Weekend Herald

PACE SUV RANGE now a Jaguar cornerston­e

The latest SUV range has redefined how we think about Jaguar


When Jaguar’s founding father, Sir William Lyons, first coined the slogan “Grace . . . Space . . . PACE . . .” back in the early 1950s, he probably knew that he was creating one of the most inspiratio­nal calls to buy a car of all time.

These days, “PACE” is still a Jaguar buzzword, but it has found a new context by being applied to a recently developed range of Jaguar SUVs. With these three SUVs — the E-PACE, F-PACE and I-PACE — the brand of the powerful South American feline has fully escaped the sportscar/ luxury saloon “cage” some still place it in.

While space is a given when it comes to SUVs, something that sets these Jag high-riders apart is the sheer gracefulne­ss of their design. They are global awardwinni­ng vehicles not only because of the quality of their engineerin­g or the absolute luxury of their wellfurnis­hed cabins; they’re as easy on the eye as any E-type sportscar or Mk II luxury saloon was back in Lyons’ day.

That’s especially true of the most compact and affordable Jaguar SUV — the E-PACE. In Jaguar’s world, the letter E refers to vehicles of smaller size, so forget any impression that its use on the E-PACE badge may signal the use of battery power — for now. This status quo (great band) may change soon as Jaguar has said it will only offer electrifie­d powertrain­s by 2025.

Launched in 2017, the cub of the Jaguar premium SUV pack has shorter overhangs front and rear and is some 350mm shorter in

length than the F-PACE. Despite the abbreviate­d dimensions that increase the ease of city driving, the E-PACE can still provide between 577 litres (rear seats up) and 1234 litres (rear seats folded down) of load space. A highly useful and comfortabl­e interior can therefore be found beyond the seductive lines of the E-PACE’s exterior design.

An expanded choice of engines adds a new 184kW/365Nm 2.0 litre turbo-diesel ($84,900 in R-Dynamic SE spec) and a new high-performanc­e petrol-turbo developing 221kW/400Nm ($94,900 in 300n Sport spec). Entry model to the Jaguar SUV range is the $79,900 E-PACE R-Dynamic Black Edition, powered by a stillfrisk­y 147kW/320Nm 2.0 litre petrol-turbo. As with Jaguar’s entire SUV range in New Zealand, all E-PACE models drive all four wheels via automatic gearboxes.

Want something a bit more muscular looking? Cue the larger F-PACE, with its straighter roofline, and enough motorsport­inspired vents to remind you that Jaguar won the gruelling 24-hour endurance race at Le Mans before any German, American, or Japanese car did. Such features can lead to fussy over-design, yet the F-PACE still possesses the visual grace that defines Jaguarness. So much so that it won the World Car Design of the Year award upon its debut in 2017, along with the coveted overall prize that year — World Car of the Year.

Jaguar capped those awards by adding a high-performanc­e flagship to the F-PACE range in 2019. The $169,900 SVR model generates 405kW from a supercharg­ed petrol V8 and can sprint 0-100km/h in 4.0 seconds flat. At the more affordable end of the F-PACE range you’ll find the $99,900 R-Dynamic S model with a frugal 2.0 litre petrol-turbo four and a 0-100 sprint interval that’s only 40 per cent longer. Seems there’s a powertrain for just about everyone in the F-PACE range, and other choices include turbodiese­ls in either 2.0 litre fourcylind­er or 3.0 litre inline 6 form, and a powerful 297kW 2.0 litre petrol hybrid that can almost give the SVR a run for its money while using quite a bit less fuel.

Meanwhile, that future is here and now in the form of the fullyelect­ric I-PACE, which costs $159,900 in SE form, and $169,900 when equipped to HSE level. Winner of the World Car of the Year and Green Car of the Year awards in 2019, the I-PACE still looks like a member of the Jaguar SUV family while proudly exhibiting its more adventurou­s exterior design. Like the other Jaguar SUVs, the I-PACE delivers a sporty driving dynamic that’s often hard to source from within the SUV sector, while also feeling refreshing­ly normal for a high-tech vehicle with a zero-emission powertrain. The 90kWh battery can deliver a driving range of

470km and can be charged in 12.75 hours from an ordinary singlephas­e house plug when depleted. A three-phase plug will cut this fullrechar­ge time to 8.6 hours, and a stop at a 100kW fast charger while touring will provide a further

127km of range within 15 minutes. As an SUV designed from the ground up as a battery-powered electric vehicle, the I-PACE offers plenty of load space, with 656 litres available when all seats are required, and 1453 litres when the rear seats are folded away.

These three ranges of SUVs showcase how Jaguar has managed to successful­ly transfer the three historic core brand values envisaged by Sir William Lyons into a 21st-century premium sports utility vehicle context. Little wonder then that these are now

the best-selling Jaguars.

They’re as easy on the eye as any E-type sportscar or Mk II luxury saloon was back in Lyons’ day.

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