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Jaguar E-Pace D240 HSE R-Dynamic

Date: 26 March 2018   |   Author: Sean Keywood

P11D: £48,095
Fuel consumption: 45.6mpg
CO2 (BIK band): 162g/km (34%)
BIK 20/40% a month: £272/£545
Boot space: 577 litres
Engine size/power: 1,999cc/240hp

With a need to boost sales figures, no manufacturer has had to react more rapidly to the increased demand for its new breed of SUVs than Jaguar. 

Fortunately, all that was required was a quick phone call to the company's near neighbours, Land Rover.

That's because the 'all-new' E-Pace is effectively a reskinned Range Rover Evoque - albeit with an upgraded interior, rear axle, and more road-focused steering and suspension settings. 

Now the positives of adapting an existing car are many, not least the money and years saved in development time; but there are pitfalls and, in the case of the E-Pace's, it's the sheer weight of its ageing donor car. 

Jag Epace Side

Unlike the larger F-Pace, which is built on Jaguar's aluminium platform, the E-Pace is made predominantly of heavyweight steel. But despite its considerable mass, Jaguar insists the car's sporting DNA remains alive  and well. 

Even so, if you want to get the best out of your E-Pace, it makes sense to ignore the 150 and 180hp engines, go for the most powerful 240hp diesel engine, and hang the inevitable increased running costs.

Torque-ing point

Glance at the spec sheet and it's not the ultimate power figure that jumps out, so much as the 500Nm of torque; meaning, whether on a motorway or a country road, there's all the grunt you ever need for any overtaking manoeuvre. 

Another treat is the nine-speed automatic transmission. In normal mode, changes are smooth and unobtrusive, and it always gives you the right gear at the right moment. Then, if you want to press on down a twisty road, the paddles behind the steering wheel make manual gearshifts easy and enjoyable. 

Jag E-PACE Front

Said twisty road also lets you discover other engaging aspects of the E-Pace driving experience. 

The E-Pace feels more like an agile saloon car than an unwieldy SUV, thanks to the combination of an active driveline that redistributes power to the wheels with the most traction, a torque vectoring system that brakes individual wheels to combat over and understeer, and adaptive suspension that minimises body roll. The combination is so subtle you rarely realise it is working. 

Good handling doesn't come at the expense of ride comfort either, as the SUV is composed and civilised over bumps. Even if you're pressing on in Dynamic mode, enough comfort is retained to quell complaints from passengers.

Range anxiety

The E-Pace's specification range isn't the simplest to fathom; you must first choose between the normal E-Pace or sportier R-Dynamic trim, and then between base and additional S, SE and HSE specification packs. The top-line R-Dynamic HSE we drove came with less-than-discreet sporty red interior trim, but the cabin is still a pleasant place. Materials are mostly good quality throughout, with the exception of a few dubious pieces of plastic trim. 

Jag Epace Rear

The 10in central touchscreen has sharp graphics, and is fairly easy to use while driving, thanks to a simple but effective shelf you can brace your hand against. 

Further back, there's decent, rather than plentiful, space for a couple of rear passengers, while the boot is a good size and has a flat floor for easy loading.

Pricey package

If you're looking for excuses to justify the 240hp diesel as your next company car, the good news is fuel consumption isn't too bad, at 45.6mpg on a combined cycle, compared with 50.4mpg for the 150 and 180hp models. However, a BMW X1 xDrive 25d is cheaper by almost £10,000, is 10mpg more fuel efficient and, by 2018-19 calculations, sits six BIK bands lower than the E-Pace.


Verdict


7/10
  • Accomplished handling
  • Strong engine
  • Slick automatic gearbox
  • High P11D
  • High emissions

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