By Mike Torpey on 2019-01-27 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Jaguar E-PACE 2.0
FASHION, image and demand dictate certain areas of the new car market must be taken very seriously by manufacturers.
The crossover scene is one of those areas. These vehicles have become the go-to models for everyone from school run mums to family hatchback upscalers.
Jaguar has already enjoyed success at the larger end of the SUV arena with its muscular F-PACE line-up and now has a more compact contender as well in the shape of the stylish E-PACE.
Not to be confused with the brand's all-electric I-PACE, this vehicle comes up against the likes of the BMW X2, Audi Q2, DS 7 Crossback and Volvo XC40, so the bar has been set high.
The E-PACE though has much in its favour - starting with the model's design which is a blend of sports car and practical all-wheel-drive family vehicle.
It is inspired by the fiery F-TYPE with its trademark Jaguar grille, sweeping roofline and powerful haunches while the cabin boasts a dash design also taken from the sports car.
The E-PACE is up for grabs in a choice of five trim grades and powered by a range of 2.0 litre four-cylinder Ingenium engines available with 150, 180 and 240PS.
There is also a pair of high performance petrol models with 240 and 300PS and all bar the entry level diesel come with all-wheel drive.
Prices start at £28,930, extremely attractive for a car adorned with the Big Cat motif, though that tab only gets you the basic trim, a 150PS engine and six-speed manual transmission.
That said, the amount of standard kit is more than acceptable with the likes of 17-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, six speaker sound system, DAB radio, reversing camera and parking sensors all included, and there are countless options available too.
Every E-PACE also features the latest generation of Jaguar's Touch Pro infotainment system with voice control, a 10-inch touchscreen interface and a customisable home screen.
Move inside the cabin and the space is deceptively accommodating and includes a deep centre console with removable cupholders, large glovebox and deep sculpted door bins.
Our model, the 300ps petrol variant in high spec R-Dynamic trim, has more aggressive looks than standard versions with its bolstered front sports seats and colour contrasting double upholstery stitching.
It's also very comfortable too, featuring perforated leather seats and spacious rear accommodation while the large powered boot has a separate compartment underneath.
Strong and agile to drive, this model boasts swift acceleration and feels planted at speed, flicking seamlessly through the nine-speed automatic transmission with its steering wheel-mounted paddles for manual shifts.
In fact the only downside is the fuel consumption, officially 31.7 miles per gallon though an unfeasibly light right foot is required to return that figure from what's quite a heavy vehicle.
Jaguar E-PACE 2.0 R-Dynamic HSE
Mechanical: 300ps, 1,998cc, 4-cyl petrol engine driving four wheels via 9-speed automatic gearbox
Max Speed: 146mph
0-62mph: 6.5 seconds
Combined MPG: 51.7
Insurance Group: 40
C02 emissions: 203g/km
Bik rating: 37%
Warranty: 3yrs/unlimited miles
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