By Mike Torpey on 2022-07-10 - 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 P300e
PHEV R-Dynamic SE
THERE'S nothing like diversity, but it's still hard to believe that there are no less than 27 different variants of the Jaguar E-PACE.
That fact in itself is testament to the faith the premium manufacturer has in its stylish compact SUV.
The chopice ranges from the entry grade D165 diesel model with six-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive costing £32,390 to the flagship P300e R-Dynamic HSE all-wheel drive automatic PHEV at a princely £50,240.
And bringing an extra touch of drama to the party is a new Black Edition featuring gloss black design touches as well as an enhanced specification.
For our model we move close to the top of the pile in classy R-Dynamic SE trim for the P300e plug-in hybrid combining a 200ps 1.5-litre Ingenium petrol engine with an 80kW motor, adding an extra 109ps of punch.
This model has options including Bluefire metallic paint at £670, an exterior Black Pack (£500), 19-inch 5-spoke gloss black wheels (£620), a fixed panoramic roof (£990), a Technology Pack consisting ClearSight interior rear view mirror, wireless device charging with phone signal booster, head-up display with interactive driver display (£1,220), Meridian sound system (Â£600), heated steering wheel (Â£205), privacy glass (Â£370), a cabin air purification system (Â£335) and a home charging cable at Â£300, taking the car's price to Â£53,730.
And if that sounds like you're paying extra for everything it's not the case, because there are some 91 standard or trim grade-specific features included on the E-PACE already.
As a driver's car the E-PACE is both smooth and refined anyway, but the plug-in hybrid makes a marked difference making it more efficient than ever.
Its new P300e PHEV (plug-in electric vehicle) powertrain provides the ability to drive for up to 34 miles in zero emission EV mode and low CO2 emissions of 44g/km.
Of course you need to be disciplined and make sure to keep the battery topped up, but the benefit is fuel economy of up to 141 miles per gallon compared to a fraction of that figure if you merely rely on the petrol engine.
None of this impacts on performance either as the Jaguar has plenty of acceleration and torque, feels agile around rural lanes and remains very stable at speed as you flick through the nine-speed auto gearbox with its steering wheel-mounted manual shift paddles.
Drive modes of Eco, Comfort and Dynamic are selected via a rocker switch, while fully EV driving can be enabled at the push of a separate button.
As for passenger space, the cabin is more accommodating than it may initially appear (especially up front), though rear passenger room is best described as adequate - there's not a lot of wriggle room for three across the back.
There are lots of storage options including the likes of deep door bins, front and rear cup holders, large glovebox and deep central container while the car is also packed with useful technology led by the latest Pivi Pro infotainment set-up including Software-Over-The-Air updates.
A powered tailgate ensures easy boot access and the rear seats split/fold 60:40, which is just as well because the load area isn't great, though there is a separate compartment below.
Ambiance inside the car is exceptional, making you feel distinguished as you sit firmly in the sculpted, perforated and multi-adjustable leather seats, facing a high grade dash with its piano black and shiny alloy highlights and 12.3-inch touchscreen.
Mind you not all the tech will necessarily be to everyone's taste, a case in point being the optional ClearSight camera-based rear view mirror, which takes some getting used to.
Jaguar E-PACE P300e PHEV R-Dynamic SE
Mechanical:227ps, 1.5-litre, 3-cyl Ingenium petrol engine and electric motor driving four wheels via nine-speed automatic transmission
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