When Jaguar launched its first-ever SUV in 2016, much wailing and gnashing of teeth ensued. How could a company with “grace, space and pace” as its ethos possibly make a success of an off-roader?
Then people drove the car, and found that it was actually rather good. It was (and still is) a good tow car, too.
Emboldened, Jaguar decided to further strengthen its SUV position by making a smaller one, called the E-Pace. It certainly appeared with some fanfare, but once the furore had died down, did good things come in small(er) packages? And was it much cop as a tow car? Well, as we’ll see, yes… and no.
What’s a Jaguar E-Pace like inside?
When you get behind the wheel of a Jaguar E-Pace, you’re in no doubt you’re driving an SUV. Whereas some German rivals feel more like hatchbacks with a better view
out, the E-Pace feels tall and chunky. But the glass area is quite shallow to the sides and rear, so manoeuvring isn’t that easy.
The dashboard feels reasonably well made, and there’s certainly a good amount of standard kit – all models have a 10-inch touchscreen at least, dual-zone climate control, parking sensors at both ends, cruise control and LED headlights.
Higher spec levels add welcome extra items such as larger alloys, electrically adjustable seats and leather trim.
Passenger comfort is always a crucial consideration when you’re looking for the best tow car. There’s a reasonable amount of space in the front, but those in the back will be left hoping that the campsite isn’t too far away, because their knees will be pressed against the backs of the front seats. And shoulder room is such that three teenagers had better be on speaking terms.
The boot offers adequate capacity, but isn’t the most usable shape, and there’s a lip to lift luggage over. However, when folded down, the rear seats lie almost flat.
How does a Jaguar E-Pace drive?
There are many E-Pace models to choose from, but if you regularly tow, a mid-range D180 diesel with 4WD and a nine-speed auto makes the best compromise between performance and economy.
This is not a light car (it weighs more than the F-Pace), which has both positives and negatives. Performance isn’t thrilling, and the gearbox can feel rather hesitant, but that weight means the E-Pace has a hefty towing capacity. On paper at least. In the real world, it doesn’t feel quite as confident as bigger rivals, and can be bossed around by a heavy trailer.
The ride quality is patchy, not helped by the fact that most models come on large alloys. Even on motorways, the ride can be annoyingly hard, and bumpy urban or country roads can feel quite uncomfortable. But if you find an example with optional adaptive suspension, this will be better.
The Jaguar E-Pace is a good-looking SUV with an attractive interior that feels well made. But as a tow car it is found wanting. It isn’t spacious enough, and tends to get tugged around too much when towing. We’d advise opting for a car with which it shares its underpinnings – the Land Rover Discovery Sport, which is comfier, roomier and a more capable tow car.
- Take a look at our best used car to tow a caravan guide if you’re after more pre-owned inspiration
Need to know
What will it tow?
- Kerbweight: 1831kg
- Towing limit: 1800kg
- Noseweight limit: 100kg
- 85% match: 1556kg
- 2.0d Core AWD
- Insurance group: 29
- Annual VED: £165*
- Average economy: 48.7mpg
- Interim/full service: £102/£142
- Servicing prices by Servicing Stop, 0844 324 5262, servicingstop.co.uk
*If the E-Pace cost more than £40,000 when new, it is subject to an extra annual VED charge of £355 until it is five years old
Some cars were recalled because faulty brazing of the fuel rail end caps could cause a fuel leak. Then 1305 cars were recalled because of a software fault that prevented the reversing lights from working properly.
Out-of-spec brake hose brackets forced a recall, as did missing bolts on the front seat frame assembly. Faulty fuel return hose assemblies were the cause of another recall.
A full list of recalls for the Jaguar E-Pace can be found by visiting check-vehicle-recalls.service.gov.uk.
What to pay for a used Jaguar E-Pace
- High: Price: £54,000; Model: 2021 P300e R-Dynamic HSE; Miles: 8000
- Sweet spot: Price: £24,000; Model: 2019 2.0d Core; Miles: 27,000
- Low: Price: £17,000; Model: 2017 2.0d Core; Miles: 60,000
Or you could try:
This is a smart alternative offering a quality interior and driving experience, with very sharp steering and neat body control. Front- or four-wheel-drive models are available, and for towing, we’d choose the 187bhp xDrive (4WD). SE trim is the one to go for, with auto lights and wipers, rear parking sensors, an automatic tailgate and sat nav.
Check our review of the 2016 BMW X1
Land Rover Discovery Sport
If you plan to take your caravan into a muddy campsite at the back of beyond, this is the SUV to choose. It has all of Land Rover’s four-wheel-drive experience behind it, plus diesel engines that are the strong and silent types. Its interior feels well made and it’s roomy enough for seven, because it has two extra seats in the boot.
Take a look at our review of the 2016 Land Rover Discovery Sport
The Jaguar E-Pace looks good, but the Volvo XC40 is its match in this regard. It oozes Scandi cool, both outside and in. There’s a range of petrol and diesel engines to choose from, although the diesels were killed off in 2020 in favour of PHEV versions. The car is beautifully quiet on the move, and while not the most alert handler, it will certainly provide lots of comfort and standard kit.
Take a more in-depth look at our guide to a used Volv0 XC40
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