E-PACE Impresses while Jaguar Evolves, says MotorWeek

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Jaguar’s sportier R-Dynamic E-PACE is put to the test.

Jaguar isn’t selling out by making an E-PACE. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to actually find a better vehicle to attract new Jaguar buyers to a Jaguar showroom. Peeking under the body panels, you’d even be hard pressed to find that it is based on the same platform of the Land Rover Evoque. So even though it undercuts the F-PACE, the E-PACE stands on its own as a solid model.

MotorWeek’s Jonathan Davis had a chance to see what the sporty R-Dynamic edition could offer in a small Jaguar crossover. Don’t think of it as flimsy, though. With that Evoque base under it, Davis points out the small SUV “is actually heavier than the mostly-aluminum mid-size F-PACE.” While that might be bad in some regards like performance, it does make the R-Dynamic feel solid.

Jaguar E-Pace R Dynamic review

Land Rover roots also mean the Jaguar is unexpectedly good off-road. It’s not a Range Rover by any means, but the all-wheel drive system can split power to just one rear wheel if all others have found their limit of adhesion.

Jaguar E-Pace R Dynamic review

Two motors are available. “Base models get a 2.0 turbo with 246 horsepower, but our R-Dynamic dons 296 horsepower and 295 lb/ft of torque,” Davis points out. Combined with the Jaguar’s extra heft, performance suffers. “There’s solid grip at launch, but power is slow to arrive,” adds Davis. “We reached 60 miles per hour in 6.9 seconds.” At least the handling redeems the Jaguar’s sporty nature.

Jaguar E-Pace R Dynamic review

In reality though, the E-PACE enters the Jaguar lineup at a transitional time not only for Jaguar, but for the whole entire auto industry. Jaguar’s introduction of the I-PACE, and their promotional push for it via motorsports almost leaves a small SUV like the E-PACE R-Dynamic out to fend for itself. Could Jaguar add some excitement with an SVR version? Anything is possible, but it’s unlikely, for the time being. For now we’ll enjoy the E-PACE while Jaguar while its here.

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Patrick Morgan is an instructor at Chicago's Autobahn Country Club and contributes to a number of Auto sites, including MB World and 6SpeedOnline.

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