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Jaguar's new SUV costs S$193,999

The Jaguar E-Pace is a baby crossover that arrives with outsized expectations.

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The base E-Pace 2.0 S has 249 horsepower under the bonnet, which is enough for a 0 to 100km/h time of 7.0 seconds.

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The steering wheel resembles the one in the F-Type.

Singapore

THERE'S a new baby in the Jaguar family, and it has put its maker in such a playful mood that you'll find a subtle graphic of a mother and her cub on the edge of its windscreen. The E-Pace is a compact Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) that went on sale here on March 22, with prices kicking off at S$193,999 (with Certificate Of Entitlement) for the most basic version.

Despite the letter "E" in its name, the new Jaguar has no electric drive system. Instead, its model designation is an allusion to the fact that it sits one class below the F-Pace, the first Jaguar SUV.

But the E-Pace borrows more than a few styling cues from the F-Type, the brand's two-seat sports car. It has upright, pulled-back headlights like the F-Type, and the rear-end styling casually apes that of the two-seater.

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It's also meant to be sports car-like inside. The steering wheel resembles the one in the F-Type, it has a proper gear lever (versus a rotary dial in the F-Pace) and there are stylised elements on the dashboard, such as air-con dials inspired by the lens of a Leica camera.

Despite the visual connection to Jaguar's sports car, under the skin, the E-Pace is more closely related to the Land Rover Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque, sharing the same basic platform as those cars.

Size-wise, the E-Pace is slightly smaller than the Volvo XC40, another new entry in the compact crossover market. Jaguar says it offers generous space in the back, however, while a clever rear suspension design has left plenty of room for a relatively large 478-litre boot.

Three versions of the car are available here, based on two basic engine choices. Both are 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbos from Jaguar-Land Rover's new Ingenium engine family, but they differ in their states of tune.

The base E-Pace 2.0 S has 249 horsepower under the bonnet, which is enough for a 0 to 100km/h time of 7.0 seconds.

Jaguar is also targeting collectors with a 2.0 First Edition version, which costs S$225,999. The label is available only in a new model's first year of production. It entails special colours and different floor mats and treadplates, among other features.

The range is topped by a 2.0 SE R-Dynamic version, which has 300hp and the ability to scamper to 100km/h in a hot hatch-like 6.4 seconds. The "R-Dynamic" pack also adds design differences, such as sportier bumpers, body coloured sills, dark chrome on the front grille, and goodies inside such as sports seats and contrast stitching. R-Dynamic models also come with steering column mounted paddles for the driver to make rapid gear changes.

While Jaguar insiders fondly refer to the E-Pace as the brand's new cub, there are outsized expectations on the car itself because the crossover segment is rapidly expanding.

The brand's other SUV, the F-Pace, has delivered plenty of growth. In 2016, its launch boosted Jaguar's worldwide volume by 83 per cent.

As its second SUV, and one of only two Jaguars to be available for less than S$200,000, the E-Pace is aimed at newcomers to the brand. The new addition to the Jaguar family is expected to swell the family coffers.