Jaguar E-Pace D180

Chequered Flag

Jaguar E-Pace, front
Jaguar E-Pace, profile
Jaguar E-Pace, rear
Jaguar E-Pace, dashboard
Jaguar E-Pace, interior
Jaguar E-Pace, interior, rear
Jaguar E-Pace, boot

WHEN it first hit the road the E-Pace was an instant hit for Jaguar - quickly becoming the brand's best-selling model as it went on to shift more than 11,000 units in its first year.

The problem with such quick-fire success, of course, is sustaining it - especially in the hugely competitive small premium SUV world that this sporty crossover inhabits.

Hence the arrival of the Chequered Flag special edition earlier this year, which adds some subtle and unique design enhancements and upgraded equipment for buyers looking for a little extra exclusivity.

Distinctive Chequered Flag badging on the flanks and 19-inch satin dark grey alloys set this version apart from other models and it also benefits from more muscular R-Dynamic body-coloured bumpers, twin tailpipes and LED headlamps in addition to a moody black exterior pack.

Climb inside and there is more bespoke Chequered Flag branding on the treadplates, while the ebony grained leather upholstery with contrasting red stitching enhances the premium feel.

Beneath the bonnet buyers can opt for a choice of four engines, two petrol and two diesel, all of which come with an all-wheel drive system and mated to a slick nine-speed automatic transmission.

Our car was powered by the more powerful oil burner, kicking out 180ps and offering a punchy 430Nm of torque from just 1,750rpm, which struck a good balance between performance, everyday usability and economy.

With a 0-62mph time of just over nine seconds and a top speed of 127mph, it was prompt and responsive in urban traffic with pace enough to make cruising on the open road smooth and effortless.

The automatic transmission goes about its business almost imperceptibly and the powertrain remains pretty hushed and refined for a diesel.

Throw in some well-weighted and accurate steering, decent handling - helped by torque vectoring technology - and impressive body control and the E-Pace is one of the more engaging SUVs to drive.

The pay off for this dynamic ability is a firm set up but the ride remains comfortable for the most part - although this will have been helped in our test car by the addition of the optional £820 adaptive dynamics package.

In fact the options fitted on our car came to a hefty £6,000-plus and this is clearly an area where Jaguar have learned a thing or two from their German competitors.

However, even without these extra bells and whistles this special edition comes with an impressive list of features which includes 10-way heated front seats, a panoramic roof, heated steering wheel, a 12.3-inch interactive digital driver display, keyless entry, upgraded navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and an onboard WiFi hotspot.

That's on top of the 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system, digital radio, dual-zone climate control, rearview camera, automatic emergency braking and lane keep assist system which standard versions of the E-Pace get.

It all adds up to a comfortable and pleasant environment to travel in which also offers some decent space for passengers, with good head and leg room in the rear as well as impressive personal storage provision and charge points for multiple mobile gadgets.

The boot, at 577 litres, is plenty big enough to cope with the needs of family life, with load capacity rising to 1,234 litres with the 60-40 split rear seats folded down.

If you're prepared to forego a spare wheel there is a concealed 93-litre storage space beneath the floor and higher spec models also get the convenience of a powered tailgate.

FAST FACTS

Jaguar E-Pace D180 Chequered Flag

Price: £40,800

Mechanical:180ps, 1,999cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 9-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed:127mph

0-62mph: 9.1 seconds

Combined MPG:39.5

Insurance Group:30

C02 emissions: 158g/km

Bik rating: 37%

Warranty:3yrs/unlimited miles

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