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Jaguar turned heads when it entered the world of premium SUVs with the introduction of the mid-size F-PACE in 2016 - considered by James Cleary, Deputy Editor of CarsGuide, to be “a beautifully composed five-seater”. Now, with the addition of the compact E-PACE to their SUV stable, Cleary reviews the Chequered Flag P250 grade to see how it compares to its larger sibling and the tough competition from Europe and Japan.


Cleary figures once a vehicle surpasses the $60k mark you should expect a lengthy list of standard features, and the top grade Chequered Flag doesn’t disappoint. A fixed panoramic glass sunroof, grained leather seat trim with contrast stitching, 10-way adjustable heated electric sports front seats, dual-zone climate control, and a 10-inch ‘Touch Pro’ multimedia screen are just some of the high-end features you’ll find inside this well-equipped vehicle.

Outside, a ‘Black Exterior Pack’, 19-inch alloy wheels, heated and power-folding door mirrors with approach lights, auto LED headlights, and a power tailgate are all standard inclusions. And while Cleary notes “the Jaguar E-PACE options list is stuffed with individual features and packs...the standard fit-out delivers good value in terms of the asking price and category competition.”


The E-PACE will be one of the last cars to take shape under Jaguar’s renowned design director Ian Callum, who Cleary notes “evolved the brand’s look and feel from traditional and conservative, to cool and contemporary, without throwing the heritage baby out with the new design bath water”.

He recognises Jaguar’s distinctive design template in the E-PACE, “set in place by breakthrough models like the F-Type sports car, and larger F-PACE SUV”. Dramatic design elements like the Chequered Flag’s dark mesh grille and long tapered LED headlights receive praise for creating a “a recognisably feline face, with dark accenting on the fender grilles and window surrounds adding an extra air of intensity”. The coupe-style roofline, tapered glass and broad haunches complete the eye-catching picture and accentuate the E-PACE’s dynamic look.

Inside, the cabin feels both cozy and spacious at the same time, “with the steeply sloping dash and centre console increasing the feeling of space, yet keeping key controls and storage options within easy reach”. In the driver’s seat there’s ample leg, shoulder and headroom, while accommodation for those seated in the back is also given Cleary’s stamp of approval.


While the E-PACE ticks all the design boxes for Cleary, how does it perform on the road? Equipped with a 2.0-litre twin-scroll turbo-petrol engine, it accelerates from 0-100km/h in a brisk 7.1 seconds. The transmission’s adaptive shift system works well at reading the way you’re driving to tailor its behaviour accordingly, but for Cleary “shifting gears manually via the wheel-mounted paddles adds to the fun and accuracy”.

A well-engineered set-up delivers cushy suspension and is tuned to cope with a range of conditions. Four drive modes are offered - ‘Normal’, ‘Dynamic’, ‘Eco’ and ‘Rain/Ice/Snow’ - which adjust inputs like the steering, throttle response, transmission shifts, stability control, torque vectoring, and AWD system. For Cleary “dynamic is the sweet spot, buttoning everything down just a little tighter, without any major effect on refinement, the car remaining quiet and composed even when driver enthusiasm starts to take the upper hand.”


After putting the Chequered Flag P250 through its paces, Cleary concludes that it’s “a compact, polished premium SUV package. Good value, super safe and spacious, it combines brilliant practicality with comfort and healthy performance...for those who don’t want to skimp on the luxury experience, it’s a compelling option in a highly competitive category”.

Discover more about Jaguar’s first compact SUV and find out for yourself why James Cleary rates the E-PACE Chequered Flag P250 so highly.