Copywriter, technical writer, translator (FR>EN, ES>EN, IT>EN), journalist

A compact cat – the 2019 Jaguar E-Pace HSE

How many automakers consistently strive to elicit the image of their logos in the shape and performance of their products? The only name that comes readily to mind (at least to my mind) is Jaguar.

To manage this feat in their larger vehicles is an achievement I was able to appreciate during a week with the 2019 Jaguar E-Pace R-Dynamic HSE.

First impressions

My Fuji White tester managed a racy appearance even with the ground clearance it boasted. Maybe that’s in part because of the ground clearance, the 21” wheels taking the place of long legs supporting a squat cat in the form of muscular curves in the body panels. The optional “Black Pack” adds gloss black accents, most notably the grill and side vents, to set off the white paint. Optional red brake calipers on all four wheels match the interior of my tester (more on that shortly).

Note: much of what is mentioned in this review is optional on the E-Pace. For the sake of brevity, options won’t always be distinguished from standard equipment. Fortunately, Jaguar does price many options individually. See Jaguar’s website for more details.

Interior

The Mars Red leather interior pops out the window to meet the eye, and it’s even more stunning when you open the door. The only way Jaguar could have made this look even more rad was to clothe the steering wheel and shift lever in red leather as well. You missed an opportunity here, Jaguar (though this is still one appealing interior).

All four seats are heated, while the front two are also ventilated. The optional Cold Climate Pack adds a heated steering wheel to the comfort mix.

The fixed panoramic suroof (no, it does not open) lets in tons of light throughout the cabin. The glass on the roof is black, with matching gloss black roof rails.

Hockey bag test

The bag fits horizontally. Hauling a second bag would necessitate lowering a rear seat. Sticks slid easily enough over the rear seat.

In-cabin technology

While stuck in a lengthy traffic-light-induced conga line, I managed to go through many of the instrument cluster options. What struck me, outside of the comprehensive list of settings and displays, is the granular level of detail offered and the overall logical organization. From setting the right side mirror to tilt down when reversing to specific height adjustments for the heads-up display, each option seemed easy to find and, at most, three clicks from the main menu.

Perhaps it goes without saying that the 12.3” instrument cluster is entirely digital. Reasonably-sized tachometer and speedometer at either end of the display provide ample room for information on settings to vehicle performance to navigation information… in fact, you can have the tach and speedo disappear as a map takes over the entire width of the screen. Don’t worry – the above-mentioned heads-up display continues to show your speed. The display changes colour and coding when you switch out of Comfort drive mode and into Sport, Eco, or Rain/Snow/Ice.

The infotainment screen is sharp enough, but it suffers from a lack of physical controls. There’s an on/off/volume knob, but changing channels for satellite or regular radio took more attention than I wanted to devote to the task. A tuning knob, and perhaps a few dedicated buttons near the screen, would help. That was a shame, since the Meridian Surround sound system mastered every tune I played. Many of those, though, came through the more friendly Apple CarPlay interface.

Jaguar thoughtfully includes two USB ports in the centre storage cubby and three more for rear-seat passengers.

While not strictly in-cabin tech, this Jag ships with the optional Activity Key. That’s something of a misnomer – the Activity Key is a bracelet that resembles a fitness tracker. It enables drivers to unlock the E-Pace by nearing a specific spot on the vehicle with the bracelet. This means drivers can leave the key fob in the E-Pace, protecting it from damage as they go about their days.

Driving

The HSE features a 2.0L turbocharged inline 4-cylinder that sends 296 hp to all four wheels via a 9-speed automatic transmission. The whole setup is extraordinarily attentive to the merest movement of your foot on the accelerator. Put your foot down, and the Jag gives you a slight “Are you sure you want to do this?” pause before using its 295 lb-ft torque to sprint.

Yes, the steering wheel paddle shifters are there. However, I spent enough time in heavy traffic that I made more use of another technology – the adaptive cruise control system. It also proved  responsive at its job, slowing calmly as vehicles nipped in and out of the lane ahead of me and helping me stay calm on congested roads.

Fuel economy

Jaguar publishes a combined estimated 10.l L/100km (11.2 city, 8.6 highway). You might get better mileage using Eco drive mode and ensuring the engine stop/start feature is turned on so it might kill the engine (depending on load, like from air conditioning) at stop lights. The E-Pace takes premium fuel in its 68.5L tank.

Pricing

The base 2019 Jaguar E-Pace HSE lists at $58,500 MSRP. My tester, with options and charges, came to $71,340.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.