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    The Jaguar E-Pace shows off a rather cab-forward look in these spy shots

    It seems the Jaguar F-Pace may be getting a little sibling soon. A smaller crossover, which we expect will be called the E-Pace, has been caught during winter testing. The SUV seen here appears to be sized like compact luxury crossovers such as the Audi Q3 and BMW X1. This also fits with Jaguar's brand director's statements that it has been considering an SUV for this class.

    Much of the car is well camouflaged, but taking a close look, this E-Pace has a surprisingly short dash-to-axle ratio. It's not as drastic as the electric I-Pace concept, but there's so little space between the bumper and the base of the windshield that we sincerely doubt that a longitudinal inline-4 or V6 could be lurking under the hood. And, if the E-Pace does in fact use a transverse-mounted engine, it probably doesn't share a platform with any of its rear-drive-based stablemates.

    It may seem strange that a company known for its rear-drive cars is considering a transverse, front-drive-based vehicle, but there are reasons it may be going this way. For one thing, Jaguar's brand director said he wasn't sure that the company's existing platforms could be scaled down far enough for such a compact crossover. That would seem to preclude using an existing rear-drive platform or developing a totally new one. In fact, it only leaves one real option in the Jaguar Land Rover line for this vehicle: the Range Rover Evoque platform, which is also shared with the Discovery Sport. It's a small SUV platform with a transverse layout. It's also currently available and should be cheap to adapt; perfect for capitalizing on the hot crossover market. We just hope Jaguar can inject some more fun into it than Land Rover did with the Discovery Sport.

    Using that platform also means Jaguar would probably borrow one or more engines from the Evoque and Discovery Sport. In the US, both models are only offered with a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 making 240 horsepower. Overseas, both vehicles are available with 2.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinders, making either 150 or 180 horsepower too. Considering that the 180-horsepower diesel model will arrive in the US under the hood of the Jaguar XE, it's possible that it will show up in the E-Pace as well. Don't expect any of the overseas manual transmissions to make the trip, though. Jaguar only offers a manual on the F-Type sports car in the US, so there really isn't any reason to add one to a small crossover.

    As for when Jaguar will show the uncovered production E-Pace, it could be a while. This thoroughly-covered model makes us believe we won't see the crossover's debut until an auto show in early-2018 at the soonest.

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