The Pace set­ter

Lancashire Life - - MOTORING - WORDS: Andy Rus­sell

Jaguar’s en­try SUV, the E-pace, oozes style and el­e­gance and prom­ises

to be a sporty drive – but does it de­liver like the big­ger F-pace?

It was bold for Jaguar to branch out into the SUV sec­tor and it had to cre­ate something dis­tinc­tive and dif­fer­ent, both in styling and driv­ing dy­nam­ics. It nailed it with the F-pace, the fastest-sell­ing model in Jaguar’s his­tory. It fol­lowed it up with the smaller E-pace, in­spired by the F-type road­ster and Coupe, and all-elec­tric I-pace.

UN­DER THE BON­NET

The first Jaguar to ex­clu­sively fea­ture In­ge­nium 2.0-litre turbo engines, there are 249PS and 300PS petrol and 150, 180 and 240PS diesels – all avail­able with nine-speed au­to­matic gear­boxes and all-wheel drive. The lower-pow­ered diesels are also six-speed man­ual and the 150PS ver­sion also front-wheel drive. The E-pace is no light­weight, yet the P300, with the most pow­er­ful en­gine, is no slouch, but doesn’t feel as quick as the fig­ures sug­gest.

HOW IT DRIVES

It han­dles well, feel­ing taut and ag­ile de­spite still be­ing a size­able SUV and no light­weight.

Firm sus­pen­sion aids road­hold­ing, but makes the ride knob­bly on un­even sur­faces, es­pe­cially with 20in wheels.

It’s more com­posed cruis­ing on smooth roads, but tyre noise is def­i­nitely no­tice­able.

SPACE AND COMFORT

Rear legroom is rea­son­able and three adults could put up with the rear bench on short trips.

The slop­ing roof doesn’t af­fect head­room, but the panoramic sun­roof does for tall pas­sen­gers.

Jaguar says the boot is 577 litres – with a 93-litre load space if a spare wheel is not spec­i­fied – but, de­spite a wide open­ing, it’s not that prac­ti­cal with the slop­ing tail­gate not on a par with some ri­vals. Rear seat backs split 60/40, but don’t quite fold flat.

AT THE WHEEL

You won’t have trou­ble tailor­ing the driv­ing po­si­tion and the test car’s 12.3in in­ter­ac­tive driver dis­play in­cludes a choice of vir­tual di­als or a full-width sat-nav map.

The for­ward view is good, but ta­per­ing rear side win­dows and a small back screen make you glad a re­vers­ing cam­era and front and rear sen­sors are stan­dard.

FI­NAL SAY

The E-pace is a pres­tige SUV with a de­sir­able badge so will sell well, and hold its value.

SPEC AND TECH

PRICE: Jaguar E-pace P300 R-dy­namic HSE £48,900

(range from £28,930)

EN­GINE: 1,999cc, 300PS, four-cylin­der turbo petrol with eight-speed au­to­matic gear­box PER­FOR­MANCE: 0-60mph 5.9 sec­onds; top speed 151mph MPG: 35.3 com­bined

CO2 EMIS­SIONS: 181g/km

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