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Volvo XC40 VS Jaguar E Pace

Volvo XC40 VS Jaguar E Pace

Straight off the bat, the all new Volvo XC40 and Jaguar E Pace are exquisite cars. Both are their respective firm’s first foray into the uber competitive small luxury SUV market, and I was given the opportunity to put them both to the test.

Volvo XC40 VS Jaguar E Pace

 

Volvo XC40

Following the flagship XC90 and mid -range XC60, the all-new smaller XC40 carries Volvo’s fluidic design philosophy to great effect. Styling cues like the LED headlights with Thor’s Hammer-like detailing and reverse L-shaped rear light cluster are totally unique and its square-jawed stance definitely looks the business.
The range is powered by a 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder engine with 140kW/300Nm, though the range topping T5’s power is boosted to 180kW/350Nm. The XC40 T5 R-Design featured here comes with 20-inch alloy wheels, a unique R-Design grille, LED headlights, sunroof, keyless entry and ignition, leather and nubuck upholstery, R-Design treatment on steering wheel, pedals and gear selector as well as heated front seats, Harman Kardon premium sound system and a nine-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, digital radio and navigation.
Select Dynamic mode and everything tightens up, which means you have greater throttle response and shaper turn in.
Many cars have a ‘sport’ mode feature of some sort, but with the XC40, it completely transforms the driving experience. In fact, it feels more like a hot hatchback than small SUV, quite an accomplishment in itself. The only trade-off is, thanks to the R-Design package, the ride is not as smooth as it ought to be.

 

Jaguar E Pace

The Jaguar E-Pace is the baby SUV of Jaguar’s pride, shown brilliantly by the Jaguar cub door mirror courtesy light at night. Its bigger and extremely capable F-Pace sibling has been selling like hotcakes and the new E-Pace could easily repeat this trend on looks alone.
The planted stance and mesh front grille are iconic Jaguar and the rear three quarter mirrors its larger F-Pace counterpart; you would seldom find a better-looking car in this segment. Choose from a range of ‘Ingenium’ 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder engines, with two petrol and two diesels available.
Inside, Jaguar design attributes have been carried over to great effect. The layout is simple and intuitive, though the use of hard plastics is a tad disappointing. Standard features include Lane Keep Assist, 10-way electric seats, Sat Nav and Bluetooth connectivity, of course.
To drive the E-Pace is very much what you would expect from a Jaguar; comfortable, smooth and intuitive. Steering lacks in feel but still manages to be direct and responsive. Despite the sublime ride, the E-Pace does get a bit roly poly in the bends and feels heavy despite the size. The nine-speed automatic complements the power train well, offering crisp changes from gear to gear, and power delivery as a whole is refined and silky smooth.

Verdict

In summary, if you choose the Jaguar E-Pace over the Volvo XC40 – bravo. It rides better and is even slightly better looking, but the Volvo would be my pick thanks to marginally better dynamics and a more involved drive. They are marginal differences though, so whichever you pick, you won’t be disappointed.

The all new PEUGEOT 5008

A well thought out package: Peugeot’s 5008 review

Flushed with the success from its European Car of the Year winning 3008 soft-roader, Peugeot has decided to revisit that winning formula and give its slightly bigger 5008 the same treatment – and it seems to have pulled it off.

The all new PEUGEOT 5008
The all new PEUGEOT 5008

The 5008 boasts more space inside and thanks to two more foldaway rear seats, you have a fully-fledged seven-seater. That said, the new 5008 is pretty much identical in style, whether inside or out, to its slightly smaller 3008 counterpart, and that isn’t exactly a bad thing.
Two levels of trim are on offer, the Allure and sportier looking GT, with prices starting at $47,990 for the Allure discussed here. The 5008 features the same engines as the 3008, with both petrol and diesel available. The 1.6 litre petrol in our test car produces 120kW of grunt and will return a combined fuel figure of 7.3L/100km respectively. Despite being front wheel drive only, the 5008 contains five driving modes, normal, mud, sand, snow and ESP off; all of which tailor the engine’s power output to suit the conditions.
The interior is easily one of the 5008’s best features. I loved it for its quality touches, complemented by futuristic angles and layout. One could easily see James Kirk doing the school run in one of these. All models get an easy to use touch screen infotainment system coupled with Apple Carplay, Android Auto, 3D Sat Nav, Dual Zone Climate Control, Blind Spot Detection and Keyless Start as standard kit, plus the 12 inch HD driver display and its features are clear and concise.
Inside there are oodles of nooks and crannies for storage, including compartments under the rear passenger foot well. Plus, the extra rear seats can be stored away or removed completely, giving you a whopping 780 litres of boot space.
Front and rear, the seats themselves offer plenty of lateral support without sacrificing comfort and the extra length in the wheel base over the 3008, 4641mm, means the 5008 has more space for you to slob out. Head and legroom front and rear is generous even, believe it or not, for the extra seats in the rear.
On the move and with la petite steering wheel in your mitts, you would be forgiven in thinking you were driving a hot hatchback, rather than a seven seater SUV. Steering is nicely weighted and quite responsive, whether in town or on your way to Akaroa, though not what you would normally expect from a car in this class.
It’s on the open road where the 5008 really shines with excellent ride comfort and the eager 1.6 litre petrol engine pulls well. Not the USS Enterprise by any means, but commendable performance for a big car nonetheless.
Though not for everyone, the new 5008 gives you willing engines, superb comfort and tonnes of space for lugging things about. All in all, a well thought-out package which complements its award winning younger sibling perfectly.