The Jaguar SUV family is expecting the pitter-patter of fresh tyres in the guise of the upcoming F-Pace little brother, and it looks like the automotive community has gotten an early look at this brand-new model. It might have donned the customary camouflaging bodywork, but spy shots of the smaller F-Pace have given as plenty to think about and look forward to.

The new SUV, which might adopt the E-Pace name, has been snapped recently, and we can discern more than a little about its shape and styling. Plenty of F-Pace design traits are evident, though we notice that the rear lines rise strongly to create a more compact model. Still, the steeply raked rear windscreen appears to nicely imitate the sporty rear end so integral to the F-Pace DNA.

A full reveal of the new model is expected towards the end of the year. Until then, we’re still pleased to bring the latest news. A DVLA licence check has previously revealed that the new compact SUV has registered a 2.0L diesel-electric hybrid, so it seems to be a good bet that the Jaguar production team are looking towards alternative powertrains to set their new model apart. Using either petrol or diesel-based hybrid tech could see CO2 dropping below 100g/km and fuel efficiency ratings rising above 70mpg.

While hybrid options are likely, we aren’t holding our breath for a six-cylinder trim. After all, the advances in turbocharged four-cylinder units have made such engines slightly outdated; the power advantage has been eroded, but you can still expect fuel economy to drop, so we doubt many drivers will react too negatively to a V6-less Jaguar SUV.

Jaguar officials have actually confirmed that even the orientation of the engine may be changed. Chief designer Ian Callum suggested a switch to a transverse engine layout. Entry-level models could, therefore, be front-wheel drive. In fact, the short rear overhang seen in the spy shots does suggest that Jaguar is experimenting with front-wheel-drive in mind. As to whether and where all-wheel drive might be offered, we’ll have to wait and see.

It might not be until 2018 that a model of the new Jaguar SUV is ready to arrive at your local showroom, but we’re positive Jaguar will be keeping anticipation hot by releasing more information and unveiling the finished model by the end of this year. If you’re interested in the baby F-Pace, make sure you watch this space.