RAC Cars News


Jaguar working on its next SUV

By raccars Published


The F-Pace has barely hit the road and Jaguar is already testing another new, smaller SUV.

Jaguar's first SUV, the F-Pace, has been received with great acclaim. So convinced is the company by the sales potential of the SUV market that it is already developing another more compact SUV.

A test mule has been spotted out, in the form of a truncated F-Pace. Earlier this year a Land Rover-esque small SUV was spied testing near the Jaguar offices in Gaydon, Warwickshire, but Jaguar declined to give any details. The later test mule looks noticeably more like a Jag.

Baby F-Pace

The junior F-Pace is expected to reach the market within the next couple of years, with an estimated starting price of £28,000. Industry rumour had suggested the 'E-Pace' name for the compact SUV but it is believed that Jaguar has now discounted that possibility.

Apparently the F-Pace's chassis doesn't lend itself to the modifications necessary for a compact version, so Jaguar plans to use the same chassis which underpins the Range Rover Evoque, known as LR-MS, which is older and smaller but has some years left in it yet. The same chassis is used on the new Land Rover Discovery Sport, which Jaguar has no plans to replace before 2022.

Jaguar designer Ian Cullum has discussed the difficulties of engine placement in smaller models, and it sounds as though the junior F-Pace, at an entry level at least, will be a front wheel drive model in order to accommodate a transverse engine layout. However, the majority of the range and certainly the higher spec models will be four wheel drive.

Jaguar experimenting with electric power trains

Registration details for the test mule show it to be diesel-electric, suggesting that Jaguar plans to expand its use of alternative power trains. With diesel or petrol hybrid technology on board, Jaguar could offer the small SUV with sub-100g/km CO2 emissions and 70mpg or more in fuel economy. For traditional combustion engines the firm is expected to stick with modern four cylinder units rather than use punchy six cylinder models, as it has with the Evoque.

In the same way that the XE and the XF share similar design cues, it seems likely that the new SUV will closely resemble the larger F-Pace. Think a bluff front end and truncated overhangs. Boot and cabin space will naturally be reduced but there should be enough room to make the new model competitive with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz GLB and the BMW X1. With a longer wheelbase it should also be a more practical model than the style-focused Evoque.

The much anticipated Tesla Model X will also be competing for sales with the big cat if Jaguar decides to go through with an all-electric version of the small SUV, as predicted. Insurance details record the car's model as Jaguar X590, which codename apparently refers to the thus-far private new electric platform.

A separate, stand-alone electric SUV?

What is not clear as yet is whether Jaguar plans to develop electric versions of the compact SUV or to go for a stand-alone, all-new, electric SUV model. This could utilise the F-Pace and XE's larger platform, already designed to accommodate electric power. This means that, potentially, the Jaguar line-up could include three SUVs by 2020; the F-Pace, the smaller 'E-Pace' plus a separate electric SUV. Hybrid technology is also planned for the F-Pace by 2020.

If showroom models are due in 2018, Jaguar should be debuting at least a concept, if not a final production version of the compact SUV next year.

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