Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Second of two Jags has huge crossover appeal

Second of two Jags has huge crossover appeal

TOP politicians have down the years revelled in trademark props that they believe have given them an edge in public life.

There was Winston Churchill’s cigar, Harold Wilson’s pipe and Margaret Thatcher’s handbag. Now we have Mrs May’s famous kitten-heel shoes.

John Prescott, one of a bulldog breed of politicians, was famous for using two ministerial cars, which were both Jaguars (though actually, one was his own).

But the sobriquet “Two Jags” Prescott — which apparently he was not over-fond of — stuck in the tabloids. And in successive weeks, I cannot resist telling you my own tale of two Jags.

Last week it was the turn of the Jaguar I-Pace, the startlingly good all-electric Jaguar SUV (sport utility vehicle). This week I have been driving its stablemate SUV, the Jaguar E-Pace.

You could be forgiven for confusing the two — I almost did to begin with. The difference of course is principally in the powertrain — one runs on a battery and the Jaguar E-Pace I have been driving this week sported a punchy two-litre petrol engine.

Interestingly enough, because the I-Pace is electric, torque (pulling power) is instant and so is take-off.

The engine on the E-Pace — the Ingenium two-litre four-cylinder 200PS turbocharged petrol engine — I found displayed the briefest of moment’s hesitation in take off.

This may have been down to the turbo, I don’t know. And it was fine once you had got used to driving the car.

People often believe electric cars are slow to go, which is in fact the opposite of the truth where acceleration is immediate.

Having said that, the Jaguar
E-Pace is a consummately satisfactory car to drive. I was lucky on one trip to have a greatly varied route. This meant I was able to take the E-Pace across country on challenging B-roads around White Horse Hill in Oxfordshire.

Then it was on to the A34 heading south, which, as many of you will know, is a fast dual carriageway where care and attention to driving is especially critical.

Next came a long run into central London with all the varied challenges that can present to any car or driver.

The Jaguar E-Pace gave us a splendidly comfortable drive on the motorway, the ride firm and in no way harsh. Once we were engulfed by London traffic — shutting the Piccadilly underpass didn’t help — the nine-speed automatic transmission did its job well.

It was helped economy-wise by stop-start technology, part of the comprehensive standard specification on this car.

The I-Pace has attracted plaudits from every corner of the motoring world and the E-Pace has been equally welcomed.

The latter achieved strong sales in a tough segment and won a string of awards, including being named Top Gear magazine’s 2017 Crossover of the Year.

Updates since have included self-learning Smart Settings technology, an Adaptive Dynamics suspension set-up and the efficient 200PS petrol engine already mentioned.

The E-Pace’s Smart Settings technology, which debuted on the electric I-Pace, “learns” the driver’s habits and anticipates his or her needs in order to make driving easier.

The E-Pace recognises the approaching driver, based on both a key fob and smartphone Bluetooth signal. The vehicle will then adjust the seat, climate and infotainment system based on the driver’s normal preferences.

Over time, algorithms tailor settings based on time, location, weather and behaviour patterns — for example, pre-heating the steering wheel and seats on a cold day, or changing the media source on a particular day of the week or time of day. Up to eight profiles can be set up on the E-Pace.

The Intelligent Phone Reminder function also tells the driver if he or she forgets their smartphone, while the Predictive Call List learns patterns of phone use to cue up popular contacts at the appropriate time.

Smart Settings feature as part of the Connect Pro Pack, which also consists of a 4G Wi-Fi Hotspot, Pro Services and Navigation Pro — offering real-time traffic information, door-to-door routing from your smartphone, street view and parking availability.

On the strength of my I-Pace review last week, electric cars at present seem to be the trend. Meanwhile, the Jaguar E-Pace with its smart technology and petrol-turbo engine does an admirable job.

Review: Nigel Wigmore

Factfile

Jaguar E-Pace 200PS Petrol R-Dynamic SE

Automatic AWD

Price from: £40,000 on the road

Colour: Borasco Grey (£615)

20in five-split-spoke style 5051 wheels with Gloss Black Finish (£1,550)

Light Oyster and Ebony Interior — no cost option

Standard specification includes:

Twin tailpipes

Automatic LED headlights

Eight-way manual front seats

Stop/Start

Power sockets — four 12V power and two USB data and charge

Motoring

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