With the success of the F-Pace, it seemed only a matter of time before Jaguar released a compact sports utility with a more urban-friendly wheelbase and wallet-friendly price point. Enter the Jaguar E-Pace. We were invited to drive the muscly cat up on the north coast of NSW and we were happy to put it through its, well, paces.
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At first glance the car shares some styling cues from its handsome big brother (which isn’t a bad thing), the F-Pace. The muscular bonnet and rear guards are balanced with elegant lighting and the honeycomb grill adds some subtle texture. The wheel options are ample, but I found anything 19” or above seemed to suit the visually tall side profile. Aesthetically, the E-Pace boasts a burly figure which maintains a cohesion with the jaguar range, and is the sort of car that looks even better in the flesh. Inside you will find a refined cabin with minimal controls and practical storage spaces. Entertainment is delivered via a 10 inch touchscreen and enough connectivity to keep the crew happy.
On the road, the jaguar prowls with a bold stance and an even bolder presence. At over 1850kg’s, the E-Pace is one heavy cat, but thanks to some clever chassis engineering, the SUV somehow maintains a sense of agility. Driving up through the Border Ranges on a rainy would be a dicey task for the tractionally challenged, but with all wheel drive, quick torque vectoring and some class leading torsional rigidity, the E-Pace remained fixed to the road regardless of camber, gradient or surface.
With 5 different engines to choose from, Jaguar have made sure there’s a power plant to suit your requirements. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel is available in 110kW, 132kW and 177kW outputs, and the 2.0- litre four-cylinder petrol units delivers 183kW or 221kW.
I found the diesels to be a more versatile engine on the open road with loads of torque on tap and surprisingly lively throttle response. If you’re going to be towing some toys, the 500Nm D240 should be your weapon of choice. When peak power is your drink of choice, the 221kW P300 will skull 0 – 100 in 6.4 seconds and take you all the way up to 243km/h before the electronics apple some reason.
With quality finishing’s, dashing looks and a smorgasbord of configurations, the Jaguar E-Pace is an attractive proposition. Many wondered if the late arrival of Jaguar to the Sports Utility segment would be a fight for survival, but after driving the E-Pace range in some challenging conditions, this staunch kitty is set to flourish.