Like everything Jaguar have done in the last few years, again it seems they’re on a winner with the first small SUV ever from the revered British brand – the E-Pace.
Jaguar’s first SUV, the bigger F-Pace, released only a couple of years ago, has been critically acclaimed globally for not only its handsome looks, but handling prowess and dynamic engines.
And it’s that recipe that’s been followed for the E-Pace.
It’s not like they had to start from scratch. The donor car, the one that shares the same chassis and drivetrains, is already about the most competent of the small, premium SUV’s on the market.
While the Evoque looks small, the E-Pace, designed by the legendary Ian Callum, somehow seems bigger.
It adopts a more rounded look with an unmistakable Jaguar face, and that swept back cabin makes it look like it’s going fast even when it’s stopped.
The interior is a work of art – particularly in the top of the line HSE R-Dynamic form. Surprisingly spacious, and supremely comfortable, it’s like a Saville Row suit.
Fastidious attention to detail, elegant, understated style, and very obviously, only the finest materials money can buy – everything you’d expect from a Jaguar.
The interior, like the exterior, is reminiscent of the legendary Jaguar sports car, the F-Type.
The same dash architecture is used, right down to the grab handles, and the instrument binnacle and gear selector come straight from the car that is Jaguar’s headline act.
The test car, the Jaguar E-Pace HSE R-Dynamic D240, came laden with standard features.
Think 20 inch alloys, a 10 inch touch screen combined with one of the easiest to use infotainment systems, 360 degree cameras, voice control, auto high beam and powered, gesture tail gate just to name a few.
Under the bonnet is one of the newest engines from Jaguar. It’s the Ingenium 2.0 litre turbo diesel that packs a remarkable punch.
177kw and a whopping 500Nm propel the Jag in an unfussed but genuinely swift fashion – 0 to 100km/h pops up in a little over 7 seconds while returning a miserly 6.2 litres of diesel per 100km travelled.
But the shine is not about 0-100km times, it is in fact about the surge of 500Nm that is most apparent when accelerating from 80km/h to pass Grandma in her Magna on the freeway.
It’s also about the relaxed nature of the engine, in its prime at about 2000 rpm. It makes for effortless city driving and rewarding performance on the open road.
The engine is teamed with a new 9-Speed transmission.
There are a few examples of a 9-Speed gearbox where there just seems to be too much choice on offer, therefore you end up listening to a transmission that can’t make up its mind and never really seems to be in the right gear (think new Holden Commodore). Not so in the E-Pace.
It’s a subtle shifter that is decisive and always has the engine primed to deliver peak performance. And of course, you can take manual control, should you wish.
The E-Pace delivers with agile yet compliant road manners (even on the 20inch rims), and it encourages a swift pace on challenging roads displaying a surprising amount grip, and predictable handling characteristics.
For a high riding vehicle with a short wheelbase, it shouldn’t be as entertaining to drive as it is. The Jaguar engineers have found the sweet spot, giving the E-Pace an ability to step up and deliver a spirited, pointy drive, or a relaxed, cosseted ride – whatever your mood may be.
The E-Pace recently received a 5 Star ANCAP Safety rating, performing well in all areas, and scoring a perfect 8 out of 8 for side impact protection.
There’s a suite of active safety systems to help you avoid getting into trouble in the first place like Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Assist, Rear View Camera, Adaptive Cruise Control w/- Queue Assist, Driver Condition Monitor, High-Speed Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist, Park Assist, Rear Traffic Monitor and an Interactive Driver Display.
- Looks fantastic
- Beautiful, surprisingly spacious interior
- Strong diesel engine and intuitive gearbox
- Dynamic handling and supple ride
- Excellent fuel economy
- Generous standard inclusions
- Brilliant safety credentials
- That special “Jaguar Feel”
Not So Good Bits
- Noisy diesel engine that can intrude into the cabin
- Small amount of turbo lag
- Mind boggling options list
There’s little doubt Jaguar is on winner with this peach.
It’s likely to become the bestselling Jaguar ever – and with good reason. It’s a surprisingly rewarding car to drive, it employs state of the art technology, handles like it shouldn’t, and looks sensational.
With an ability to personalise this car into whatever configuration that suits you, it’ll be hard to find one E-Pace that is the same as another, guaranteeing you are joining a rather exclusive club.
It’s a comprehensive package that delivers everything you would expect from Jaguar, and a little bit more.
Facts And Figures: 2018 Jaguar E-PACE
- Engine: 2.0L turbo diesel producing 177kW/500Nm
- Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
- Safety: Five Star
- Warranty: 3 Yrs
- Origin: United Kingdom
- Price: from $80,315