RE: Jaguar E-Pace P300: Driven

RE: Jaguar E-Pace P300: Driven

Sunday 19th November 2017

Jaguar E-Pace P300: Driven

JLR's latest SUV carries a lot of weight on its shoulders, how does it fare?



No, your eyes do not deceive you: it's a compact SUV. Worse still, it's a compact SUV with a transverse four-cylinder engine that spends a good deal of time being front-wheel drive. It's also based on a steel platform that can trace its heritage back at least a decade. Oh and it has a Jaguar badge. Insult, injury etc etc.


But hang on; stow the pitchforks and down the torches for a moment. Let's shuffle back and see it from Gaydon's point of view. The E-Pace - the smaller, cheaper follow-up to the F-Pace - is wholly necessary. In case you hadn't noticed, the buying public rather likes small SUVs, and it likes the idea of them being upmarket, too. The F-Pace is the most successful Jaguar at launch ever: the firm expects its sequel to follow suit.

Also - and Jaguar is most insistent on this point - it has been done properly. According to Gaydon, this is the sports car of the class; a performance SUV built on the firm's trademark principles. To that end, atop the stock choice of Ingenium oil burners, it has made the 300hp 2.0-litre petrol unit available in this, the P300 - and mated it to the same GKN all-wheel drive system that Ford deployed to great effect in the Focus RS.

Then there's the styling, which works hard to incorporate as many F-Type design cues as possible. It looks good, too; even robbed of the normal Jaguar proportions, Ian Callum's idea of a compact SUV is far more visually appealing than, say, an Audi Q3 - and it's a similar story inside, where the F-Type's 'bayonet' gear lever migrates into a cabin that is slightly heavy on the matt plastic finish, but steadfastly handsome with it.


For a fair proportion of its intended customers, that will probably be sufficient to convince them that all is well with the E-Pace - and, driven without much intent, the car's concessionary chassis balance is unlikely to unsettle the notion. No prizes for guessing that there's a Range Rover Evoque under the Jaguar costume (and, consequently - more distantly - a Freelander too) but the new model's hardware is not unaltered.

Pursuing gains in steering precision, Gaydon has altered the front subframe mountings, making them rigid in places, and installed the same integral-link rear suspension that features on Jaguar's saloon cars: the idea being that the model be made to feel more like an XE, and less manifestly like a Land Rover product.

To a degree, the ruse comes off. With the electric-powered steering at 2.5 turns lock-to-lock and Pirelli P-Zeros replacing the Evoque's all-terrain tyres on 20-inch wheels, the E-Pace is plainly a more agile and dynamically composed prospect than its sibling. Sharper would be the umbrella term - and thanks to the petrol engine, nippier too.


As a small, seemly, spry SUV it therefore works. What it does not do, sadly, is elevate the performance benchmark for such a car in a way that might be reasonably expected of a highfalutin £50k, 300hp option - or, more importantly, embed itself in your conscientiousness as an honest to goodness Jaguar. That it doesn't is partly a legacy issue with the platform, and partly a foreseeable foible of the breed - which both amount to about the same thing.

Certainly two things are readily apparent: the E-Pace is too heavy, and - on the passive suspension that will be standard until adaptive dampers arrive next year - it does not ride well enough. By 'well enough' I mean with the consistent poise and long-striding comfort that is synonymous with the brand. Its compliance is fragile and too easily unsettled; a symptom of the stiffening that has necessarily occurred in the chassis to remedy the effects of a raised roll centre on the handling.

While this is clearly a case of quid pro quo, the E-Pace's 1,894kg of kerbweight is less forgivable. Nudging well beyond two tonnes with a single passenger aboard is troubling for any small SUV - and downright distressing for one harbouring performance aspirations. For point of reference, the outgoing Audi RS Q3 - with a larger five-cylinder engine and its own version of a bygone platform - is over 160kg lighter than the Jaguar.


For all Gaydon's undoubted talent in juggling mass (and there is arguably no-one better) the task here is plainly onerous. The E-Pace has been gifted the heightened responses that make it seem more incisive up to a point, but it's never more than two corners away from feeling laboured in that hard-on-the-brakes way that tends to suck the enjoyment from driving it enthusiastically.

And while there's a tenacity in the active driveline, and a palpable sensation of the torque being shuffled around by the clutch packs at the back, the Ingenium motor is not in the business of flinging you up the road like the Q3's five-pot would. Meaning that the driver of a £50k, 300hp E-Pace would not even see the direction in which a £47k, 381hp GLA45 AMG went.

That's a shame of course, because with the spotlight shone objectively elsewhere, the Jaguar is a far more likeable car than the Mercedes. And though there maybe a little too much lardy Evoque left in the blood stream, its Land Rover sibling is the prime example of a small SUV selling on conceptual appeal above all else. The E-Pace has a similar sort of desirability on tap. But sporting talent? Not so much.


SPECIFICATION: JAGUAR E-PACE R-DYNAMIC HSE P300

Engine: 1,998cc, 4-cyl
Transmission: 9-speed auto, all-wheel drive
Power (hp): 300@5,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 295@1,500-4,500rpm
0-62mph: 6.4sec
Top speed: 151mph
Weight: 1,894kg (EU)
MPG: 35.3 (NEDC combined)
CO2: 181g/km
Price: £50,710

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author
Discussion

Bright Halo

Original Poster:

410 posts

166 months

Sunday 19th November 2017
quotequote all
Looks good but £50K!

