Car Review: Jaguar E-PACE

“The cub is out of the woods”

Johannesburg, 9 March, 2018The bustling city of Johannesburg was the chosen venue for the launch of Jaguar’s new E-PACE. As we do, we rolled out of bed at the crack of dawn and practically sleep-walked our way to Cape Town’s International Airport to make sure we got to Johannesburg on time to meet the newest, smallest, and most connected Jaguar in the Pace family.

With a range of new technologies that incorporate digital connectivity throughout the E-PACE’s cabin, cleverly engineered driving qualities and sophisticated and premium styling both inside and out, Jaguar has worked hard to make sure that the latest edition to the PACE family is as appealing and even more up-to-date as its relatives.

Not just a baby F-PACE

Some might say that the E-PACE looks like a ‘baby version’ of its big sister, the F-PACE. But it’s not. While it may resemble many of the F-PACE’s attributes, the E-PACE is even more updated, particularly when it comes to new technologies and connectivity. Every E-PACE features the latest version of Jaguar’s Touch Pro Infotainment system as standard. A 10-inch capacitive touchscreen, 4G WIFI hotspot, Head-Up Display and Spotify keeps customers ‘Wired for Life’.

Although the E-PACE may appear to be smaller than the F-PACE, interior space and comfort is surprisingly generous, despite it being so seemingly compact on the outside.

It’s got the look

Generally speaking, everyone in the market for a smaller SUV is probably going to hope for something that’s good to look at and be seen in. Sure, there are a number of good-looking compact SUVs out there, but what we love about the E-PACE is that it is so identifiably ‘Jaguar’, a brand known for strikingly sporty features. The E-PACE takes these features and introduces itself as a more youthful and cheeky sort of member of the family.

A distinctive Jaguar grille, muscular proportions and short overhangs and powerful haunches add that bit of Jaguar DNA to the E-PACE, while optional 21-inch alloy wheels give the E-PACE a bold and purposeful stance, instantly communicating dynamic agility.

The ‘First Edition’ unit will be available to the South African market for a limited period, and comes in its own exclusive and unique red coat of paint. It adds even more sporty kit, including 20″ split-spoke ‘Style 6014’ alloy wheels with Satin Grey Diamond Turned finish, Ebony leather with Flame Red twin-needle contrast stitching and branded metal tread-plates and carpet mats, exclusive to the First Edition model.

Designed for urban family life  

Those looking for a car to suit an ‘urban family’ lifestyle are likely to be looking for a range of features that can prove to be tricky to find all in one car. If you’re a busy, working, mom, who also enjoys the occasional road trip with the family for example, your list of ‘must-have’s’ in an SUV is going to be extensive: Safety; Practicality; Functionality and Capability, are just some of them. This is where we think the E-PACE is going to excel and will likely be a popular consideration for many just like you.

In terms of practicality, the E-PACE is surprisingly spacious inside despite its compact exterior dimensions. Head and legroom is generous and its rear doors offer more than enough space to get kids’ car seats in and out of. It’s also packed with stowage solutions for small items like phones, keys and water bottles, and its 577-litre boot will prove useful thanks to a wide load area.

With safety being at the top of every family’s priority list, the E-PACE achieved a 5-star NCAP safety rating, Airbags are fitted all round, and it even has a pedestrian airbag! The E-PACE doesn’t just protect the driver and passengers, its clever safety systems help you avoid accidents from happening in the first place! These include features such as adaptive cruise control, blind spot assist and forward collision warning.

Driving experience

While Jaguar is known for producing vehicles that offer enhanced driving dynamics, the E-PACE lives up to this reputation. It plants itself firmly on the road and gives you a strong sense of support, especially around tricky corners. Steering is quick and easy to manage while the use of different driving modes (Normal, Dynamic, Eco and Rain/Ice & Snow) gives you a variety of optional driving preferences to suit your environment. Of course, being a Jaguar you’d expect it to be quick on demand, and it is. I found the petrol derivative to be somewhat punchier and more responsive than the diesel variant. There was less delay when accelerating.

Also read: The Jaguar E-PACE: one of the most connected vehicles in its segment

The First Edition is definitely worth a consideration, if you can decide in time before they sell out. Mounted paddle-shifts behind the steering wheel give you far more control and better handling, which you’ll appreciate if you enjoy the odd little excursion over say, the Franschoek Pass.

Under the bonnet, the E-PACE range offers a variety of powerful petrol and diesel engine options. The 221 kW turbo-petrol engine powers the E-PACE from 0 – 100 km/h in just 6.4 seconds and reaches a top speed of 243 km/h. If diesel is preferred, its engine offers 110 kW and offers economy of 5.6 litres per 100 km.

The E-PACE’s Active Driveline Quality all-wheel drive system combines all-wheel traction with Jaguar’s traditional rear-wheel drive quality, and you can really feel the power being delivered to those rear-wheels when needed.

My only disappointment with the E-PACE was that I felt it could’ve done with a smaller, flat-bottomed steering-wheel to match its compact and sporty design.

Conclusion and Pricing

We’re very excited to see how Jaguar’s new E-PACE is going to fair in such an exciting and competitive segment. Perhaps as one of the more sporty brands to choose from, the E-PACE has the Jaguar name going for it, so it might see many a brand-loyal customer wanting to extend their ‘at-home range’. If you’ve grown tired of your big, clunky and outdated SUV and you’re looking to downsize for whatever reason, the E-PACE is a worthy consideration. On the other hand, those looking at starting a small family might want to start with a smaller SUV before jumping ahead, and again, Jaguar’s E-PACE could cater perfectly for this.

The E-PACE is available with Standard, S, SE and HSE specification packs, in core or R-Dynamic body styles. Customers have a choice of three diesel engines, with outputs of 110kW, 132kW and 177kW, and two petrol engines, producing 183kW and 221kW, respectively.

The Jaguar E-PACE goes on sale from 9 March 2018, with prices starting at R598 500. Customers can build their own Jaguar E-PACE using the configurator on the Jaguar website. All new Jaguar cars come with the five-year Jaguar Care Plan: a five-year/100 000km service plan, a five-year/100 000km maintenance plan and a five-year/100 000km warranty, as standard.

Source: Jaguar South Africa