The E-Pace is competitive but lacks the mystique of Jaguar. Picture: PHUTI MPYANE
The E-Pace is competitive but lacks the mystique of Jaguar. Picture: PHUTI MPYANE

Count me among individuals who grapple with the concept of smaller Jaguars and understandably the Jaguar E-Pace tested here in D200 AWD R-Dynamic HSE specification is the British brand's move to benefit from the global compact SUV craze.

The designers have tried to recreate the slinky silhouette typical of Jaguar sedans and roadsters atop a compact crossover stencil, but it isn’t that convincing.

Earlier this year Jaguar refreshed the E-Pace inside and out with minor revisions.

Luxury permeates inside the roomy cabin. I did struggle to find my ultimate sitting position as the leather-clad electric chair squab doesn't lower enough and the multifunction steering wheel doesn't adjust for much height.

Rear passenger legroom is ample but the sloping roof might trouble really tall people. Boot space is one of the largest in the segment. The digital and touchscreen operated infotainment system is similar to other modern Jaguar Land Rover products and it gives the living quarters a tech-savvy sheen.

The recent facelift includes smarter trim appointments in the cabin. Picture: SUPPLIED
The recent facelift includes smarter trim appointments in the cabin. Picture: SUPPLIED

You hit a starter button to awaken the 2l diesel motor that’s connected to a smooth nine-speed automatic feeding an all-wheel drive system. You couldn't want a smoother and quieter diesel motor than JLR's current crop of Ingenium four-cylinders. It produces 147kW and 430Nm but there's pronounced turbo lag.

The E-Pace launches from standstill without any aggression but once spooled it stabs forward hard enough. We tested its 0-100km/h sprint time as nine seconds, fractions shy off its manufacturer-claimed 8.4 seconds. It’s a decent runner with a 211km/h top speed.

Apart from the 430Nm torque that makes it joyously tractable, the 9.3l/100km consumption average is a boon.

The ride quality is good but not top drawer. It’s cushy enough and cruises pleasantly. The suspension also fared well enough on a couple of farm roads I took on during the test period. The damping and noise insulation ensured it glided quietly and satisfactorily over bumps.  

In corners it feels pointy and well controlled with no issues.

However there isn’t that girder-strong build quality or the unmistakable air of aristocracy, and it has rather tame looks.

It smacks of the same mainstream regularity that's also on offer in most of its rivals from the German triumvirate of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.  With 12 models to choose from this E-Pace D300 HSE specification is loaded with amenities and propelled by a peach of an engine but as a range it's not as left-field as Jaguars ought to be.

For the outlay a well specified, top-tier Volvo XC40 that's draped in handsome R-Design clothes is a more tantalising offer. My verdict is that the E-Pace doesn’t deliver the true essence of a Jaguar beyond the leaper that's pasted on its boot. And it’s expensive.

The powered boot reveals 577-1,234 litres of boot space which is among the largest in the segment. Picture: PHUTI MPYANE
The powered boot reveals 577-1,234 litres of boot space which is among the largest in the segment. Picture: PHUTI MPYANE

Tech Specs

ENGINE

Type: Four-cylinder turbo diesel

Capacity: 2.0l

Power: 147kW

Torque: 430Nm

TRANSMISSION

Type: Nine-speed auto

DRIVETRAIN

Type: All-wheel drive

PERFORMANCE

Top speed: 8.4 seconds (as claimed) 9.0 seconds (as tested)

0-100km/h: 211km/h

Fuel Consumption: 5.3l/100km (as claimed) 9.3l/100km (as tested)

Emissions: 140g/km

STANDARD FEATURES

ABS, traction control, six airbags, USB port, air conditioning, keyless access, park distance control with surround view camera, blind spot warning, lane keep assist, auto on/off lights, folding mirrors, climate control, Bluetooth, LED lights with daytime driving running lights, rain sensing wipers, cruise control, navigation, multifunction steering wheel controls

COST OF OWNERSHIP

Warranty: Five years/100,000km

Maintenance plan: Five years/100,000km

Price: R934,410

Lease*: R19,948 per month

* at 10% interest over 60 months no deposit

 

Jaguar E-Pace D200 AWD R-Dynamic HSE

 

WE LIKE:

Luxury, D200 engine  

 

WE DISLIKE:

Styling, handling

 

VERDICT:

A bit too mainstream

 

MOTOR NEWS

star rating

***Design

****Performance

***Economy

****Ride/handling

*****Safety

***Value For Money

****Overall

 

Competition

Audi Q3 Sportback 40TFSI quattro S line, 132kW/320Nm — R758,500

BMW X1 SDrive20d M Sport, 140kW/400Nm — R767,592

Mercedes-Benz GLA200d AMG Line, 110kW/320Nm — R813,560

Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R-Design, 185kW/350Nm — R797,000

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