The new Jaguar E-Pace
The new Jaguar E-Pace is a rather bold attempt at a vehicle by a company known mainly for beautifully curvaceous sports cars and sedans.
In the modern world, there is far less automotive beauty than we would like. Yet, Jaguar has managed to still make cars that deserve the description.
So, where does the small SUV come in?
First of all, its not electric. Yes, you would think so with the “E,” but its not—which makes complete historical sense because of the E-type Jaguars that are the stuff of automotive dreams.
(The electric one is the “i,” which is another story. )
Now, it is not easy to take the curves and lines of the traditional or even modern Jaguar aesthetic into what is basically a two-box shape—especially one that is somewhat shorter than may be optimum, visually.
The larger F-Pace SUV can hold the lines longer, but the E-Pace needs to make its place felt with much less space, and in our case, much less time.
The E-Pace will probably be the first taste of a Jaguar for most buyers.
The interior is curvy and well-designed, with contrasting stitching on nice leather (in this case white on black).
There is nice feel and give to the leather on the steering wheel, but it isn’t the sumptuous tactile experience of the flagships.
There are nice touches everywhere, such as in the metal-and-leather interior match-ups, and the knurled feeling on the switches.
Quite fun is the visual of parent-and-child jaguars that appear as a surprise low on the windscreen or on the carpark floor via the puddle lights.
Not particularly useful, but definitely puts a smile on your face—or, more importantly, your daughter’s face.
How does it drive? This isn’t a supremely soft SUV by any means, but neither is it harsh.
It is firm of ride, meant more for curvy drives out to the countryside than bumpy city roads: not as harsh as some Germans, not as soft as some Japanese or Americans.
The car we tested was an R-Dynamic model, specifically the R-Dynamic Sport 2.0 Diesel.
The choice of 18-inch wheels here seems spot on, as the 19s used in other markets could have made the ride rather tough.
The two-liter diesel has a nice amount of grunt. It has 150 hp (the badge on the rear explains it; it isn’t a 150cc car) and 380 Nm of torque.
Power comes in best when you’re on the move, as opposed to from a standing start.
It is very easy to get a good speed going, allowing enough responsiveness to weave smoothly through traffic.
The car doesn’t seem to bounce around or wobble when you make quick steering movements. Rather, it moves a bit, then settles in.
It does say R-Dynamic Sport, but don’t expect it to be a stormer. It will reward you with quickness and well-sorted dynamics, but you must keep in mind that this is meant to be a daily driver with a little bit of special thrown in.
It is more subtle than loud. It will reward you if you are smooth at the helm and understanding of your ride.
Don’t expect to be blown away by the E-Pace: it isn’t meant for that.
With little details and intelligent design and engineering, it is meant to elevate things a bit.
Its not about extremes, its about a holistic package that needs to be experienced to be appreciated.