As I head to pick up this month’s test drive, I have no idea what model of car I’m going to be driving; I know it is a Jaguar, that’s it, and I’m already excited.
I have been a Jaguar fan for many years. There is just something about this mark that exudes an air of class. The classic saloons, their popularity among successful business people and senior politicians… I have been driven in many, ensconced in luxury that would befit any lounge, but I have only actually driven a Jag myself one time, that was ten years ago, and I’m keen to see what innovations the luxury car maker has added in the last decade.
R Means Quick
It’s the Jaguar E PACE I get keys to, which the makers are pitching as a “compact SUV”. But am not feeling the “compact” when I get behind the wheel and start to make my way through the array of controls and comforts at my fingertips.
The cluster of dials ahead of me lights up in more ways than a Christmas tree: a couple of flicks of different navigation buttons gets the driver information display in English, and a couple more gets the central entertainment console telling me what I need to know in Latin script, so I’m ready to go.
One of the most mind-boggling features of Ukrainian highways is the 180 turn that happens out of the fast lane, and across the direction of on-coming traffic. It really is nuts. In other countries there’s an off ramp from the slow lane and then a nice calm roundabout and bridge to get you safely heading in the opposite direction when needed.
When you encounter this Ukrainian configuration you need to a) ensure that you’re moving into a safe slot, and b) make sure you move fast. It is at this point I remember that when Jaguar place the letter “R” on their cars it is to inform you that the model you are driving is quick, very very quick.
I am now safely onto the carriageway going in the right direction and, to be honest, I rather enjoyed that. I will be testing the loud pedal a little more in the coming days. Especially when I can combine a dab of the right foot with something like a nice curve.
Stunning from Every Angle
As I cruise down the highway, I am prompted to obey the road laws by the heads up display. Beaming up from the top of the dash there is a projection of two simple pieces of information: the speed you are going as well as the speed limit on the road on which you are travelling. Passing through different zones related to (former, back in the olden days, pre-revolution) traffic police stations and also relating to reduced limits because of pedestrian crossings (another uniquely dangerous feature of Ukrainian roads, how about a bridge? Seriously?!), the speed limit side of the projected display updates and informs immediately, by some manner of witchcraft or trickery. I admit now to childishly wondering whether this display can only be seen by the driver and craning my head over to the right to see if it’s invisible to any passengers.
Arriving home faster than I wanted (not by law breaking, but by just running out of miles to travel) I leave the car parked for the night, and the next day find an excuse to go and drive it some more. In the day light, the bright red paint contrasting with the white snowy surroundings, the E PACE is stunning – beautiful from every angle, inside and out. And, ah yes, the interior. I can’t do it justice – you need to drive this car for yourself to get a true understanding of what that immaculate dark leather dashboard and impeccable red stitching looks like. The roof lining is not just luxurious, it too is a thing of beauty.
I have one single complaint, and that is right now I need to return this fantastic automobile. But – believe me, I shall be taking the long route back to the dealership. I may even find a country lane or two.
What’s On Rating:
Technology 5/5 Performance 5/5 Design 6/5
Stats for the Boys
- You get 500 lb/ft of torque
- You can go 0-60 in 7.4 seconds
- Top speed: 139 mph
Pros for the Girls
- The exterior design is beautiful
- The interior design is beautiful