Jaguar E-PACE road test review: DAVID HOOPER drives Jaguar’s E-PACE and looks at some of the latest gadgets and technology that make it all the more desirable.
Jaguar E-PACE road test review: WHO wouldn’t want to own a Jaguar? The name alone conjures up all kinds of emotions and desires for true car lovers, and while the gorgeous classics of the marque’s glamorous heritage are now beyond the reach of many mere mortals, buying a new example isn’t as costly as you might at first expect.
Take this E-PACE, for example, a great looking SUV featuring the raised driving position favoured by so many modern motorists who appreciate a better vantage point from which to observe the goings on around them, attractive styling, room for four to five adults, and a practical sized boot – it would have to feature on most wish lists.
It’s available with petrol and diesel engines, or as a plug-in electric hybrid which utilises an electric motor combined with a petrol engine, avoiding the dreaded range anxiety, because if you run out of electric battery power, the petrol engine takes over.
So how much, you might ask. Well, prices for the range start from £32,575 on the road, which is competitively priced when compared to its rivals, although none of them come with the prestige of the iconic Jaguar leaper on their bonnets.
Our test car is priced at £38,230, but with a few choice extras, you would have to pay £43,100 to see it sitting on your drive, but more of that later. It features JLR’s D165 engine, which is a mild hybrid, has all-wheel-drive and comes with a nine, yes, nine-speed automatic gearbox, which gives the drivetrain plenty of gears to choose from. It shifts almost seamlessly from cog to cog while on the move, with the driver having the option of a Sport setting, or manual control via the flappy paddles behind the steering wheel, but left to its own devices, the car does a pretty good job on its own without the need for any intervention, even when pushing on. With 165bhp on tap, it isn’t the fastest thing on four wheels, but progress can still be enjoyably rapid, particularly in the mid range where it is needed most. The benchmark 0-62mph sprint is despatched in 9.2 seconds and there’s a potential top speed of 124mph should you need to cross Europe in a hurry.
During my few days with the car, it returned an average of 39.2mpg over a distance of 400-plus miles, which included the full mix of road and driving conditions.
It is a very pleasant travelling companion, offering levels of refinement befitting a Jaguar, and it really does lap up the miles on the motorway, with its diesel engine purring (sorry) away almost silently under the bonnet, although I was slightly disappointed with its overall fuel consumption, I expected at least mid-40s from it.
Equipment levels are good with everything you need, and quite a lot you don’t, but it’s still nice to have things like all-round 3D cameras, keyless start, lane keeping assist and JaguarDrive Control Adaptive Surface Response which will help you get going when it’s slippery underfoot. The “S” specification of our test car also includes Auto High Beam Assist which works well, dipping the headlights when oncoming traffic appears, and the latest Pivi Pro dash, which not only looks good (apart from the fingerprints on the screen) but allows the driver to customise the displays to their own preference of features, but the default navigation, phone and infotainment displays were fine for me.
Among the options were the Exterior Black Pack, 19in spoked wheels, a Meridian hi-fi system which sounded great, privacy glass, and my favourite, the technology pack which included the ClearSight interior rear view mirror, which effectively turns your rear-view mirror into a rear-facing camera – even if it did make my eyes go blurry when I glanced at it, but that might have been my contact lenses! It’s good fun waiting to see how long it takes your passengers to notice it. At £1,500 the Technology Pack isn’t cheap, but it also gives you wireless phone charging with a signal booster and head-up display which projects key information onto the windscreen in front of the driver, reducing the need to take your eyes off the road.
The Jaguar E-PACE is a great looking car, well equipped and with a few choice options, it can be quite a talking point. Even better is the fact that it is affordable and represents an enticing alternative to the usual suspects which might come more readily to mind when you’re thinking about your next car.
THE VITAL STATISTICS
MODEL: Jaguar E-PACE D165 S AWD Auto
ENGINE: 1997cc, 161bhp four-cylinder diesel MHEV engine, driving four wheels through 9-speed automatic gearbox.
PERFORMANCE: Top speed 124mph. 0-62mph in 9.2 secs.
ECONOMY: City: 38.8mpg.
Wheel World test average: 39.2mpg
CO2 EMISSIONS: 167g/km.
FUEL TANK: 65 litres.
PRICE: £38,230 (£43,100 as tested).
WARRANTY: 3 years/100,000 miles
• All data correct at time of publication.