Taking a fresh look at the Jaguar E-PACE

by Petrol Mum
Jaguar E-PACE R-Dynamic S P250 in a rural setting

When I first drove a Jaguar E-PACE over three years ago I was enamored by the cute details that the Jag design team had incorporated into this SUV. At that time the variants available were many and the optional extras list long, making configuring your E-PACE more than a little confusing and potentially very expensive.

Fast forward to 2021 and the E-PACE range has matured, but it is still one of the best-looking small SUVs currently on the market and it feels special, the way a Jag should. There are now just four grades to choose from with two iterations of the Ingenium petrol engine available. Those cute details are still present though, with the mother and cub walking in the corner of the windscreen and on your garage floor when you open the front doors at night and see the puddle lights.

To keep your cubs safer all E-PACE models feature the full suite of driver safety aids including Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist, Rear Collision Monitor, Rear Traffic Monitor, Traffic Sign Recognition and Adaptive Speed Limiter. ANCAP tests of the autonomous emergency braking system at highway speeds showed GOOD performance and the overall score for the Safety Assist systems is 72%.

The 360o Rear view Camera with front and rear sensors is excellent and gives you the ability to select cameras from around the E-PACE to see a 3D view. Other passive safety includes front airbags, with passenger seat occupant detector, front side airbags, full length side window curtain airbag and the convenience of automatic headlights and wipers. The Jaguar E-PACE has a 5-star (2017) ANCAP safety rating with an adult occupant protection score of 33.04 point out of 38 (86%) and a child occupant protection score of 43.00 points out of 49 (87%).

Jaguar E-PACE R-Dynamic S P250 rear view camera

The three R-Dynamic variants have a 2.0 litre, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine that produces 184kW and 365Nm of torque and the P300 gets slightly more oomph with 221kW and 400Nm. The E-PACE I drove recently was the R-Dynamic S P250, which is the base model in the line-up. It can do 0-100km/h in 7.5 seconds and goes on to a top speed of 229km/h. The official combined fuel consumption is 7.8L/100km and for my week I used 11.3L/100km.

The engine is paired with a smooth 9-speed automatic gearbox and all-wheel drive. The ride is nice regardless of the drive mode selected and there are four to choose from; Eco, Comfort, Dynamic and AdSR. On the E-PACE AdSR, offers a balanced driving experience optimised for on-road driving only and the tyres wrapped around the optional 19” rims in satin dark grey ($1,050) and are definitely not suitable for off-road driving.

The cabin has received a refreshed look with the 11.4” infotainment touchscreen being the most obvious upgrade. The driver’s dash is a combination of analogue dials and a central digital display and I was not keen on the overall look of this. But I did really like the chubby gear selector and the R-Dynamic leather wrapped steering wheel with the lovely to touch wheel-mounted satin chrome gearshift paddles. A particular feature on the steering wheel that I was impressed by was the feminine looking silhouette used to designate the voice control. This differs from the image used by the majority of other car companies, which is masculine looking.

However, I struggled with the operation of the voice control, it did not work for me to make calls as my contact list didn’t sync with the system and then it told me that the sat nav was not ready so I could not set a destination using it. I was able though to use the voice control to change the media selection between DAB, AM/FM, Bluetooth and TuneIn and adjust the temp on the climate control.

This was good because like in the F-PACE I recently drive I found that the pull-out mechanism on the rotary switch used to adjust the air speed of the climate system felt a bit flimsy. It is a nice design touch to have the same dial for temp control/air speed, but the execution is a not quite as good as would be expected. I also found that the temperature was hard to balance and I couldn’t get the cabin warm enough for my liking.

The grained leather sports seats look and smell the part and are comfortable thanks to the 12-way power adjustment including 4-way lumbar control. I really liked the embossed Jaguar on the headrests, the look of the door trims and the stitched materials across the dash. To top the cabin off the E-PACE has a suedecloth headlining that really is beautiful to look at and touch.

For a small SUV there are plenty of storage cubbies in the E-PACE that have thoughtful details built into them. Under the arm rest is a jaguar-looking skin printed rubber mat that is removable for easy cleaning and one USB and one USB-C port for connecting to the Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. You can also completely remove the cup holders and have enough room in the space for a small handbag. At the front of the centre console is another rubber mat with a skin print on it, a wireless charger ($350 option) for compatible devices and a 12V outlet. Finally, there is a huge full-length cut out in the front door cubbies, but in order to store a drink bottle in here you would have to lay it down.

I found that the rear seats had an acceptable amount of head and leg room for two adults to comfortably sit here. For younger passengers there are two ISOFIX/three rear tether child seat restraint points, but in reality, only enough room for two car seats due to the width of the rear seat. This means you can fold down the central seat as an armrest, which contains two shallow-ish drink holders. There is good sized drink bottle storage in the door cubbies though and my children were happy that they had central air vents in the back that had manual direction and on/off control. Under the vents there is a 12V outlet and although the rear footwells have mats there was no mat over the transmission tunnel to prevent wear and tear from children climbing over it.

The boot lid on this E-PACE was power operated and could be opened/closed from the button on the boot lid, on the key fob and at the front of the cabin. The boot is an OK size and would most likely fit a stroller and the weekly shop. There are four tie down points, two hooks, two lights and one 12V outlet located in the boot and a temporary use tyre located under the boot floor. For extra storage length the rear seats have a 40:20:40 split folding mechanism and this means you can store a long item through the middle of the rear seats while both outboard seats are occupied.

All new Jaguar vehicles sold now come with a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty with 5 years roadside assistance. A 5 years/ 102,000km (whichever occurs first) service plan that covers standard service costs during this period and for the F-PACE this can be purchased upfront for $1,950. Like other automotive manufacturers, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) are currently experiencing some Covid-19 supply chain disruption, including the global availability of semi-conductors, which is having an impact on production.  As a result, they have adjusted production schedules for certain vehicles which means that some of their manufacturing sites will be operating some limited periods of planned non-production. JLR Australia continue to see strong customer demand for their range of vehicles and are working closely with affected suppliers to resolve the issues and minimise the impact on customer orders wherever possible.

The Jaguar E-PACE is a high-end small SUV that is really nice to drive and be driven in and the fact that it looks so good and has many cute features is just an added bonus. Prices for the E-PACE R-Dynamic S P250 start at $65,900 excluding on road costs and as tested in Firenze Red Metallic Paint ($1370) with black contrast roof ($970) and several other options the E-PACE I drove was $72,090 plus on roads. Visit your preferred Jaguar retailer or locate your F-PACE on-line using Jaguar’s new Find & Reserve facility.

ProsCons
A stylish design, inside and outThe operation of the voice control
Simplified model lineupFlimsy feeling rotary air speed/temperature controllers
The 3D, 360o rear view camera  Couldn’t find a nice temperature balance in the cabin

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.

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