NOW this is a little confusing.
Jag’s baby SUV is called E-Pace but the “E” does not mean it is electric. That’s the I-Pace.
E-Pace is petrol and diesel only, using “Ingenium” internal combustion engines.
So why isn’t E-Pace called I-Pace and I-Pace called E-Pace?
Because that would be far too obvious.
The big suits at Jag think they’re being clever by aligning E-Pace with the XE saloon in its sizing charts, followed by F-Pace and XF in the middle, and topped by the big-daddy J-Pace and XJ, both coming soon.
Hmmm. That might work in the boardroom, me old fruit, but E means electric to the rest of us. Thankfully, the power outputs are dead easy to understand with D150 meaning 150hp diesel and P250 for 250hp petrol, and so on.
But then it gets all mushy again with the trim levels.
The basic £29,000 E-Pace has no letters after its name, no nothing.
It’s also front-wheel drive and manual and best avoided, so let’s gloss over that.
Further up the ladder — depending on engine choice — there’s S, SE, HSE, body-kitted R-Dynamic, as well as R-Dynamic S, SE and HSE.
Still with me? Good.
Because somewhere in between all that sits the new Chequered Flag edition which you see here.
It’s a handsome thing, handles sweetly and has a lush interior that’ll make you want to sign on the dotted line immediately — until you double-check the price. Jeez, it’s expensive for a crossover.
My D180 test car (yep, 180hp diesel, you learn fast) costs a whisker under £41,000 standard and was loaded with another six grand of kit.
What? No thanks, mate. I’d rather have a Volvo XC40 and a holiday. Or a Range Rover Evoque. Or more likely a brand-spanking Porsche Cayman and take the kids to school one at a time.
I’d also expect way more detailing than just Chequered Flag badges on the side vents and treadplates and a bit of red stitching. There’s understated and then there’s underwhelming.
I repeat, the E-Pace is a fantastic car and I’m sure thousands of customers are very happy with theirs but it is very spec dependent.
The D180 R-Dynamic at £35,000 is the sweet spot. It doesn’t cost much more than a fully-loaded Ford Kuga Vignale or a Nissan Qashqai and you know which one will impress the neighbours most.
The D180 is all-wheel drive with a smooth nine-speed auto and has the best balance between performance and efficiency, returning 40mpg.
As well as all the kit you need: 10in touchscreen with reversing camera, cruise control, USBs in a huge cubby hole under the central armrest, and lots of seat and steering wheel adjustment to get comfy.
Praise also for the unashamed F-Type styling — most notably the wraparound grab handle dash, sports gear stick and chunky flappy paddles.
But it’s not all gravy. Car firms spend squilions trying to make cabins an oasis of calm with sound-deadening materials and acoustic glass and so on but Jag forgot to line the big door pockets with some non-slip rubber to stop your stuff rattling about like a skeleton pleasuring himself in a filing cupboard. It cheapens things a little.
Hello? I’m not driving a Nissan Qashqai. This is a Jaaag. A Jaguar I-Pace. Sorry, I meant E-Pace.
BRAKING NEWS WITH RACHEL BURGESS
- WE’VE been talking about a Mazda RX-8 successor for years, and now there’s signs it’s on the cards. Mazda bosses told us that the reintroduction of a rotary engine for hybrid models means there’s a much stronger business case to use the rotary engine in a sports car. Hoorah.
- AN unlikely tie-up this week: Aston Martin, in association with British Airways, has created a DBS Superleggera special edition to celebrate Concorde’s 50th. Unfortunately, the top speed of 211mph is some way off Mach 2.
- AS if Bentleys weren’t pricey enough, Crewe HQ is readying a £1.5million ultra-exclusive open-top sports tourer, using the 6-litre W12 found in the Continental GT. The limited edition model, to arrive in 2021 if approved, takes cues from the EXP 100 GT concept, revealed in July for Bentley’s 100th anniversary.
- TURNING retro models electric is a fast-growing trend. The latest is a VW Type 2 Microbus fitted with the e-Golf’s 134bhp powertrain by VW America. The move is intended to inspire the electrification of classic VWs.
- DO you have a bright idea that could help the car industry? Autocar’s new competition, Drivers of Change, seeks to promote fresh talent in the areas of digital, retail and technology, and you can win £5,000. Enter here: autocar.co.uk/driversofchange
- Rachel is deputy editor at Autocar magazine