Jaguar is worshiped for its luxurious sporting saloons and grand tourers, but when it flung into the SUV market with the F-Pace in 2016 it marked an only new direction for the brand. Fast forward a couple of years, and its indulge brother is now here – the compact, tech-laden E-Pace. We were invited to induce it both on and off-road, so naturally set about seeing what brands the new model tick.
Before driving the new baby Jaguar SUV, it’s significance having a look at its underpinnings and some of the thorough thought that has agreed into it. The E-Pace is Jaguar’s only current model to use a transverse-mounted machine, which of course is a more efficient packaging solution to detain things compact. While this is new for Jaguar, it’s not a new platform – the E-Pace refer ti most of its underside from the JLR D8 platform, and so is closely related to the Stretch Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport.
Engine-wise, the E-Pace exclusively uses JLR’s Ingenium drift of engines; 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder powerplants at ones disposal in either petrol or diesel format. The 250 and 300hp petrol way outs come with all-wheel-drive and automatic transmissions only, while diesel privileges range from 150hp to 240hp. The entry-level diesel is the on the contrary engine available paired to a front-wheel-drive manual transmission, however the mid-range 180hp is also available with a manual (but AWD) gearbox – the leftovers of the range is auto, AWD only.
Keen to tailor to every patron’s needs, Jaguar has made the E-Pace available in an plethora of manner packages and trim levels, all available in any combination; you can add the R-Dynamic or Elementary Edition to any specification, whether it’s basic, SE or HSE. No matter what your selection is, the E-Pace promises to deliver a rewarding drive on the road (while surviving capable off-road) and technology to keep the entire family maintained on a long drive.
Petrol Head Point Of View
Being a petrolhead and speed-freak, I snatched the keys to the 300hp petrol HSE R-Dynamic to get my first taste of what the E-Pace is all respecting. As you approach the E-Pace one thing is clear – this is a seriously compacted SUV; a good looking one at that. Climb inside though, and there’s organize a-plenty; Jaguar have very slickly managed to conspire tardis-properties into this machine. This is further pirated by the amount of hidden storage inside – there are cubby discrepancies left right and centre, adding up to nearly 60 litres of storage solo; it’s an extremely efficient use of space and really makes a difference.
Visibility is excellent, with the E-Pace releasing the high-up driving position that helps make SUVs so pleasing. On-board WiFi, 12v charging points for all five commuters and a 10” central touchscreen give you an idea of the technology to hand, and the driver also gets a 12.3” digital display and heads-up unveil, making it easy to see information from speed and gear indicators to sailing and music data. The E-Pace is one comfortable place to be.
Comfort And Panache
The comfort doesn’t stop out on the road, either. The sound isolation and moist are both excellent; the petrol engine makes a pleasant noise but is far from meddlesome. It seems that the Jaguar traits of sportiness and luxury prepare firmly found their homes in the E-Pace.
Out on the open alleyway, the E-Pace’s chassis works very nicely, and it’s capable of smokescreen ground at great pace while being fun too. Despite it’s careful dimensions the baby Jag is no lightweight, and even with 300bhp the apparatus doesn’t hide the mass as well as the chassis manages to. Supposing speed increases rapidly enough, the engine just on no occasion feels like it has the grunt that the figures suggest.
Interestingly enough, I move a 240bhp diesel model later in the day and found it far more enjoyable; this choice definitely be my pick of the bunch.
Another niggle of the E-Pace when mean hard is the 9-speed automatic gearbox. It’s smooth, and of course there are quantities of ratios to choose from. But it has no real sense of urgency; ZF’s 8-cog auto was a tour de force but sadly it seems its new 9-speed doesn’t share the same ensorcellment. I dare say the petrol E-Pace would feel a whole lot more electrifying with a snappier gearchange.
While with Jaguar we were invited to try the E-Pace off-road, which is something I was acute to give a try. A key part of the way the E-Pace drives is its ability to torque-vector, utilize consuming wet clutches to meter out torque to each wheel individually, with fine fantastic precision. On the road, that means it can use the power to steer the car circa the corners and really improve agility. However, when off-road items get really clever; in low traction situations the E-Pace can intelligently detect where the grip is and use its systems to power whichever wheel can deliver best use of it.
With Low Traction Launch modes and a whole hotelier of other tech, as tried and tested by Land Rover, the E-Pace very is a capable off-roader. Put it at the bottom of a sloped muddy field and I clothed no doubt it would pull itself out with ease.
The E-Pace has looks, practicality, and cheer in spades, with a chassis capable both on the road and off it. And, with so multifarious options, there seems to be an E-Pace for all; only the more hardcore drivers potency not quite fall in love with it. Bravo Jaguar.