► Revealed: plan to build Jaguar E-Pace
► New smaller SUV targets BMW X3
► To be twinned with Evoque, Disco Sport
Last week we revealed how Jaguar is preparing a full-sized Range Rover rival dubbed J-Pace for launch by the end of the decade; today we can confirm that a smaller sibling is waiting in the wings: the so-called E-Pace.
It’s part of the leaping cat’s plan to play catch-up on the global crossover craze and follows in the wake of the already-confirmed F-Pace, née C-X17 concept car. But this one’s aimed at today’s BMW X3 and forthcoming Mercedes GLC and Audi TTQ.
Jaguar E-Pace: what do we know?
This project is at the very early evaluation stage, as product planners in Whitley investigate whether there’s space in the line-up alongside the conceptually similar F-Pace for a slightly smaller SUV.
The bean-counters’ projections suggest that Jaguar’s third - still tentative - crossover model should generate enough volume to make a serious impact on the bottom line. Especially as the engineering profile would twin it with the Range Rover Evoque, cutting development and production costs.
Architecture: a Land Rover underneath
Since pairing the E-Pace with the aluminium-intensive XE/F-Pace would almost certainly break the budget, just about the only alternative is to base the smaller crossover on the older Land Rover D8 platform. An evolution of Ford’s ancient C/D platform which underpinned the Freelander, D8 is a low-cost all-steel structure.
Jaguar Land Rover uses it on the new Discovery Sport, the Evoque and its replacement. Simple to tweak, relatively cheap to build and totally flexible in terms of bodystyle variations and engineering content, D8 reportedly makes a compelling business case.
When could Jaguar launch the E-Pace?
Admittedly, E-Pace is still in its infancy, and it may in its current form be too close to the Evoque for comfort. If market research confirms this suspicion, repositioning the car against X1, Q3 and GLA would be the easiest trick in the book.
In any case, we’re are unlikely to see the real thing at dealerships before the decade runs out. Click here for the full scoop on the Jaguar J-Pace.