Smallest Jaguar SUV

Jaguar E-PACE 2.0 R-Dynamic HSE, profile
Jaguar E-PACE 2.0 R-Dynamic HSE
Jaguar E-PACE Black
Jaguar E-PACE 2.0 R-Dynamic HSE, side
Jaguar E-PACE 2.0 R-Dynamic HSE, rear
Jaguar E-PACE 2.0 R-Dynamic HSE, rear profile
Jaguar E-PACE 2.0 R-Dynamic HSE, cabin

THE Jaguar E-PACE is better looking and more stylish inside and out than all the opposition.

I know that's a personal thing, but when those beautiful lines are standing next to something like the rather ungainly Mercedes GLA, they really stand out.

This smallest Jaguar SUV not only looks great, but it has performance to match its name in the P250 2.0-litre I drove, storming from zero to 60 miles an hour in a delightful 6.7 seconds and on to a possible 143 miles an hour where the law allows.

If those were its main strengths, it would be a very good car, but it also holds the road like a limpet and has a comfortable ride.

All E-PACE models bar one diesel have four wheel drive (4WD) as standard, and in the case of the R-Dynamic, it's an automatic on-demand system where the front wheels do most of the work and the rears only come into play when there's loss of traction.

Power comes from a smooth but tuneful 2.0-litre turbocharged engine with 245bhp, driving through a standard nine-speed automatic gearbox.

There are four drive modes - Normal, Dynamic, Eco and Rain, Ice and Snow.

Normal and Eco are self explanatory, as is the one for winter driving conditions, which gives maximum traction when needed.

Dynamic is Jaguar's word for Sport, and this makes the whole car feel more focussed and immediate, giving a fantastic kickdown when its needed, but obviously, using more fuel in the process.

There is also a manual setting, with paddles behind the wheel to make the changes, but why buy a dog and bark yourself when the automatic is so good?

Out on a twisting country road, it does have a little of the feel of some 4x4s, but nonetheless is marvellously agile and poised.

The level of grip and standard of road-holding are both superb, aided by brilliant body control and very little roll, but also by the 4WD system.

It's a joy to hustle along a quiet country road, where it behaves more like a sporting saloon than a bulky, high 4x4.

The ride is a little on the firm side because of the emphasis placed on top quality handling, but even on some fairly rough and uneven town and country roads, I never found it uncomfortable.

That said, as with so many other cars, the bigger the wheels and tyres the worse the ride is likely to be.

Interior quality, design and finish are excellent with comfortable and hip hugging sports seats, easy rotary controllers and a 10-inch multimedia touch screen.

But sadly, there is no sat nav in this model and I would have thought it should have been included.

There's plenty of space for four inside and the boot is also a very good size, extendable by folding the back seats.

Other standard equipment includes a digital instrument panel, DAB radio and 180 watt sound system, hill start assist, keyless entry and ignition and All Surface Progress Control to help out in the rough stuff.

It also has cruise control, front and rear parking sensors and a rear view camera, lane keeping assistance, heated seats, traction control and a number of special finishing touches including bright metal pedals and special kick plates.

FAST FACTS

Price: £36,800

Mechanical:254bhp, 1,998cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving four wheels via 9-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed:143mph

0-62mph:6.7 seconds

Combined MPG:34

Insurance Group: 34

C02 emissions: 185g/km

Bik rating: 37%

Warranty:3yrs/ 60,000 miles

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