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It was the news that was almost inevitable for Jaguar. A look at the company's current global sales in 2017 reveals that they are up 27% (5% in the UK) - and the car largely responsible for that growth is the F-Pace.
While there's no such thing as a guarantee when it comes to fickle car buyers, with the ever-growing popularity of crossovers at all levels, it's a brave person that would bet against the new smaller Jaguar E-Pace following in the same successful wheel-tracks as its bigger brother.
Don't think that the crossover boom is purely aimed at retail buyers, however; there's plenty of business customers too. With the F-Pace, 40% of sales are to company drivers and much of the remainder is taken by small business owners.
Indeed, for all the anti-diesel rhetoric of late, initial orders for the E-Pace look very familiar. The three 2.0-litre diesel engines (from 150hp up to 240hp) are expected to account for three-quarters of sales, as will the automatic gearbox and the R Dynamic trim level in S and HSE forms. Emissions in the E-Pace range start from 124g/km; however, that's only for the entry-level two-wheel drive 150hp model. This R Dynamic HSE with four-wheel drive is significantly higher at 147g/km (equating to a 31% BIK rate).
For the moment, there's no hybrid version available and the two turbo-petrol engine choices are very performance-orientated at 250hp or 300hp.
There's no doubt that the aesthetics of this car will attract buyers, though, this is a good-looking car with plenty of design cues borrowed from the sporty F-Type. We love the little hidden touches, too, with a silhouette of a Jaguar and its baby cub hidden in the windscreen surround and also in the puddle lights at night.
That appeal continues out on the road. From the moment you set off, it's clear that this E-Pace boasts a far more involved feel than any of its rivals, including the Audi Q3 and BMW X1. The steering has a weighty, solid feel to it, there's little body roll through corners, and the car's body feels taut and well honed. In short, you quickly feel at one with the car and it gives you the confidence to drive with enthusiasm.
All that is thanks to Jaguar's Adaptive Dynamics system, which enables you to tune the suspension to your mood and the road conditions, and the Active Driveline system, which is responsible for that sporty on-road feel. The ride quality is firm but not uncomfortable, even on the larger 20in wheels, although we'd advise thinking carefully before opting for the even-larger 21in versions.
Inside, the interior is well made and clearly laid out with controls that are easy to use on the move, and there's also a full-colour head-up display and USB points for every passenger - a boon for anyone with children with phones or tablets to charge. The on-board technology also enables the E-Pace to be started remotely to defrost on an icy morning or can be used to plan and download sat nav directions in advance.
There's plenty of head and legroom throughout, even for adults in the back seats, and at 577 litres the boot is a decent size with the rear seats up.
That the E-Pace will be a sales success isn't in doubt. Alongside the Audi Q3 and BMW X1, this baby Jaguar is definitely the sportier choice - and probably the most stylish too. And with the Volvo XC40 also on the way, competition in the premium compact crossover market is about to get very fierce indeed.