THERE IS something of the playful polar bear that springs to mind when you see the Jaguar E-Pace, especially in white.
The squat car looks like a bear cub about to uncoil into something more elegant. While Jaguar may have preferred to see a jaguar cub as its muse, the E-Pace is too compact to drag that comparison across.
That said, it’s a cute number that begs closer examination.
And once you do get up close and personal, it grows on you.
The newly created E-Pace is inspired by the F-Type sports car and crams practicality with performance into a small two-litre SUV that is small on the outside, but offers a relatively spacious and plush interior.
The new chassis maximises internal space while allowing for good road and offroad handling. The Active Driveline all-wheel drive system gives good grip and stability, while allowing the cub to sprint from 0-100kmh in around seven seconds. There’s a 221kW/400Nm version that will get you there quicker, in 6.4 seconds, if time is of the essence!
It’s quite an enthusiastic SUV, and perhaps its smaller dimensions allow it to behave more like a car. It’s quick to take off and nimble through twists and turns. In Normal mode it’s not entirely cushioned, but the engine is less edgy. Pop the gear shift — good thing it’s not that dial — to Dynamic and a slew of driver aids snap to attention and come to your assistance.
For the occupants, the journey is comfortable and of course, connected, as is expected of any car in the luxury segment.
Good quality finishing, with a mix of materials alleviates the boredom for the driver. Though the passenger has a plain leather surface to look at, while focusing on the twin-needle stitching, and wondering whether to hang on to the grab bar which serves like a divider to keep the front passenger out of the fun in the cockpit. The dark roof lining doesn’t help create that sense of isolation.
The driver, meanwhile, has a large centre display to poke at and explore, and the dials that keeps track of the health of the E-Pace.
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New technology allows more information to be projected via the head up display with greater clarity. The full-colour graphics show essential information — speed and navigation — as a constant, with alerts coming up at eye-level.
Caught between trying to be sophisticated and appealing to the younger set, Jaguar decided to add the silhouette of a big cat and its cub on the prowl. It’s at the bottom left of the windscreen and is also thrown onto the floor when you open the door.
Whether these kitties will be cool or kitsch, only time will tell. And the same goes for the E-Pace.
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Engine: in-line 4 turbocharged 16 valves
Max Power: 173kW@5,500rpm
Max Torque: 365Nm@1,200-4,500rpm
VES Band: C1
0-100kmh: 7 seconds
Top Speed: 230kmh
Retail price: *$187,999
Please reconfirm price with dealer.
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