Rev her up!
Oooh Jaguar E-Pace, you're a bit saucy aren't you? Muddy puts the stiletto to the metal to test drive this 4x4.
Jaguar were late to the 4×4 party – fashionably late, as it turns out. It launched the award-winning F-Pace in 2017 (the fastest selling car in the brand’s history), it’s little sister the E-Pace is hot off the production line, with the fully electric I-Pace joining the family later in 2018.
The E-Pace is a compact SUV, 5 seater, 5 door car. There are 3 in the range: the E-Pace, R Dynamic and the First Edition (available for its 1st year only). They all come with a choice of petrol or diesel engines and there’s loads of options to choose from, depending on how much dosh you want to spend. There are also 4 specs – E-Pace, E-Pace S, SE and HSE – the better the spec, the more features you get. It’s a bit like ordering drinks in a fancy bar. Get carried away with the cocktail menu and you’ll be hyperventilating into a paper bag when you receive the bill. But one thing’s for sure, they all look the biz.
Nippy, fun and sticks the road whether you’re pootling around town, weaving through country lanes or cruising down the motorway. I was zipping around in the E-Pace S, P250 AWD automatic and it goes like the clappers, doing 0-60 in 6.6 seconds and up to 143mph at the top end. Not that you’re ever going to be tanking it 73 miles an hour faster than the speed limit… ob-vi-ous-ly! It held its own on the motorway, but was the most fun on the lanes. With such a poky engine, if you’re too heavy with your right foot, it can get a bit thirsty.
THE TECHY BITS
I’m not going to blind you with science, but here’s the stuff you kinda need to know. First up, it has a 5-star NCAP rating making it one of the safest SUVs on the market. There’s cruise control for the motorway, and ‘lane assist’ which gently brings your back in lane and spots the signs you’re too tired to drive with an electric shock – oh, alright, a beep – when you’re weaving all over the road.
Upgrade to S trim and you’ll also get traffic sign recognition, while SE versions and above add high-speed emergency braking and blindspot monitoring to that list. Good to know, right CO2 emissions are dull but important, particularly as we’re trying to stop trashing the planet. It also determines whether we can afford the shoes you’ve been lusting after (Just me?). I’ll keep it brief: 174g/km of CO2, meaning you’re car tax is £140 per year and you’re fuel consumption is 36mpg. I drive a diesel 4×4 and it compares to that. So pretty standard for such hefty car.
The E-Pace’s sporty good looks will definitely grab your attention, but once you clap eyes on the interior it’ll be signed, sealed, delivered… I’m yours. The S adds leather trim, so it immediately feels expensive, but then it blinds you with gadgetry. The 4G wifi hotspot and 5 USB ports got the double thumbs up from Mr Muddy and the tweenager.
There’s also a 10in touchscreen infotainment system with navigation that even my indiscriminate tapping managed to master. SatNav seems positively pedestrian in comparison to the ability to post endless selfies without unplugging for a nanosecond, and controlling the tunes. For the poor of parking, Park Assist will be your new BFF. Hands free parking! If parking isn’t your strong point – and you can get over the freakiness of it – this bad boy will make you look like a pro.
You can fit your kids easily in the back – my 3 and 12 year olds had so much legroom they were practically star fishing. I reckon a couple of burly rugby players would be quite happy too. It’s actually been designed with a 6 footer in mind. Anyone over that will have to lose a few inches (ouch!). The boot is generous but not giant. You’ll get a big shop or 3 large suitcases on the way to the airport, but I’m not convinced there’s room for a big buggy. If I’m being picky, a powered tailgate (a £410 optional extra) should be standard. When you’re herding kids and/or juggling shopping bags, you just want to pop the boot. Just saying
THE MUDDY VERDICT:
Good for: Mums on the run, city drivers who want the safety of a Chelsea Tractor with the nippiness of a urban runaround. Anyone who wants a cool car, with off road capability.
Not for: Young families. The boot space is generous but not giant. I’m not sure you would get a large buggy in with all the other paraphernalia you schlep around with. Old school Jag drivers will be reeling at the lack of mahogany trim and new emphasis on gadgetry.
£££: The entry level price for a Jaguar E Pace is £28,500 for a FWD E-Pace or £39,260 for the S P250 AWD automatic model I was driving. It’s fair to say it’s on the expensive side – but its good looks will seduce you, while the cool kit will win you over with its ‘come to mama’ eyes.
Marshall Jaguar-Land Rover, 77 Greenham Business Park, Newbury RG19 6HW. Tel: 01635 937070. marshall.co.uk