You probably know we are not big fans of SUV. We do not care that they are not environment friendly but we were brought up with coupé and we used to drive and enjoy them for a long time. They seems not really useful and fun for someone in the mid twenties, and as many of us, when we saw a SUV in town it looks more like a family minivan than a sports car. Speaking of this, in France, we have this good old Renault Espace of our childhood. In fact, SUV today are the Renault Espace of the 2010s.
And family life is more about compromising than having fun. In the past, we accidentally drove some SUV and it was not particularly special. But we are living a curious time where the car used to go to the supermarket is becoming a real track killer … Obviously, these two words speak to us, so we decided to take a closer look at these city monsters.
Jaguar nicely gave us a nice E-Pace P300 AWD R-DYNAMIC HSE BVA for a day, the opportunity to catch a snack and to quickly take the kids back from school.
2.0L straight-four engine turbocharged powering 300ch with a 9 speed automatic transmission, this E-Pace model is on paper top of the food chain (unless they think appropriate to produce a SVR version … but we are not there yet).
At first sight, you know this is a Jaguar ! And it is a very good point ! The SUV proportions did not impair the Jaguar style, we instantly saw a F-Type in it, but not just a pale imitation. The rear design is probably the coolest part with its stringent hatchback and eye-catchy bold line lights (you can see it on the main photo). It is compact, elegant and slim (in its own SUV way).
Aboard you feel important. You know you are in a pretty big car but not too big (never understood the truck driver pleasure), even if it weights 1,894 kg. The steering wheel handles shape your hands and all the controls are very easy to use, even for those like us who never read a line of user guide. The leather is beautiful, smells good (very important) and the plastic soft, very soft. Even if you find some hard, they are hidden down and also used to mold the shifting paddles. The design is simple and functional, just right. Jaguar chose to feature a dashboard with very few buttons and a quite big touch-screen and we greatly appreciate. But where is the stunning wood veneer we used to love in the vintage Jag ?
Let the big cat out ! The gasoline engine roars at starting but is pretty quiet at low rpm : lets avoid haters for daily use in the city. It feels pretty light and very strong in the Parisian traffic jam. Galiffi juniors (skillfully replaced by twenty year-old volunteers) on the back seats and rather annoyed by the congestion, you step on the throttle and the engine roars in a turbo breath : that is when we realized we are not in a regular SUV.
We left the downtown to drive back home (in the suburbs of course).
The highway ramp is the place to test the Dynamic mode (not realistic, commuting traffic is at a stand still). Wow ! Finally a sport mode that really changes the game ! The turbo blows a superb deep sound all the way from its small 2.0L to the exhaust pipes, probably more from the exhaust than the engine. The more you ride, the more you feel it’s a real little Jaguar : children are quiet, glued to the bottom of the seats, rocked by the kitten’s cry.
The turbo is present very early and give a lot of torque to the car, the rpm rise high, it is very nice on small winding country roads on which it swallows the curves and execute the 0 to 100km/h in just 6.4 seconds ! The real feat is the fun to drive felt behind the wheel despite the 1900 kg of the beast. We do not really know if the suspension is stiffens, if the direction becomes more incisive, but the ferocious turbo coupled with the feline exhaust give a liberating kick to the E-Pace and its F-Type four-cylinder inside. We want more but we have already arrived to the driveway.
This E-Pace P300 is a great discovery, it is probably the compact SUV that reconciled us with SUV. We would almost be jealous of parents, asking them to rent their offspring to justify driving in Jaguar, Jaguar E-Pace every day. And even without children, the style, comfort and soul of this car makes it an interesting and surprisingly versatile car.
Youth advice : swap kids and their toys for pals, a surfboard, a beach bbq and beer crates for twice as much fun. Let’s admit, proportionally speaking, that SUV is not too big, not too heavy and / or well motorized it can be a good daily alternative. The Jaguar spirit is safe and sound, thanks to the cavernous sound that delivers the beast when we break its chains, and to the different eastereggs hidden by the engineers aboard !
#FuntoDrive score : 70
Yes 70 ! Impressive score for a SUV ! Because this real Jaguar with 4 pretty big seats gave us SUV taste even if we are not 35 years old dynamic young leader, with a smiling family and a cute little puppy.
We will let you discover them in our “Jaguar E-Pace” story at the top of our Instagram profile.
It only remains to deliver the beast by trying it off-road … And keep it #FuntoDrive.