Pick up the pace
The British marque jumps on the baby crossover bandwagon
First, the F-Pace. Then the EPace. Jag ain’t wasting time.
If there’s one thing carmakers love doing, it’s ensuring that with every model introduction, the bar is raised and the new offering is as memorable as can be. Almost every marque succeeds at the former. The latter is a little bit more challenging; memories can be fleeting, after all. But not so with the Jaguar E-Pace.
Jaguar has done well and elevated the bar much, much higher with this model. It’s a throwing down of the proverbial gauntlet to its competitors, a “bring your best and then some” exclamation of purpose. After all, how can anyone top the world premiere of a new British luxury compact SUV when it involves getting the car airborne across a span of 15.3m as it completes a 270- degree barrel roll? That stunt is now officially on the Guinness World Records. How to beat that—maybe with a 360- degree loop? Too late, the F-Pace already did that in 2015.
What does it take to make a world-record- setting car? For starters, the E-Pace has an R-Dynamic variant with a transversely mounted 2.0- liter turbo-four powerplant, from Jaguar’s all-aluminum Ingenium family of engines. Transverse mounting makes the overall vehicle length shorter without sacrificing interior space—a must for any contender in the fiercely competitive luxury compact-SUV arena. Thanks to 296 horses, 0-100kph is achieved in 6.4sec. Those who are content with saner speeds can choose the ‘regular’ 246hp petrol mill, or one of three Ingenium diesel motors.
These diesels can hold their own, with the automatic all-wheel- drive variant having 178hp and 430Nm on tap. The ‘entry-level’ version, with a manual transmission and front-wheel drive, has 148hp and 380Nm. It’s certain to be the frugal crowd’s favorite, being capable of delivering over 21km/ L.
To keep all four wheels planted, the E-Pace is available with an Adaptive Dynamics package. It includes a variable damper system that adjusts the damper to surface conditions 100 times every second. To do that, the system has to monitor suspension movement 500 times a second. It’s not all just electronic wizardry, though—the integral-link rear suspension is equally responsible for the crossover’s sure-footedness. Brake-based torque vectoring is also
‘The E-Pace is still very much a tarmacfocused street fighter’
employed when the road becomes winding and worrisome.
Those who are wont to venture off the beaten concrete path need not be concerned, either. The E-Pace does come with a very capable all-wheel-drive system; just don’t mistake it for a go-anywhere rock crawler. This is still very much a tarmac-focused street fighter.
Aiding the defensive driver are features like high-speed emergency braking, lanekeep assist, driver condition monitoring, and adaptive cruise control with queue assist and speed limiter—all expected of vehicles in this price range. For parking-lot maneuvers, there are front and rear sensors as well as a rear-view camera. A 360- degree surround-view camera is likewise available for those who often find themselves having to precision-park in tight quarters.
Nocturnally active drivers will want to tick the box for matrix LED headlamps with intelligent high beam assist and adaptive front lighting. The main light-projector array is composed of a multitude of vertical sections that can be activated or deactivated to optimize forward illumination. This allows for maximum visibility without blinding the oncoming traffic.
Inside, the E-Pace also shines with a drivercentric cockpit, accentuated by the cleverly styled J-shaped passenger grab handle on the center console. The central high-definition 10in touchscreen acts as the primary interface for the infotainment system. Meanwhile, the leather-wrapped steering wheel highlights the digital instrument display ahead of it, and is complemented by the sporty sequential-shift lever along with the premium leather sports seats.
Cabin space is generous by class standards, and is made to feel even more spacious by the fixed panoramic tinted glass roof. There’s 577 liters of storage space with the rear seats up; put the seats down and cargo capacity is more than doubled, at 1,234 liters. It’s a welcome convenience for people who live an active lifestyle and demand a vehicle as capable as they are. Another feature that should be standard on all active-lifestyle vehicles is the Activity Key. Also found on the F-Pace, it’s a wristband that allows the vehicle to be locked and unlocked without having to take the main key along. It’s also waterproof to 20 meters.
Looks like the ball is now in the competitors’ court.
Straddling between classic and modern
Honey, Jag shrunk the F-Pace!