Jaguar made a baby F-Pace, and they’re calling it their cub, the E-Pace. In fact, the premium compact SUV has a bunch of Easter eggs and one of them is a Jaguar with a cub on the windscreen. It’s super cute! Jaguar are hoping to draw in a younger audience with this compact SUV.

You may have read about the F-Pace right here on Wired to the Web, if not take a quick look here. I absolutely loved the cool tech features inside it, and the good news is that most of it is carried over on the E-Pace.

Jaguar South Africa tells us that their three main focus areas on the E-Pace is design, performance, and technology. I love the look of the car, it’s kinda aggressive, although Jaguar says it’s meant to be “confident and assertive, but not aggressive”. I love that it looks badass, especially the front lights. The grille is large and the badge is apparently the largest on a Jaguar if I recall correctly. Not a big of fan of big flashy badges but I didn’t take much notice of its size. The car comes in 11 different paint options, with a specific Caldera Red in the first edition only.

In terms of performance, you can expect it to do 0-100km/h in 6.4 seconds. The E-Pace is an all-wheel-drive vehicle featuring four driving modes suited to whatever conditions you may find yourself in: normal, dynamic, ECO, and Rain, Ice and Snow.

I drove a first edition at launch on Tuesday, it was a 2L P250 (183kW) in automatic, and the other one I drove was the 2L D240 (177kW). Out of the two, I preferred the petrol engine, it had more kick, and felt punchy. We drove in typical Johannesburg conditions: in traffic, casually, through a game reserve, through the rain, experiencing regular drivers you normally would, when you’re not driving through a mountain like other launches. I know I may be in the minority here when I say this but I loved how real the conditions were. Like a typical Johannesburg day, along with traffic back to the airport. So essentially we covered and experienced what anyone who’d want to buy and drive this car.

I loved the interiors, it’s what you’d expect from a Jaguar in terms of finish; so luxurious. The tech inside is what I’ve experienced on F-Pace, so you can get the bigger InControl Touch Pro as an extra, along with fast USB ports, hard drive on-board, SIM card slot that becomes a WiFi hotspot and additionally, each of the 5 passengers get their own USB port.

The water bottle holder has an attachment that you can block it if you want to rather put stuff in that slot; clever design.

The one design element that that didn’t work for me, and I’m well aware it’s a compact car, were the small windows on the front doors. When I had to check my blind spot, I felt that the bars separating the front and back were directly in my line of vision so I had to tilt back to look further behind before turning. It just felt weird and unnatural.

In terms of using the navigation at launch, at times the audio didn’t feed through and we had to restart everything. As you probably know though, I’m not the biggest fan of navigation in a car – I prefer the good old Google Maps and feeding that audio over Bluetooth whenever I’m driving. Nevertheless, after a few niggles, it worked fine.

I loved the head-up display, comes in handy for navigation. But most of the fancier tech are all optional extras. Navigation is only optional on the base model but standard on the rest. The instrument cluster also shows you navigation if you want, and sometimes its useful when it tells you which lane you need to be on, especially if you’re turning and only one of them is the turning lane. I found this helpful during the launch drive.

Overall, the E-Pace is one of the more affordable Jaguar’s you can own, with prices starting at R598 500, all the to just under a R1m.

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