If you want to buy an SUV then you should instead go out and whip yourself with chains, wear a hair shirt, and learn to crawl in penance.
That’s how you may feel if you read about the recent report from the International Energy Agency, which claimed the world population of SUVs had a fourfold growth in emissions in just eight years, ranking seventh in the world for carbon emissions if they were a nation.
Campaign group Transport & Environment claimed that part of the average rise in mass by 10 per cent of new cars between 2000 and 2016 could be due to a trend towards SUVs, heavier automatic and dual clutch transmissions, and the inclusion of equipment such as cameras and sensors. A spokesperson said the global shift towards bigger cars had been observed for some time.
All this was in the paper the week before the Jaguar E-Pace arrived for road test. We rushed outside and beat our naked bodies with the thorniest bramble whips we could find until the neighbours begged us to stop – largely because, with us now aged 67, it was not the prettiest spectacle! Naturally, we jest, because we no doubt possess some neighbours who might have wanted to help inflict the pain!
Anyway, despite the eminence of those making the report and commenting upon it, there are many reasons why the mass of cars grew so much over 16 years, much of it to do with safety laws demanding better crush zones and pedestrian collision protection, plus loads of emissions equipment adding weight and wheeze to exacerbate the problem it’s trying to eliminate.
Annette’s late Dad had a 'good' idea to make cars safer, stripping out lots of weight. Make them of material like eggshell and take out the seatbelts he suggested, never mind those new-fangled airbags. Drivers would feel so vulnerable they would crawl everywhere in fear for their lives.
Of course it’s real that SUVs have grown in popularity. People like them because they are easier to get into and tend to have a bigger interior volume than ordinary hatchbacks and the baby Jaguar SUV is a ready illustration of that. Hip height seats, plenty of space inside, and quality production from a maker that has been seriously reducing the weight of its SUVs, which lead the world in ability, all add to the Jag’s appeal. It may not look like a traditional Jag but then the Nissan Qashqai doesn’t look like the bland Almera hatch and Primera saloon that it replaced, either.
A good thing about the E-Pace is that it didn’t have a diesel engine. Instead there were 200 petrol-powered horses coming from the two litre engine, driving all four wheels through an automatic gearbox – possibly heavier than a manual but decidedly more fuel efficient if left to its own devices. And the permanent 4x4 certainly gave the grip demanded for safe travel in poor conditions.
In R-Dynamic S trim the car would have cost £40,630 on the road although it was loaded with many extras to demonstrate all that’s possible. The wonders of the touch screen, and especially the satellite navigation, were easily mastered by our 10 year old granddaughter although she also found her way round the radio so that Heart FM and the electronic navigator were shouting to be heard over each other! We didn’t give her an icy blast for playing about – she kept accidentally putting the air con on full blast cooling by leaning on the button so it did the job for us!
That two litre engine from the Ingenium family, shared across Jaguar and Land Rover products, is a delight to drive behind – powerful, perhaps marred only by a throttle response that seems too sharp until you have adjusted to its keenness.
Like many a Jag, the E-Pace eagerly volunteers to get you into all sorts of trouble with the traffic cops but as we don’t live anywhere near where they get filmed for Channel 5 documentaries we thankfully don’t see many of them!
Hitting the loud pedal too hard can hit your pocket at the pumps but its 31 mpg average is fair considering what the car brings to journey enjoyment. It does far better than the classic Jags of yesteryear everyone raves about and doesn’t need five star fuel!
Car: Jaguar E-Pace 200PS Petrol R-Dynamic S Automatic AWD
Does it fit your ego...
0-62 mph: 8.2 secs
Top speed: 134 mph
PS: 200 @ 5,500 rpm
Torque: 320 Nm @ 1,250 rpm
...and your wallet...
Combined: 35.3 mpg
CO2 emissions: 182 g/km
Best bits: smooth operator in crowded world