Photos by Atif Kazmi for Por Homme
Roughly 300,000 people live on the French island of Corsica but millions flock to the destination during the peak summer months. Accessing the island can be done pretty swiftly by flying into one of the four airports and with the French Riviera 170 km away and the Tuscan coast just 70 km, coming in via sea is an easy option as well. And why wouldn’t you want to be here? It gets more than 2,700 hours of sunshine a year with temperatures averaging 79° in the summer. It’s got a diverse landscape with a thousand beaches, coves, granite cliffs, and more.
This was the backdrop for testing driving the all-new Jaguar E-PACE, a compact SUV that, in the looks department alone, seems to be punching above its weight class. And with driving the main goal here in Corsica, the beautiful island’s roads made for the perfect testing grounds. Now, Tour de Corse might be all I need to say but for those not familiar, the rally race is one of the most challenging and pushes some of the world’s best drivers to their limits with relentless turn after relentless. And even for our modest drives — when compared to Tour de Corse that is — we clocked in over 200 turns and saw what the Jaguar E-PACE is made of in the process.
The E-PACE isn’t a shrunken F-PACE. It takes more inspiration from Jaguar’s F-TYPE sports car and that shows in not only the E-PACE’s design language but in the way it’s able to handle any bend you throw it. Its resemblance to the F-TYPE can be seen in the front grille, its sharp creases in the front fenders, the slim taillamps and even in the rear quarter panels’ muscularity.
When comparing to other manufacturer lineups, it’s safe to say Jaguar’s might be one of the smallest. And within the short list, the E-PACE is their smallest SUV, and has been dubbed the “Cub” because of it. But compare it to the competition and numbers don’t lie. The E-PACE is wider, roomier on the inside, and we’re still waiting for a crossover SUV its size to take on the off-road the way this cub does.
Good (see: fun) things really do come in small packages and inside this one, we’ve got a clean, modern design that has character and all the amenities we’ve come to expect (and then some). The Jaguar E-PACE features a 10-inch Touch Pro tablet that powers everything from the music to the navi. If you already ditched the Home button on your iPhone and want as few of those switches as possible, then level up and go for the optional 12.3-inch TFT panel that drops all the analogue instruments for a completely touchscreen experience. A powerful Meridian sound system sets the mood while there are plenty of USB ports throughout the vehicle to help you stay connected.
You’ll want it in your garage, you’ll want it getting pampered at the local car wash, and you’ll definitely want it waiting for you in the valet lane at your favorite restaurant. At Porto-Vecchio’s Hôtel Casadelmar one morning, we were greeted by a freshly-cleaned line of them as if we hadn’t just spent the previous day ravaging through small-town roads throughout the island looking for something not to like about the E-PACE.
And speaking of things to like about the E-PACE, Jaguar’s priced this at just $38,600 to start, leaving it quite accessible and you without an excuse not to get it. Check out more looks at it in the gallery up top and look for the Jaguar E-PACE at your local Jaguar showroom in the weeks ahead.
Interior images courtesy of Jaguar