put together a review of an E-Pace SE D240 from Australia. The reviewer drove a Volvo XC40 Inscription before the E-Pace, so he also compares the two SUVs a bit.
What does everyone think of this review? Is it a fair assessment or is it too critical?
To start he says that the E-Pace is the best looking SUV in the class, but has some faults underneath.
The British carmakerís first crack at a compact SUV has delivered what I believe is the best-looking vehicle in the segment. Not only does it look drastically different than any of its competitors, but it is easily identifiable as a Jaguar, even if you were to remove the badge. However, once you strip away the sexy skin youíll be left with a vehicle which, while good, has a number of shortcomings.
He praises the Jaguars performance and the variety of options that are available to customers. But it's when he starts talking about the interior that he starts talking about it as a mixed bag.
An attractive cabin with flaws
The interior of the E-Pace is a mixed bag. In general, the SUV has a nice cabin layout and lots of soft leather components. There are memory seats, the aforementioned Meridian sound system (which is excellent), and the driving position is superb. Like other Jags, drivers are able to lower the seat so far down that they come close to the feeling of being in a sports car instead of an SUV. In addition, the steering wheel adjusts not just in the vertical plane, but it also has a long telescoping range, so if you want it near your chest, you can do it, but if you prefer a more relaxed driving position, you can have it pushed back towards the dashboard.
Jaguar has also absolutely nailed the R-Dynamic steering wheel. It is perfectly sized and very soft to the touch, but the optional paddle shifters feel plasticky and cheap. I also wasnít particularly fond of the steering wheel controls, finding them unnecessarily complicated and not all that nice to the touch.
Jaguar has designed the infotainment system to sit in a neutral position, rather than tilting it towards the driver. Thatís not a big deal; heaps of other cars are like that. What is a big deal, however, is the fact that the screen is tilted up at what must be a 20- to 25-degree angle towards the roof. This means that if youíre driving on a sunny day, the screen is hit with a huge amount of glare making it virtually impossible to see and interact with. With the panoramic moonroof, the glare would be even worse. The user interface also isnít particularly user friendly and nowhere near as intuitive or fast as the one in the Volvo XC40.
Two other less-than-impressive parts of the E-Paceís cabin is the shifter and the cup holder cover. The shifter gets the job done but feels cheap compared to other cars like this market like the XC40 and even Land Roverís Discovery Sport with its rotary gear selector. The Jaguar also has an odd plastic cover that sits over the cupholders. This cover doesnít fold or slide away Ė it simply lifts out, so if you want to use the cupholder, you have to store this cover somewhere. Dumb.
I wanted to like the E-Pace. I really did. As I jumped behind the wheel and drove the first few hundred meters away from where I had left the XC40, I felt the disappoint barrel me over like a rough wave in the ocean.
The steering of the E-Pace D240 has a surprising amount of weight to it but it feels vague, indirect, and inconsistent. Things do improve when you shift the car into ĎDynamicí, as it sharpens everything up and makes the car more responsive. The brakes of the E-Pace are also a letdown. If you slowly apply pressure to the brakes to come to a stop, the Jaguar doesnít brake smoothly, no matter how silky your brake application may be. I often found myself depressing the brake pedal about 30 per cent of its travel and the car would aggressively wipe off speed for a second or two before starting to slow at a pace more reflective of pedal pressure. You get used to it but it does get annoying as there are so many other cars on the market with more predictable brakes.
As mentioned, the E-Pace D240ís powertrain is good. The engine is very refined for a diesel and, at low revs, whisper-quiet. The nine-speed automatic transmission almost feels like a CVT at times because of the way it changes through the gears with so little fuss. When pushed, itís hard not to be impressed with the briskness at which the D240 picks up speed, thanks mainly to that 500 Nm of torque. Jaguar claims a combined fuel consumption figure of 5.6 liters per 100 km (42 U.S. mpg), but even on long highway cruises I never saw that dip below 8.0 liters per 100 km (29.4 U.S. mpg).
Where the driving experience of the E-Pace falls down at slow speeds when youíre trying to be smooth and responsible, it shines when pushed. The SUV tips into corners in a way few competitors can match. The steering also feels better at speed when you grab the car by the scruff of the neck and if you do hit the brakes hard, they do respond well. Try to be dignified with your steering, throttle, and brake inputs, however, and the Jaguar feels at a level below its competitors. Our test carís drivetrain also produced some worrying knocks and creaks when accelerating hard out of corners.
If you love the looks, you might forgive its blemishes
Coming away from my week with the E-Pace I was left unsatisfied. The car looks fantastic and for the most part, has a very nice interior. However, with prices starting locally from $68,010 AUD for a base D240 SE, itís hard to recommend it over other alternatives, particular the XC40 which has more standard features and costs about $10,000 less in Australia. If you love the styling of the E-Pace, by all means, sign on that dotted line but know there are better vehicles in this class.