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The 2018 Jaguar E-Pace is small, sporty and connected

Starting at $38,600

Jaguar hopes that lightning can strike twice with its crossovers. Its first offering, the F-Pace, is a solid success. Now, it's hoping the all-new 2018 Jaguar E-Pace can deliver all over again.

Just as the XE and XF sedans carry a number of similar aesthetic features, so does the E-Pace and F-Pace. You can see a lot of F-Pace in the side profile and the rear end, although the overhangs seem a bit shorter here. Whereas the headlights are slim on the F-Pace, they're somewhat exaggerated on the E-Pace, looking more like the F-Type's new headlights.

Inside, it's all traditional Jaguar. There's a passenger grab handle off the center stack, a silly electronic shifter and the fun HVAC controls that have screens displaying the temperature inside them. A fully digital instrument panel is optional, as well, like many other Jaguar products.

The E-Pace is engineered to be a sportier sort of crossover, thanks to stiff suspension bushings, solid subframe mounts and anti-roll bars. You can ramp up the sport with the optional Configurable Dynamics package, which allows you to change throttle mapping, steering response and transmission shift speed settings individually. If that isn't enough for you, adaptive dampers are available, as well. A four-mode switch -- Normal, Dynamic, Eco and Weather -- is standard.

There are two engines on offer in the US. The standard E-Pace comes with a 2.0-liter I4 good for 246 horsepower. The E-Pace R-Dynamic, which rocks a set of sportier design cues inside and out -- including gloss black trim, sport seats and a more aggressive front bumpers -- also packs a 2.0-liter I4, but it puts out 296 horsepower, which is a modest bump.

All-wheel drive and a nine-speed transmission are standard, no matter the trim. The all-wheel-drive system can send most of its torque to either the front or rear axle. During steady cruising, it disengages the rear axle for increased efficiency, but it can start functioning again in about 0.3 seconds.

Like other new Jaguars, the E-Pace uses the InControl Touch Pro infotainment system, which sports a 10-inch touchscreen in a wide format. Navigation is standard in all but the most base trim, and it can pair with your phone to help set up routes ahead of time, and it'll even broadcast your ETA to specified people as you travel along. Arrival Mode can suggest parking spaces close to your destination, as well.

Thankfully, Jaguar didn't overdo it on the screens in the E-Pace.

Jaguar

The E-Pace also packs a brand-new head-up display. It can project a whole boatload of information, including full-color graphics, right into the driver's field of view. It'll show safety systems, navigation directions, engine speed and also whatever's on the radio. You can change not only what is shown, but where on the screen it's displayed.

All five occupants get their own USB port, and if you want to use somebody else's data for a change, the E-Pace comes with a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot on all but the lowest trim. It'll support up to eight devices simultaneously.

Speaking of safety systems, the E-Pace packs active blind-spot monitoring, which can pull you back into your lane if you're about to merge into somebody. The front cameras can display what's immediately to the side of the front bumper, which is helpful when leaving alleyways. It'll help you park in both parallel and perpendicular spots, and in the event of an impending collision, it'll warn you before then applying the brakes.

When it goes on sale in early 2018, the base E-Pace will cost $38,600. You can move up to the fancier S or SE trims for $41,500 or $44,300, respectively. If you'd rather opt for the R-Dynamic variant, this one starts at $47,250 for the S trim, $50,050 for the SE trim and $53,100 for the tippy-top HSE trim.

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