It will take on the might of the Range Rover Evoque, Audi Q3 and BMW X3 - and you wouldn't bet against it coming out on top. The E-Pace isn't to be confused with the next year's i-Pace, an all-electric SUV that will be positioned higher up the price ranks to take on the Tesla Model X.
Ian Callum, Jaguar's director of design, said: "Established Jaguar design principles ensure the E-PACE is immediately recognisable as the sports auto of its class". The company says that the design has been inspired by the F-Type, and that is most evident in the front and rear lights. It was known internally as Jaguar's "cub", and features baby Jaguar graphics on the edge of the windscreen and in the pavement-illuminating puddle lamps. Both are mated to a nine-speed ZF automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive is standard on all models.
In the case of the 150PS D150 Ingenium diesel engine you can get a whopping 60.1mpg with Carbon dioxide emissions of just 124g/km - all pretty impressive for a vehicle of this size, even if it is called compact. Note that choosing an automatic gearbox sees this figure fall to 50.4mpg, and those selecting the 237bhp diesel will see a further efficiency fall, with this engine officially pegged at 45.6mpg. You can split the 1280x542 pixel screen to show two different functions.
Like the rest of the Jaguar lineup, the E-Pace has a subtly striking exterior design. The D40 stops the clock in 7.4 seconds and the D180 9.3. We already know the E-Pace can be had from $38,600, below the larger and already popular F-Pace.
Despite being Jaguar's most accessible model, according to design boss Ian Callum the E-Pace was designed for excitement from a visual sense at least, rather than outright utilitarianism. Jaguar says that the total testing programme has encompassed over 120,000 hours, with 500 engineers working on the vehicle to ensure it fulfils its brief.
But E-PACE is a departure from traditional Jags as well. That model also has larger air intakes, body-colored sills and a satin-finished grille.
The lower-spec E-PACE variants fall under the "Core" classification and are available in standard, S and SE grades - all get a 183kW engine output.
The new 10-inch, Touch pro infotainment system gels with the design of the dashboard. An available Configurable Dynamics technology allows drivers to personalize throttle, steering and transmission settings. Buyers can opt for a 12.3-inch instrument panel display and a new head-up display that projects brighter, clearer graphics onto the windshield.
Jaguar's second foray into the SUV market is here and it is said to be - no surprise, really - brimming with connectivity.
The boot is a good size at 484 litres and the load compartment's one of the widest in its class at 1057mm between the wheel arches.
Word is there's a petrol or diesel hybrid E-Pace in the wings, but for full electrification the completely new I-Pace SUV coming next year is the one to wait for.
There's even a wearable, waterproof activity key wristband so you can lock your keys in the vehicle while running, swimming or cycling.
Full Australian specs have yet to be finalised, but Jaguar has initially announced four trim levels; S, SE and HSE in the mainstream range and a First Edition offered exclusively with D180 and P250 engines for the initial year of manufacture.