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Auto Showdown: 2018 Jaguar E-Pace vs. 2018 Volvo XC40
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Wink 
Auto Showdown: 2018 Jaguar E-Pace vs. 2018 Volvo XC40


Taking a closer look at two luxury crossovers at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show


Taking a closer look at two luxury crossovers at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show

Los Angeles is a town both obsessed with status and constantly struggling with the high cost of living that comes with being the nation’s second-largest city. So perhaps it’s no surprise that both Jaguar and Volvo chose L.A. as the place to make the U.S. debut of its smallest and thus cheapest luxury SUVs. With the 2018 Jaguar E-Pace and 2018 Volvo XC40 set to do battle soon on the streets (and on this web page), we thought we’d take a look at how the two soon-to-be rivals compare on the show stand.

Read more about the 2018 Volvo XC40 in this First Look, and check out our 2018 Jaguar E-Pace First Drive here.

On The Street



Designing a big luxury vehicle is always easier than designing a small one. In the minds of the average consumer, big equals expensive equals luxurious, and small equals cheap equals ordinary. Despite the inherent difficulties in designing a small luxury SUV, both Jaguar and Volvo have largely succeeded.

The Jaguar is the bigger surprise of the two because its designs have traditionally been about a big but elegant presence—like the F-Type sports car or F-Pace crossover. It doesn’t look like it in pictures, but in person Jaguar’s design scales down rather well on the E-Pace. The E-Pace might be on the small side, but the design work is unmistakably Jaguar and gives it a purposeful and planted look. As my colleague over at Automobile Kirill Ougarov said, Ian Callum knows a thing or two about design.

The Volvo has demonstrated mastery in design lately, and the XC40 is no exception. The Swedish automaker manages to scale the XC90’s and XC60’s designs down to the XC40’s smaller size while still managing to make the XC40 look like its own distinct vehicle. The optional color-contrasting roof and the aggressive D-pillar are just icing on the cake.

Inside

Just like it’s hard to make a small luxury vehicle look good, it’s difficult to make a small cabin feel roomy. Of the two, the Volvo feels ever so slightly roomier, with exceptional visibility out front, spacious seats in back, and a big trunk. The XC40’s interior design is particularly noteworthy, especially in XC40 R-Design form. The XC40 R-Design features black leather and Alcantara seats with contrasting orange carpeting that continues onto a fuzzy carpetlike material on the door panels. The cabin is finished off by metallic trim with a cross-stitched design etched into it and Volvo’s Sensus infotainment tablet anchoring the center console. The end result is a refreshingly original take on a luxury crossover’s interior.

The Jaguar E-Pace’s interior is the more traditional of the two (the Jag interior pictured here is the one with red seats). It’s designed to mimic the F-Type’s, with the passenger getting two meaty grab handles wrapped in leather and finished in satin metal trim. The leather and metal accents continue throughout the cabin, offset by a large infotainment screen and digital instrument cluster.

The back seat of the E-Pace is surprisingly roomy for its size, with plenty of room for 6-foot-tall adult males to squeeze in back.

Under the Hood

Both the Jaguar E-Pace and Volvo XC40 are powered by turbocharged I-4 engines. The E-Pace gets a 2.0-liter turbo I-4 with two power outputs: 246 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque in lesser models and 296 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque in upper-level models. A nine-speed automatic and all-wheel drive is standard in the E-Pace.

The XC40 is currently only available with a 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 producing 248 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque paired with an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. A lower-powered version of the XC40’s engine will be found in a future front-wheel-drive version of the XC40, and a more powerful plug-in hybrid version will serve as the range topper in the near future.

Both the Jaguar E-Pace and Volvo XC40 should be available at dealerships by the beginning of 2018.

Read about other compact luxury crossovers:

 

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By Christian Seabaugh

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