 2.0-liter turbo I4. However, Jaguar has done some updating, and there are actually two different versions.  Base models see a 246-horsepower form, while R-Dynamics don a 296-horsepower variant. The increased power is largely due to just spinning up the turbos a little more.  

The sole transmission for both is a 9-speed automatic.  There are also two different all-wheel drive setups.  The base system operates with a mostly 50/50 split of power, and can send more to the front or rear when slip is detected.  

The optional Active Driveline operates in mostly front-wheel-drive, but responds quicker when shifting the power around. It allows for full rear-drive operation, with a pair of wet plate clutches sending all power to one rear wheel when needed. So, this cub can be fun under the right circumstances, greatly aiding in handling; and of course there are lots of electronics keeping things happening in sync.  

On that, in addition to the typical choice of drive modes, you can get quite deep into individual adjustments of throttle response, transmission shifting, and steering; provided you have the time, and stumble across the right menus.  

You don’t have to stumble onto an E-PACE to be impressed by its aggressively shaped sheet metal. There is some resemblance to the F-PACE, but where Jag’s larger utility is rounded and muscular, this one is more angular, and appears designed to get as much room inside as possible.

When it comes to interior packaging for the E-PACE, they were also very successful.  All seating positions boast lots of space, including in the rear. Cargo space is also quite good for the class; 24.2 cubic-ft. with the seats up, and 52.7 cubic-ft. with them folded.

Between the Touch Pro infotainment system, and the large 12.3-inch TFT instrument cluster, you’ll get plenty of screen time in the E-PACE, and even an available Head-Up display if you’re trying to minimize it.  

For our complete test of the 2018 Jaguar E-PACE, be sure to catch MotorWeek’s 38th season premiere, episode #3801, that begins airing on September 7, 2018. For a complete listing of the public television stations that broadcast MotorWeek, go to motorweek.org and click the “About The Show” tab at the top. New episodes of MotorWeek premiere on Tuesday evenings on the Velocity cable network. 

It’s hard to say what Jaguar’s legacy will ultimately end up being.  Going from the fabulous sports cars of the mid-20th century, through the questionable 1980 and 90s, to the full-on luxury-performance stable of today. Regardless, SUVs like the E-PACE, designed with the spirit of the F-TYPE, are sure to be a big part of the brand going forward.