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So many SUVs! The roads are littered with them; like the song, “It’s raining men”. You know the disco track from the 80s, featuring the Weather Girl?

 

All car brands are making a small, medium and large-sized SUV. Brands like Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz have between five and seven in their ranges, with who knows how many others on the drawing table.

 

Jaguar, the sister company to Land Rover, on the other hand, has simply three options. All gorgeous to look at – the medium sized F-Pace, to complement the XF sedan and recently, the smaller E-Pace to complement the XE sedan. Jaguar are also introducing an all-electric I-Pace, dipping its paw into the technology pond.

 

In the last decade, Jaguar has repositioned itself from being a stately executive vehicle previously targeted at the mature and well-heeled into a sport-inspired brand. Everything about a modern Jaguar is about sophisticated sporting dynamics.

 

Specifically for the SUV market, Jaguar are focusing their attentions on couples and young families. The brand feels this group of potential customers are focused on being connected to technology, driving a practical car with a strong emphasis on stand-out design.

 

Now we know what Jaguar are focusing on when designing their SUVs or PACE type vehicles.

Looking at the E-PACE, it’s hard to deny its good-looks - strong purposeful lines that mimic the breathtakingly beautiful F-Type sports car. The E-PACE is built from the Range Rover Evoque’s platform, which means it has a useful elevated ground clearance and presence. That’s a tick for the looks department. The interior carries this dynamic sports inspiration from the exterior design. The cabin is focused around the driver. Not perfect – some of the interior plastics are hard detracting from an otherwise nice place to sit.

In the “begin connected to technology” department, there are up to four 12-volt charging points and five USB connections as well as a 4G Wi-Fi hotspots for up to eight devices. The E-PACE features full digital instrument clusters for the dials and infotainment system. In isolation, the multifunction touchscreen is nice – easy to use and serves its purpose. By comparison to the systems in the E-PACE’s competitors, it’s okay. The systems in the X2 and Volvo XC40 are superior.  

 

Practicality – the E-PACE is a nicely sized SUV – not too big nor too small. Space for five adults with respectable head, leg and knee room. The boot offers lots of practical space with strong tethering hoots and storage. Sharing the Evoque underpinnings means the E-PACE is good to go trekking – perhaps. I’d hazard a guess that it will leave the X2 at the first set of rough gravel and thrash it out with the XC40 to climb a hill or two.

But how does it drive? Well under the tall bonnet, the E-PACE is endowed with a range of 2.0-L turbocharged Ingenium petrol and diesel engines. There are three diesel options: D150 (110kW), D180 (132kW) and D240 (177kW) and two petrol options: P250 (183kW) and P300 (221kW).

 

If speed is something that gets your juices flowing, the 221kW model can dash from 0-100km/h in just 6.4 seconds, before reaching an electronically-limited top speed of 243km/h. So, it is fast. But if economy is your thing, then the 110kW diesel promises to sip fuel at just 5.6 litres per 100km.

 

Depending on your budget, you can choose between five specification models: Standard, S, SE and HSE in either core or the sporty R-Dynamic body styles.

 

So, what’s it like to drive? Sporty is a good word to describe the E-PACE. This means that the suspension is naturally firmer. Steering is direct with a weighted sensation. Brakes are progressive, and acceleration is okay to good. The reason is due to the SUV’s unfortunate weight disadvantage, so much so, that it is heavier than its bigger brother, the F-PACE. The ride feels solid albeit weighted, again. When compared to the X2 which is low, light and agile or the XC40 that is also light, supple and compliant, the E-PACE feels compromised by its dating chassis borrowed from the Evoque.

 

Good-looks and status abound on this high-rise compact SUV.

 

Plus +

  • Gorgeous looks
  • Nice level of standard specification

 

Minus –

  • Heavy
  • Pricey
  • Entry-level petrol models lack torque

 

The competition

Audi Q2/Q3, BMW X1/X2, Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Mercedes-Benz GLA and Volvo XC40.

 

The pricing

D150 AWD R608 516

D150 AWD S R670 516

D150 AWD SE R709 816

D150 AWD HSE R746 116

D150 AWD HSE R-DYNAMIC SE First Edition R863 916

 

D180 AWD R629 716

D180 AWD S R691 716

D180 AWD SE R731 016

D180 AWD HSE R767 316

 

P250 AWD R681 831

P250 AWD S R743 831

P250 AWD SE R783 131

P250 AWD HSE R819 431

P250 AWD HSE R-DYNAMIC SE First Edition R911 731

 

P300 AWD S R799 417

P300 AWD S R838 717

P300 AWD S R875 017

 

Service and warranty

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.

 

My Choice

D180 AWD S R691 716

www.jaguar.co.za

 

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