JAGUAR E-PACE P300

JAGUAR E-PACE P300 AWD R-DY­NAMIC HSE

Driven - - CONTENTS - Re­port by BERNIE HELLBERG | Im­ages © MOTORpRESS

Com­pact gi­ant beater

EV­ERY­WHERE YOU LOOK THERE’S AN­OTHER LUX­URY CAR COM­PANY LAUNCH­ING AN SUV, BE­CAUSE THAT IS WHAT WE TELL THEM WE WANT TO BUY THESE DAYS. IT’S HARD TO GO WRONG WITH AN SUV, AND WHEN IT’S A JAGUAR TO BOOT, WE TEND TO GO A LIT­TLE GOOGLY EYED, BERNIE HELLBERG RE­CENTLY TESTED ONE SUCH EX­CIT­ING NEW JAG THAT’S SET­TING THE PACE IN ITS SEG­MENT.

After spend­ing a week with the near range-top­ping Jaguar E-Pace HSE P300 R Dy­namic, which is the top of the range petrol ver­sion, the ver­dict is in, that Jaguar has achieved with the E-Pace what they did not quite get right with their first SUV at­tempt, the some­what larger F-Pace.

WHAT IS IT?

The E-Pace com­pact SUV com­petes in the mar­ket with the likes of the Audi Q3 and Volvo XC60, along with its cousin, the Range Rover Evoque with which it shares a plat­form, en­gines, and driv­e­trains.

The com­peti­tor line-up, one has to ad­mit, of­fers re­ally stiff com­pe­ti­tion, es­pe­cially so from its Ger­man, and Swedish ri­vals.

The E-Pace has much go­ing for it in the way of its looks, which are pos­i­tively mouth­wa­ter­ing. Sit­ting taller than some of its ri­vals,

it gives you that height per­spec­tive we all crave in our cars right now.

It is also sur­pris­ingly quick, its four-cylin­der 2.0-litre tur­bocharged en­gine gen­er­at­ing 221 kW and 400 Nm of torque across a wide rev­o­lu­tion range. In nor­mal driv­ing con­di­tions, this E-Pace will not leave you want­ing for a quick get-away.

DAY-TO-DAY

Be­ing the ve­hi­cle du jour for most fam­i­lies nowa­days, there are a cou­ple of im­por­tant prac­ti­cal boxes that ev­ery con­tem­po­rary SUV/ cross­over needs to tick, mostly in and around the cities where they con­gre­gate.

For sin­gles, cou­ples, or small fam­i­lies, the E-Pace works. Dur­ing our time with the car, we man­aged to com­fort­ably sit up to four adults with a fair amount of ev­ery­day odd­ments com­ing along for the ride. I’ve driven many new crossovers this year, and while they all seem to have sim­i­lar di­men­sions, the E-Pace seemed more spa­cious (or is it less cramped) than most of its ri­vals.

The boot has a de­cent amount of room too. It de­liv­ers 484 litres of space with the rear seats up, which is suf­fi­cient for a full load of gro­ceries, if not for a full-blown camp­ing week­end for four.

What is larger than av­er­age is the car’s turn­ing cir­cle of 11.4 m in di­am­e­ter, which is more akin to a mid-size SUV and tends to make U-turns a bit trick­ier. Ease of park­ing is paramount in a car like this, though, and its com­pact di­men­sions make park­ing rel­a­tively easy com­pared to a larger SUV. Our tester was fit­ted with an op­tional 360-de­gree cam­era, al­though the stan­dard re­verse cam­era should do just fine for most driv­ers in most con­di­tions. Rather spend the ex­tra dough on more im­por­tant fea­tures such as ma­trix LED head­lights as the car comes stan­dard with reg­u­lar LEDs.

A THING OF BEAUTY

The E-Pace looks ev­ery bit as dy­namic as a Jaguar should; its com­pact ex­te­rior is shrunken just enough from the hulkier F-Pace to be grace­ful, while re­main­ing as pur­pose­ful and ag­gres­sive as a Jaguar should be.

In­side the cabin, tan­gi­ble lux­ury sets the E-Pace apart from the crowd. Ev­ery­thing feels sta­ble and com­posed, and ma­te­ri­als used are sump­tu­ous to the touch. An abun­dance of leather on the seats and the steer­ing wheel, rounds off the op­u­lent feel. Matt-black ac­cents strike the per­fect bal­ance with alu­minium strips sur­round­ing the air vents and gear lever hous­ing, as con­trast stitch­ing set our test unit apart from its lesser sib­lings.

Heated seats are an op­tion at both the front and the rear, al­though cli­mate con­trol and sat­nav are stan­dard.

EV­ERY­DAY US­ABIL­ITY

The E-Pace gen­er­ally has a de­cent amount of odd­ment stor­age spa­ces, with two cup hold­ers in the cen­tre con­sole (one large, one small) and they are re­mov­able if you don’t need them and in­stead want to make the al­ready de­cent-sized cen­tre stor­age bin even larger.

Rear pas­sen­gers weren’t left out when stor­age space was be­ing added to the cabin, and get two cup hold­ers in the cen­tre arm­rest, as well as sep­a­rate air vents.

The boot can be opened with a swing of your foot un­der the back of the car, as part of the key­less en­try sys­tem. For tra­di­tion­al­ists (like me) a but­ton on the re­mote key fob will both open and shut the hatch.

On the tech front, Jaguar has opted for its own in-house in­fo­tain­ment man­age­ment sys­tem over Ap­ple CarPlay, which is man­aged via a large 10.0” touch­screen dis­play with Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity.

LAST WORD

The Jaguar E-Pace sur­prised, and de­lighted, from the mo­ment it pounced on us. Be­sides be­ing dis­tinc­tively sub­tle in its styling, it is quite ob­vi­ously still a Jag, al­beit with fa­mil­ial ten­den­cies. Boast­ing more in­te­rior space than ex­pected, and am­ple sup­port- and safety tech­nol­ogy on-board, the E-Pace is one of the most stylish con­tenders in the com­pact SUV/cross­over seg­ment of the mar­ket. Al­though pricey (along with its com­peti­tors), it of­fers bang for your buck that’s hard to beat.

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