Nutty9000

675 posts

31 months

Sunday 19th November 2017
quotequote all
How is it 30 kg heavier than an F-Pace 3.0d? Is it made of ununseptium?

Hang On

229 posts

11 months

Sunday 19th November 2017
quotequote all
How completely stupid to ship a school-run SUV on Summer only tyres.

Burwood

9,081 posts

177 months

Sunday 19th November 2017
quotequote all
Finally, car reviewers are telling the truth about jag/Land Rover. This is another example of a premium price for a not so premium car.

had ham

3,196 posts

114 months

Sunday 19th November 2017
quotequote all
'Then there's the styling'

What styling? It's as utterly forgetful and anodyne as every other Jag, inside and out.

It's a shame, as I really want to like Jag, but they keep churning out such blandness like this.
Advertisement

Burwood

9,081 posts

177 months

Sunday 19th November 2017
quotequote all
had ham said:
'Then there's the styling'

What styling? It's as utterly forgetful and anodyne as every other Jag, inside and out.

It's a shame, as I really want to like Jag, but they keep churning out such blandness like this.
Autocar gave it 3.5 stars. The reviewer saying his Skoda was a nicer/better car. Oh dear.

BFleming

648 posts

74 months

Sunday 19th November 2017
quotequote all
I saw one near Gaydon about 3 weeks ago & it didn't look anything special. Went like the absolute clappers though. It'll coax some people away from a Q3, but not many.

florian

134 posts

205 months

Sunday 19th November 2017
quotequote all
The executives that signed this off should be ran over by this ghastly contraption.
And it's about time that Callum leaves the place before he completely ruins the brand.

Plate spinner

12,659 posts

131 months

Sunday 19th November 2017
quotequote all
Hmmm, so a car for the ill-informed then...

MellowshipSlinky

10,161 posts

120 months

Sunday 19th November 2017
quotequote all
Quite like it, but would be hard pushed to choose this over an XC40 T5

Edited by MellowshipSlinky on Sunday 19th November 09:40

swisstoni

6,628 posts

210 months

Sunday 19th November 2017
quotequote all
I agree about modern Jag styling.
Some really unhappy looking vehicles coming out and it needs to stop.

mr_spock

2,492 posts

146 months

Sunday 19th November 2017
quotequote all
Grace, space, pace. None of these apply. What a shame.

FlashBastd

268 posts

121 months

Sunday 19th November 2017
quotequote all
I saw one of these at a fleet show a month or so ago, proportions are terrible, a rare car that looks better in photos than in the metal.

Re the GKN rear diff, isn’t that the same as the petrol Evoque, that no one in their right mind has ever bought? What about the inevitability more popular diesel, one assumes that will have the same open rear diff as the cooking evoque and most other “haldex style” 4WDs.

Rehashing a Mondeo didn’t work so well for Jag last time, even when based upon a contemporary variant, with a nice driving result. No doubt the general public’s appetite for SUVs will make this far more successful, just a shame it’s not a better looking, more thoroughly re-engineered product.

Helicopter123

3,053 posts

87 months

Sunday 19th November 2017
quotequote all
Must be a market in the UK for what the yanks term a full size SUV? Think Escalade, Suburban or Yukon. Room for 7 adults AND their luggage. Market for smaller SUVs quite crowded now.

dazwalsh

3,739 posts

72 months

Sunday 19th November 2017
quotequote all
50 grand?!?! st the bed

paranoid airbag

2,667 posts

90 months

Sunday 19th November 2017
quotequote all
dazwalsh said:
50 grand?!?! st the bed
Isn't the, apparently comparable in weight (with better chassis) V6 F-Pace 50 grand?

David87

4,865 posts

143 months

Sunday 19th November 2017
quotequote all
The Evoque was okay seven years ago, but things have moved on since then and, for all intents and purposes, this Jag seems very much like that car.

I’m sure folk will buy it though - just look at the number of high spec versions of its rivals that you see and, when you consider that the development costs can’t have been huge, I guess it’ll be a profitable car for JLR. Still about the last thing I’d spend my money on, though.

CapScarlet

32 posts

78 months

Sunday 19th November 2017
quotequote all
I was having a look at one of these but 50k is just the start - the options list is truly ridiculous and its very easy to add 10-15k in options which prices it against some very desirable machinery indeed.

This review nails it in my view.

Wills2

14,648 posts

106 months

Sunday 19th November 2017
quotequote all
I think the fact that you can get a 6pot 340hp Macan for less than this 300hp 4 pot Jag shows they might be stretching the brand a bit too far.

Although I'm sure there are lots of cheaper variants of the E-pace that will sell well.


ExPat2B

1,918 posts

131 months

Sunday 19th November 2017
quotequote all
I think this review misses the point somewhat. Anyone wanting anything actually sporty won't go anywhere near a mini SUV.

Look at how popular Jeep/ Fiat 500L effort is, that is a very similar size and weight. I had one as a hire car and it's woeful, slow, poor handling and riding, and to top it off its tiny inside. No redeeming features beyond looking funky and high driving position.

And that is what this car delivers - looks great on the school run, lots of feelgood factor from a respected premium brand and that compact yet high up format.

It's perfectly aimed at the target market, it's going to sell like hot cakes to Surrey mummies, and China and the developing markets will love it.

The fact it's not a "sports" car is completely secondary to its intended use.