A look at Jaguar's first compact SUV.
Jaguar E-Pace

The E-Pace R-Dynamic S P300 AWD in Caesium Blue.

There was a lot of concern when Jaguar announced it was building an SUV, but that concern was quickly done away with when the F-Pace arrived in 2016. The mid-size SUV delivered an ideal combination of power and luxury and now Jaguar is ready to unleash their second and most compact SUV, the E-Pace. 

Coming in at 13 inches shorter than its larger sibling, the compact crossover isn't just a smaller version of the F-Pace. The design definitely holds its own with its big rear haunches and a dramatic raked roof profile that gives it a sportier look that is more F-Type than F-Pace. Even the lights follow the same design language with a vertical housing that flows better with the car's coupe-like profile. 

The haunches and the rake of the rear glass are two of the car's most striking elements.

The haunches and the rake of the rear glass are two of the car's most striking elements.

Take a closer look at the car and you'll see that the designers had a bit of a field day when it came down to the details. From the side fender vents that are done up in polished chrome or satin chrome to the 3D chamfering on the grille mesh and the beautifully integrated tailpipes that are inspired by jet engines. 

Though it's positioned as their smaller SUV, the cabin feels anything but small. The interior has plenty of space and you've got tons of room for cargo with 24 cubic feet of total storage and 52 cubic feet when the seats are folded down. Jaguar didn't skimp on luxury either, there's lots of leather to be had here and the driver-focused cabin from the F-Type has been perfectly translated to the E-Pace.

And just like the exterior, the interior is filled with tons of special details such as stowage mats and seat labels that feature a graphic pattern of a jaguar's skin, a windscreen graphic of a cub ('cub' was Jaguar's code name for the car) following its mother, and they've even shaped the top of the dashboard to represent a chicane line, a nod to the brand's racing heritage.

These 20" 5 split-spoke wheels are one of 11 available wheel options. 

These 20" 5 split-spoke wheels are one of 11 available wheel options. 

When it comes to technology, there's a lot to talk about. A big 10-inch display dominates the center stack and the analog dash can be swapped out with a 12.3" digital display. Go one step further and you can option their next-gen head-up display that projects a full-color HUD that indicates speed, navigation, entertainment, and even cruise control settings and blind spot warnings. 

Other gadgets include an optional Meridian 825W surround system with 15 speakers, a navigation system that allows you to share your ETA via text or e-mail, Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity, a remote app you can access from your smartphone or smartwatch, USB ports for all your passengers, and a whole array of driver assistance aids. 

So how does it perform on the road? Jaguar took us to the bendy roads of Corsica, France to test out its agility both on road and off. In the corners, our R-Dynamic, 296-hp P300 model with AWD was much more nimble and sporty than we anticipated and the 2.0L, four-cylinder Ingenium engine proved to be incredibly capable. 

Much of this capability can be attributed to what they're calling an 'Active Driveline,' a feature that can automatically sense where it needs to send the torque for things like better fuel efficiency or improved handling in the corners. One of the biggest surprises was how well it handled on the dirt. On muddy mountain roads and steep descents, the AWD system proved itself with ease and ride comfort on the trail could not have been more pleasant. 

The compact crossover segment is huge, but it's not exactly the most exciting category in the automotive market. The Jaguar E-Pace changes that. We've got a feeling this is going to be massively popular for the brand. It's sexy, it performs well, and it's just plain fun. 

From $38,600, jaguarusa.com

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