Jaguar E-Pace 2018 review
The E-Pace is a new Jaguar, or is it? Jaguars used to be something your boss drove, cars with a whiff of snob about them, as well as subtle scents of cigar, whisky, mahogany and Old Spice.
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The Range Rover Evoque feels like it has been around forever. And it sort of has, if you count back to the 2008 Land Rover LRX concept car, which previewed the company's new design and marketing direction. Ten years on, and seven years after the launch of the road car, the Evoque still looks pretty and fresh.
The Indian-owned British company hasn't taken it easy, though. The Evoque has progressively been tweaked over the years and for the MY18 model year, the transition from Ford engines is complete. Jaguar Land Rover's Ingenium engines now take pride of place under the bonnet, so we grabbed the top-spec HSE with the top-spec engine to see if the baby Rangie can still cut it.
|Land Rover Range Rover Evoque 2018: Si4 (213kW) HSE DYNAMIC|
|Engine Type||2.0L turbo|
|Fuel Type||Premium Unleaded Petrol|
'Iconic' is bandied about a fair bit, but the Evoque definitely fits the bill. Few cars are as recognisable or as desirable as the Evoque's trend-setting lines. Even if you don't think it pretty, it's striking. It's also unusually cool in the (optional) 'Yulong White' - many of the options on the extraordinarily long list are to add to the car's styling. The Black Pack does look terrific, as do the 20-inch black alloys, which clearly work well against the angular look of the car.
I used to think that the three-door was the better looker, but I've come around to the better proportions of the five-door, the way the roof appears to fall to meet the tailgate, the big-wheel-friendly chunkiness and that front end with the LED daytime running lights still looks as fresh as the day it was born, tempered slightly by the recent arrival of the Velar.
Inside is more conventional and very familiar to the Land Rover/Range Rover-ista. It all works well, even if the rotary dial for the gear selector makes things a bit awkward in a three-point turn. It looks solid, dependable and most of it feels good.
Interior space is surprisingly good for what is effectively a compact SUV. The front-seat passengers have plenty of room in all directions while two rear seat passengers who aren't NBA stars will be perfectly happy. The third, middle row won't be, although the vents will keep their feet from sweating.
The boot is an impressive 575 litres with the seats up and 1445 with everything folded. The loading lip is quite high, though, and although the seats fold, the load area isn't flat.
The turning circle is a lazy 11.38 metres.
Off-road, you can wade up to 500mm, you have clearance of 211mm, an approach angle of 17.8 degrees, departure of 30 degrees and breakover of 22 degrees.
This particular specification is weighed down with the name Range Rover Evoque HSE Dynamic 290PS. Being a Range Rover, the HSE's opening figure isn't a shy one - $93,568 grants you entry to the 213kW turbo petrol. There is a lot of stuff in it, but by the same token, for the money it's missing some features, too.
For that price you get 19-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, reversing camera, keyless entry and start, front and rear parking sensors, cruise control, hill descent control, electric heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, bi-xenon headlights, head-up display, leather trim, electric tailgate, powered and heated folding mirrors, auto wipers and headlights and a space-saver spare.
The 11-speaker stereo has the usual Bluetooth, USB and also a DVD player. That little lot is controlled from JLR's ever-evolving 'InControl' media system on a 10-inch touchscreen. The sat nav is a bit thick (still) and takes a while to recognise inputs, while the lack of Apple CarPlay/Android Auto continues to grate.
Our car had a liberal sprinkling of options - 'Black Pack' with 20-inch alloys ($6360), 'Advanced Driver Assist Pack' (includes auto parking, around-view cameras and *grinds teeth* blind spot monitor, $6080), 16-speaker Meridian-branded surround sound ($3010), adaptive cruise ($2740!), adaptive dynamics ($2530), fixed panoramic glass roof ($2460), metallic paint ($1910), 'Connect Pro Pack' ($1260), black roof ($1260), DAB ($940!), privacy glass ($820) and 'InControl Protect' ($640). Taking us to...$123,578. Youch.
I mean, come on - blind spot monitoring doesn't come standard on a $90k car? That's a bit stiff. On its own a whopping $1490, and nearly $1000 for DAB, is really pushing it.
