JAGUAR E-PACE SUV

The new ‘com­pact’ E-Pace is Jaguar’s lat­est ‘sports SUV.’ Damien O’Car­roll re­ports

NZ4WD - - CONTENTS -

Fol­low­ing on from the suc­cess of the F-Pace, it was in­evitable that Jaguar would add more SUVs to its line- up, so to that end we have the “barely an SUV” I- Pace all- elec­tric SUV due later this year, and the very car you see be­fore you now, the smaller E-Pace. While it comes in both FWD and AWD forms in­ter­na­tion­ally, the New Zealand range will be ex­clu­sively AWD, with a mix of diesel and petrol power. The diesel pow­ered D150 S kicks off the range at $ 69,900, while i ts petrol equiv­a­lent – the P250 S – lands at $ 74,900. Two R-Dy­namic S mod­els come next, with a P250 and a more pow­er­ful diesel D180 both cost­ing $ 79,900. The R- Dy­namic SE tops the range, with the P250 land­ing at $ 84,900, while ether more pow­er­ful P300 costs $ 89,900.

Fea­ture driven

The E-Pace comes stan­dard with a, quite frankly, stag­ger­ing ar­ray of fea­tures, with an even larger op­tions list. The E-Pace is the first Jaguar to be pow­ered ex­clu­sively by four- cylin­der en­gines, with both diesel and petrol ver­sions of JLR’s In­ge­nium 2.0litre turbo en­gine. Lo­cally we get the diesel in t wo states of tune - the 110kW/ 380Nm D150 and the 132kW/ 430Nm D180, while the petrol vari­ant also comes in t wo flavours – the 184kW/ 365Nm P250 and the 220kW/ 400Nm P300. We only got to drive the most pow­er­ful petrol en­gine at the launch, and it is a cracker. The P300 is smooth and pow­er­ful, with a nicely lin­ear power re­sponse that makes it feel more like a smaller six than a turbo four, even man­ag­ing a pleas­ingly gruff six- ish growl un­der heavy ac­cel­er­a­tion. The nine-speed auto is a slick, seam­less op­er­a­tor, while it also boasts a nicely nim­ble chas­sis and sur­pris­ingly re­spon­sive with a pleas­ant feel.

Feels like…

The AWD sys­tem is ex­tremely clever and very ef­fec­tive, util­is­ing t wo in­de­pen­dent elec­tri­cally con­trolled wet- plate clutches on the rear axle, as op­posed to a dif­fer­en­tial, and it en­dows the E-Pace with a re­mark­ably RWD- like feel, par­tic­u­larly on the loos­esur­face demon­stra­tion where things got de­light­fully side­ways. The in­te­rior is beau­ti­fully built and nicely laid out, with ex­cel­lent qual­ity ma­te­ri­als on dis­play and some bril­liantly com­fort­able seats. Like the larger F-Pace, there was a no­tice­able brit­tle­ness to the firm ride, with a strong ten­dency to jos­tle its oc­cu­pants on less than per­fect sur­faces. While it is im­pos­si­ble to tell for sure in another coun­try, this could well be a weak­ness for the E-Pace on New Zealand’s ag­gres­sive chip sealed roads, much as it is for the F-Pace. In terms of looks, well, to our eyes it is less suc­cess­ful than its dy­namic abil­i­ties. While it has some lovely de­sign de­tails, the over­all pic­ture is of a tall and ex­tremely generic small SUV – from a dis­tance it could eas­ily be mis­taken for a SsangYong Ko­rando and that is some­thing that no­body re­ally wants from a Jaguar…

Down-siz­ing

Beau­ti­fully built and un­mis­tak­ably a Jaguar from be­hind the wheel, the E- Pace’s oddly bland styling and slightly brit­tle ride show that mov­ing down a size in the SUV seg­ment isn’t quite as easy as it might at first seem. That said, the good points are still very good in­deed, with the ex­cel­lent AWD sys­tem, beau­ti­ful in­te­rior and nim­ble chas­sis be­ing par­tic­u­lar high­lights, while the only en­gine we drove was also very good in­deed. While it re­mains to be seen how the rest of the en­gine range stacks up, and what the ride is like on lo­cal roads, the E-Pace comes off as a very good pack­age wrapped up in bland styling.

E-Pace brings Jag sta­tus and style to Com­pact SUV sec­tor.

Ver­sa­tile E-Pace pitched at ad­ven­tur­ous end of buyer spec­trum.

NZ gets AWD-only mod­els but mix of diesel and petrol en­gines.

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