RED HOT

Jaguar’s new SUV con­tender en­ters mar­ket with a bang

Albany Advertiser - - MOTORING - Ewan Kennedy

Jaguar was rel­a­tively slow at get­ting into the small end of the boom­ing pres­tige SUV mar­ket. Now the Brit mar­que is in there. Tagged the E-Pace, it joins its big brother the F-Pace, which has been on sale here since Oc­to­ber 2016.

The E-Pace is pretty well lineball in size for the pres­tige class, be­ing 4395mm long and sit­ting on a 2681mm wheel­base.

In a smart mar­ket­ing move, Jaguar has in­tro­duced the E-Pace to Aus­tralia with a First Edi­tion. This will be on sale for the first 12 months af­ter its launch in March this year. Three colour op­tions are avail­able: Caldera Red, which is unique to the First Edi­tion for the first 12 months, White and San­torini Black. Our test Jaguar had the red paint — loved it.

Gloss black de­tail­ing and 20-inch Satin Grey di­a­mond-turned, split­spoke al­loy wheels make a real state­ment.

In­side, it has a spe­cial soft-grain Wind­sor leather in­te­rior in Ebony with red con­trast stitch­ing and an Ebony suede head­lin­ing.

Jaguar di­rec­tor of de­sign Ian Cal­lum has given the E-Pace a good com­bi­na­tion of style and prac­ti­cal­ity, with a body that is al­most a coupe at the back. The front is very Jaguar with the grille in black hon­ey­comb. The in­te­rior is very Bri­tish in a way that will ap­peal to tra­di­tional, as well as new, Jaguar own­ers. The mix of ma­te­ri­als and the in­te­gra­tion of the shapes look great.

The First Edi­tion is pow­ered by either a 183kW In­ge­nium petrol engine or a 132kW In­ge­nium diesel. The 221kW In­ge­nium turbo-petrol can take the E-Pace from zero to 100km/h in 6.4 sec­onds. Both drive through a nine-speed ZF au­to­matic trans­mis­sion to all four wheels. Our test Jag had the petrol unit.

As well as these en­gines there is also a 110kW In­ge­nium turbo-diesel on of­fer in other grades.

Jaguar’s Touch Pro in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem is op­er­ated through a 10-inch touch­screen in­ter­face and a cus­tomis­able home screen.

The new E-Pace is the first Jaguar to use the company’s next-gen­er­a­tion Thin-Film Tran­sis­tor Head-Up Dis­play tech­nol­ogy. This projects large, full-colour graph­ics that have ex­cel­lent clar­ity.

The E-Pace has a stereo cam­era to pick up images that will be pro­cessed for the ad­vanced emer­gency brak­ing sys­tem (with pedes­trian as well as ve­hi­cle de­tec­tion) and lane keep as­sist and is part of the driver con­di­tion mon­i­tor which helps keep inat­ten­tive drivers from wan­der­ing over­much. A clever new for­ward traf­fic de­tec­tion sys­tem warns drivers of ap­proach­ing ve­hi­cles at junc­tions where vis­i­bil­ity is re­stricted.

Ad­vanced ac­tive safety fea­tures in­clude a pedes­trian airbag, which de­ploys from be­neath the trail­ing edge of the bon­net to pro­vide some de­gree of ex­tra pro­tec­tion in a col­li­sion.

In­te­rior space is good in the front but the rear seat is lim­ited for leg room if those in the front have their seats well back. Boot space is good but the slop­ing rear lim­its its abil­ity to cart bulky items.

Engine per­for­mance is ex­cel­lent, with only a min­i­mum of turbo lag. The eight-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion is quick to re­spond to the driver’s needs. Once the pow­er­train has all its set­tings in place it re­ally rock­ets along, mean­ing there’s a min­i­mum of time spent on the wrong side of the road when over­tak­ing.

Fuel use was 9-11L/100km around town, which is pretty good for a rel­a­tively heavy SUV.

Jaguar’s first mid­size SUV fea­tures an im­pres­sive piece of en­gi­neer­ing housed in a most at­trac­tive body.

Pic­tures: Mitchell Oke

Caldera Red paint is unique to the Jaguar E-Pace First Edi­tion.

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