The 290 in the model name refers to the (metric) horsepower number of JLR's own Ingenium four-cylinder turbo petrol. That means 213kW/400Nm (there's a 240 horsepower version for a hefty 10 grand less).
Power reaches all four wheels via ZF's nine-speed automatic and, being a Rangie, it comes with all sorts of off-road cleverness to ensure you don't end up stuck in a rut... or sand... or mud... or snow. Flatten the throttle from rest and you'll be at 100km/h in a swift 6.3 seconds (as long as there's no snow, or mud, etc).
Towing fans will note a rating of 1800kg for a braked trailer and 750kg for unbraked.
The windscreen sticker says 7.6L/100km of 95RON or better, but that doesn't ever seem likely on the combined cycle. Our week of suburban running with bursts of highway yielded an average of 11.3L/100km. The Evoque is chubby for its size, which explains its relative thirst.
In its likely environment - the suburbs - the Evoque is impressive. Even on the big, optional 20-inch tyres (albeit with the dynamic dampers), the car rides firmly but with good compliance over the bumps. To my ears, the Evoque has become quieter over the years, which is partly down to the new engine, while further advances in sound-deadening have also helped.
The steering is light and sensible in 'Standard' mode and weights up probably a touch too much when you switch to 'Dynamic', via the console-mounted switch. I like kicking around in Dynamic with the stiffer suspension and slightly more responsive throttle.
Perhaps less optimally, I also found myself switching to 'Sport' mode on the transmission. The nine-speed has a habit of being a little ponderous, which may be something to do with the switch from the old Ford-powered car I drove a few year ago. My wife complained that the transmission was clunky but agreed it improved in Sport mode, while expressing her disappointment that it didn't drive as well as she had remembered. She's hard, but fair.
If you're a bit of a hooligan like me, this 290-spec engine is strong and torquey and with everything turned up to Dynamic and Sport, very good fun and a potent weapon in traffic. With the nine-speed more concerned with performance than fuel-saving in D, S turns the tables and gets you moving at a rapid rate. Get too ambitious, though, and understeer sets in, with the weight of the car inescapable.
At cruising speed, the Evoque is genuinely lovely and very well-suited to long journeys and with that huge optional panoramic roof, a light and airy space that feels huge.
3 years / 100,000 km warranty
ANCAP Safety Rating
Additional safety gubbins are available with the aforementioned Advanced Driver Assist Pack.
You can anchor three child seats with the top-tether points or two with the dual outboard ISOFIX anchors.
The standard warranty of three years/100,000km applies, with three years roadside assist. Service intervals are set at 12 months or a scarcely believable 26,000km, whichever comes first.
You can extend the warranty at purchase and pre-purchase five years/130,000km of servicing for $1500, which seems fairly reasonable.
|Sd4 (177kW) HSE||2.0L, Diesel, 9 SP AUTO||$74,140 – 85,250||2018 LAND ROVER RANGE ROVER EVOQUE 2018 Sd4 (177kW) HSE Pricing and Specs|
|Sd4 (177kW) HSE DYNAMIC||2.0L, Diesel, 9 SP AUTO||$78,540 – 90,310||2018 LAND ROVER RANGE ROVER EVOQUE 2018 Sd4 (177kW) HSE DYNAMIC Pricing and Specs|
|Sd4 (177kW) SE||2.0L, Diesel, 9 SP AUTO||$69,990 – 72,990||2018 LAND ROVER RANGE ROVER EVOQUE 2018 Sd4 (177kW) SE Pricing and Specs|
|Sd4 (177kW) SE DYNAMIC||2.0L, Diesel, 9 SP AUTO||$67,870 – 77,990||2018 LAND ROVER RANGE ROVER EVOQUE 2018 Sd4 (177kW) SE DYNAMIC Pricing and Specs|
|Price and features||7|
|Engine & trans||8|
“I do find the standard specification list a bit weird but there's no denying it's well-equipped and it's not like they play pin-the-tail-on-the-spec-sheet at JLR HQ - this is a company that has worked out what buyers want. It's still great to drive (especially with the new engine), still looks utterly brilliant and is oddly practical.”
Is the Rangie still in your good books? Or has the increasing competition shouldered it aside?