Now you might logically think that the E-Pace is the new all-electric model in the Jaguar Pace family of SUVs, but it isn’t – that’s the just released I-Pace.
Confusingly, there is also the F Pace launched in 2016 sitting between the E-Pace and I-Pace.
Could E then stand for Elegant? In my eyes definitely not. It’s a compact five door five seater sports SUV which carries the muscular styling introduced a while ago by Jaguar with their macho F-Type sports car.
Although Jaguar does continue with its long serving sleek and elegant styling heritage with the XE, XF and XJ passenger cars, the E-Pace and F Pace models in particular are brutish macho models, big, bold and in your face but the I-Pace is even more odd with wide haunches but with much lower roof and bonnet levels making it look as though it’s been squashed from above, definitely not classy styling which we use to associate with the Jaguar brand.
The E-Pace has numerous premium brand competitors such as the Audi Q3, MW X1/X2/X3 or the Volvo XC40, Lexus UX, Porsche Macan and of course the new Range Rover Evoque and it uses components of the Land Rover Discovery Sport. It might use aluminium construction but the E-Pace is a weighty model ranging from just under 1.8 to close to 1.9-tonnes. It is currently built outside the traditional UK home of Jaguar at Magna Steyr in Graz Austria alongside the new I-Pace all electric model range. In addition E-Pace models are built for the Chinese market in Changshu.
The UK’s range of models and specification options is huge; I counted up to 55 main derivatives with prices ranging from £29,080 up to £47,785. The E-Pace comes in two core design layouts, E-Pace and the more sporting R-Dynamic and these are both available with S, SE and HSE spec levels.
There is the choice of five EU 6.2 C and D Temp compliant powertrains, with three diesel and two petrol engines. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder Ingenium diesel powerplant is available in 150hp, 180hp and 240hp outputs, while the pair of 2.0-litre four-cylinder Ingenium petrol turbo units delivers 249hp or 300hp.
Most have 9-speed automatic gearboxes with manual mode and all wheel drive but the 2.0-litre diesel is available with 2WD and a 6-speed manual gearbox.
The compact E-Pace SUV is 4,411mm long with short front and rear overhangs of 882mm and 832mm respectively. Its 2,681mm wheelbase seats five with reasonable rear legroom of 892mm while the luggage capacity of 577-litres is made possible by the vehicle’s Integral Link rear suspension architecture, similar in design to that of the F-Type sports car.
The exterior front has a huge bold face with large Jaguar grille again with design heritage cues back to the F-Type flanked by very pronounced front wheelarches. The side profile is a coupe silhouette with a rising waistline with an upwards kink to the tiny C-pillar windows.
At the rear it has a chubby rounded appearance but with massive wide wheelarch haunches giving it an unmistakable macho sports appearance which is far away from traditional Jaguar’s sophisticated styling cues. There is a steeply forward slanting wide lightweight tailgate, some models have gesture control opening, with a roof spoiler above it.
The visibility through the tailgate window, due to its steep angle and rounded corners, is quite limited and although it has a rear view camera during reversing I found not having premium class automatically dipping door mounted rear view mirrors to be a hindrance.
Inside the E-Pace as a low level but deep dashboard with a sweeping line leading to a nicely shaped instrument binnacle cowl. There is a centrally positioned new generation large touchscreen and beneath that are a logically laid out line of heating and ventilation controls.
Generally all other controls come to hand and are well placed part from the start button which is hidden behind the steering wheel. There is a mixture of leather, faux leather and plastic trim materials, some look ok but the areas of bland plastic around the steering column area would in the past have classic Jaguar wood veneer finishes – seemingly not anymore.
I could easily fill this review with a breakdown of all the inclusive specification and all-encompassing technologies that the E-Pace has. Safe to say spec is high, technology is everything we expect from a high performance premium brand.
My test model was the E-Pace 180hp auto AWD diesel with R-Dynamic S specification priced at £37,870 which fortunately doesn’t push it through the £40k higher Standard Rate £145 plus 5-years annual £310 supplement road tax barrier. However there was numerous extra cost option added to my test vehicle. Some of these were the £205 premium carpet mats to £190 heated steering wheel, Adaptive Dynamic at £820, 20-inch spoked alloy wheels at £1,550, Keyless Entry at £510, powered gesture tailgate operation at £615 and Head-Up display at £930.
The R-Dynamics over the standard E-Pace models add LED headlights, larger alloys, auto dimming folding and heated door mirrors, 10-way electric front seats, grained leather upholstery with contrast stitching, Navigation Pro, Connect Pro with Pro Services functions, Wi-Fi, InControl Apps, Traffic Sign Recognition and Adaptive Speed Limiter and R-Dynamic front metal doorsill plates.
It would appear from the complicated pricing structure on Jaguar’s website that R-Dynamic spec for the 180hp S model costs an extra £1,550.
Under the bonnet is one of Jaguar Land Rovers new generation Ingenium petrol and diesel 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engines, all now compliant with the latest EU 6.2 C and D Temp requirements. On this occasion it’s the 180hp turbodiesel unit which provides 430Nm of torque from 1,750rpm.
This unit seems well installed, well insulated from the cabin so noise intrusion is low even at start-up. Power delivery is linear and is well suited to the 9-speed automatic gearbox ratios which also has manual gearchange mode if that is preferred. The gearchanges can be on the slow side at times, more of a cruiser than sports SUV.
There is ‘JaguarDrive Control’ with four driving modes selected by using buttons on the centre console. These are Comfort, Dynamic, ECO and Rain/Ice/Snow, all self explanatory. The permanent all wheel drive system for AWD versions distributes torque between the front and rear axles for handling stability and on slippery surfaces the system will send almost all driving torque to the rear wheels if the front wheels lose traction. In normal driving conditions there is still a torque bias towards the rear wheels to retain somewhat sports handling – all computer controlled of course.
Overall it felt and handled like a competent tall-riding SUV with a reasonably compliant ride but there is nothing to set it apart from any other sports SUV on the market today which somewhat fails what the Jaguar brand stands for, or perhaps more accurately use to stand for.
MILESTONES: Jaguar E-Pace 180hp Diesel R-Dynamic S, compact sports SUV £37,870
Engine/transmission: Ingenium 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder, EU 6.2d C and D Temp compliant turbodiesel, 180hp, 430Nm of torque from 1,750rpm, 9-speed automatic with manual mode, AWD
Performance: 127mph, 0-60mph 8.6-seconds, Combined Cycle 47.1mpg (42.1mpg on test)
CO2 162g/km, First Year diesel rate VED road tax £855 then £145 Standard rate, BiK company car tax 37%
Insurance group: 30E Warranty: 3-years unlimited mileage
Dimensions/capacities: L 4,411mm, W 1,900mm, H 1,649mm, wheelbase 2,681mm, kerb weight 1,843kg, boot/load space 577 to 1,234-litres, braked towing weight 1,800kg, 5-doors/5-seats
For: Wide range of models over a huge price scale to select from, high technical and driving support specification, comfortable seating, long mileage warranty, like or loathe styling, Jaguar name branding
Against: No signs of traditional Jaguar classic sleek classy styling, sluggish auto gearchanges, mediocre interior trim finishes, no dipping door mirror function when reversing, limited visibility through the tailgate window.
© David Miles