Jaguar’s eye-catching whopper of a red and chrome ‘growler’ grille badge should have been a big enough clue on its own that the E-Pace is not just another sports utility vehicle.

While a new compact SUV seems to join the crowded sector every few weeks, the E-Pace has Jaguar’s sporty blood clearly coursing through its sculpted veins.

Everything about the muscular exterior design, from the short overhangs and powerful haunches to the fast sweep of the roofline screams energy.

If all this paints a picture of a fire-breathing, fuel-devouring monster then think again, for while high-performance models are available, including a 300 horsepower version, there are also much more wallet-friendly variants, like the car driven here.

Priced from £28,500, the spacious five-seater E-Pace lines up against a collection of refined rivals such as the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Mercedes GLA.

The car driven here, with front-wheel-drive, came with a 150 horsepower turbocharged diesel engine that combines quiet cruising with the potential to cover 60 miles on every gallon of increasingly pricey fuel, matching practicality and polish with sporting poise.

With such a beefy body to move, this engine is all about economy rather than hustle, but then buyers of this model will not be planning to break any land speed records. That said, the E-Pace does give you control over individual settings for the throttle and steering.

By flicking between the ‘eco’, ‘comfort’ and ‘sport’ settings, the system delivers tangible differences of both throttle response and steering weight. Where fitted, the adaptive dynamics suspension system is also tweaked at the touch of the same button.

The classy interior puts plenty of technology on show, with the dashboard dominated by a 10-inch colour touchscreen housing ten on-screen buttons, with a further ten old-school buttons lined up beneath. A larger 12.3-inch touchscreen panel is an option, as are two Meridian audio systems.

Climate control is handled by three good old-fashioned classy dials, which is something of a blessing as it saves having to delve deep into touchscreen menus simply to adjust the temperature.

A properly useful option is a £310 wearable, fitbit-style ‘activity key’. The waterproof and shockproof wristband has an integrated transponder, allowing you to lock the main key inside the vehicle when following outdoor pursuits. Whenever the activity key is activated, by holding the wristband up to the upper edge of the number plate surround on the tailgate, the car is locked and any conventional key fobs left inside the vehicle are disabled.

Front and rear parking sensors are standard on every vehicle and the test car came with a crystal-clear reversing camera to help guide you into tricky parking places, even in the dark.

The car driven here sported no less than £10,000 of optional equipment from a £1,090 pair of 14-way electric, heated memory front seats and a £1,830 set of 19-inch, five-spoke alloy wheels, to a £410 powered tailgate and £360 Wi-Fi hotspot.

Mounted behind the windscreen, a stereo camera underpins the advanced emergency braking system, which also provides pedestrian detection, and supports lane keep assist and traffic sign recognition, as well as the adaptive speed limiter, and driver condition monitor features.

More technology warns of traffic in the blind spot, approaching vehicles at junctions where visibility is restricted and vehicles crossing when reversing.

So there is heaps of technology and practicality packed into a well-built, spacious and neat handling car. Its polished interior and good looks are bound to lure buyers eager for a taste of Jaguar dynamics, combined with a dash of real refinement.

Auto facts

Model: Jaguar E-Pace D 150 S

Price: £41,915 as tested

Insurance group: 26E (1-50)

Fuel consumption (combined): 60.1mpg

Top speed: 124mph

Length: 444.1cm/174.8in

Width: 190cm/74.8in

Luggage capacity: 15 cu ft

Fuel tank capacity: 12.3 gallons/56 litres

CO2 emissions: 124 g/km

Warranty: Three years/ 100,000 miles