Jaguar E-Pace D180

Chequered Flag

Jaguar E-Pace, 2020, front, action
Jaguar E-Pace, 2020, side
Jaguar E-Pace, 2020, rear
Jaguar E-Pace, 2020, interior
Jaguar E-Pace, 2020, display screen

IF we're honest with ourselves, diesel power was never a comfortable fit with sporting cars.

Yes, an oil burner offers bags of torque and the real world economy is excellent. But the lower revs and engine rattle are less than engaging.

Another less than obvious match is a high-rider with sporting pretentions. Surely, the loftiness and higher centre of gravity conspire against driving dynamics?

Yet here, we have a car that marries up both diesel power and tall, crossover styling...and guess what? The formula works a treat.

The Jaguar E-Pace followed on the heels of its big brother the F-Pace, and though smaller has enough space for most families, is easier to park and obviously more affordable.

There's a wide line-up of petrol and diesel models, but for high mileage users with an eye on economy it's probably one of the diesel versions which holds strong appeal. Available either with two litre 148bhp or 177bhp power, we tried out the beefier of the two versions.

Like the F-Pace, the smaller model is positioned firmly in the premium sector with high grade trim, slick design flourishes and a taste of luxury with treats like heated screen was jets, twin zone climate control and LED front and rear lights throughout the range.

The car we sampled was the Chequered Flag 4WD version which also gets bigger 19-inch alloys, fixed panoramic glass roof, electric heated front seats and upgraded sat nav.

Derived from the Discovery Sport, it shares the 2.0litre turbo four Ingenium diesel which is a trusty performer offering a reasonable balance between performance and economy, although it's not the most refined of units, emitting a noticeable clatter at start up.

Front of the smart cabin is neat and spacious enough. The fascia with its large sloping centre console is classy and functions well, aside from the fiddly touchscreen. The three-spoke leather covered steering wheel is sprinkled with easy-to-use controls.

There's not a huge amount of stowage space in the front and the door pockets are a tad too slim for bulky items. Passenger space in the rear is more limited than the front although the seats are nicely raked and there's sufficient headroom for a six-footer.

The hatchback boot is regularly shaped and has a wide opening but the load platform is relatively high which restricts the height of cargo somewhat.

It's a pleasing car to drive with more in common with a sporting saloon than a utility vehicle. Steering has the usual precise Jaguar feel about it - nothing vague or woolly like many SUVs, and the ride is assured and largely comfortable.

There's a little cornering roll when hurrying around bends, but it remains firmly stuck to the road. Only when traction is being lost does the four wheel drive system come into action to restore grip. The rest of the time it is driven by the front wheels alone.

An eight speed automatic gearbox is standard equipment and generally copes well with the cut and thrust of city and open-road driving. Occasionally there's a slight hesitation as the correct ratio is selected.

With a top speed of 127mph and acceleration to 62mph in just under 9 seconds, the E-Pace is about par for the class.

FAST FACTS

Jaguar E-Pace D180 Chequered Flag

Price: £40,800

Mechanical: 1999cc, 4 cyl, 177bhp, diesel engine driving 4 wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 127mph

0-62mph: 8.6sec

Combined MPG: 39.5

Insurance Group: 29

C02 emissions: 158g/km

Bik rating: 30%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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