It’s been voted one of the most scenic roads in the world and for good reason too – Chapman’s Peak Drive will take your breath away every time you drive it. And that high praise can also be used to describe the Jaguar E-Pace too.
It’s all about the art of performance… for both the Jaguar and the drive. Chappies is a 9km drive with 114 curves that snake alongside the magnificent Atlantic Ocean from Hout Bay to Noordhoek.
With the mountain on one side of you and the pristine ocean – with a sheer drop – on the other, it makes for a nail-biting journey so keep both hands on the steering wheel and your eyes on the road.
And this is where the Jaguar E-Pace 300 Sport would fare exceptionally well – beside your set of eyes, the E-Pace features Jaguar’s ClearSight Interior Rear View Mirror which gives you an unobstructed view of the road behind you. And get this, there is added 3D Surround Camera technology for real-time viewing so you get a 360 degree view of any obstructions.
The E-Pace is more compact than it’s big brother the F-Pace, and is fully-loaded with features to steer your mind away from buying one of its competitors in the small SUV market.
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Jaguar is luxury. Quality Luxury. And this SUV is no exception.
Who is Chapman and why is the drive named after him? You’d expect that a place of such high significance would be named after someone important – not so in this case. John Chapman was the Captain’s Mate of an English ship called the Consent who was sent to get provisions for the crew and stumbled across the area. It was first named Chapman’s Chaunce, then later renamed Chapman’s Peak.
As you can imagine, when a road was carved out of the side of the rockface between 1915 and 1922, it was considered a groundbreaking engineering feat. The road cost ₤20 000 and took seven years to complete – and the views were as impressive then as they are now – but the quality of the drive … not so much.
No doubt, the Jaguar E-Pace could have handled the bumpy roads back then with it’s 9-speed automatic transmission and 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder petrol engine. The E-Pace is very responsive, the road noise is low, the comfort exceptional and there is very little to fault on this model.
As compared to the F-Pace, it is smaller in size, and is described as compact luxury SUV vs the F-Pace which is pure performance and high luxury. At the price of R1 057 940 for the Sport version, it ticks all the boxes and then some in its category.
- 20-inch five-spoke Diamond-turned with Black accent wheels
- premium LED headlights
- a powered tailgate
- keyless entry
- 12 way heated/cooling electric seats
- a Meridian sound system
- head up display
- electric driver memory front seats
- and blind spot monitoring
- 11.4-inch touchscreen
- Pivi Pro with embedded apps with full functionality even without a smartphone
- Connected features include Google and Microsoft Outlook calendar integration, enabling the driver to view work diaries and join calls through the hands-free system
- Fully functional steering wheel
- Cruise control
Some interesting facts on Chapman’s Peak Drive:
- When it was being constructed, there was no need for an environmental assessment. If there were it would have never been built because they hacked through pristine fynbos.
- Rockfalls, accidents, mudslides and fires plagued the stretch in the early days – this is one of the reasons why it was tolled. Maintenance is extensive and costly, hence the hefty toll fee.
- There is a 295kg bronze leopard statue at the start of Chappies in Hout Bay that pays tribute to the population of Cape wildlife that is no more.
- In 1988, Christopher White survived what became known as South Africa’s most famous road accident. The car he was driving plunged off Chapman’s Peak Drive onto the rocks 100m below.
I have enjoyed every minute of my time behind the wheel of this Jag – and find nothing to fault it on. Yes, it’s pricey but they are manufactured to hit the sweet spot between a car and a large SUV and that’s going to cost you. It has luxury and comfort, speed and agility on the road – it can double as a family, adventure, sporty or single person’s IT car – and on the roads most travelled like Chapman’s Peak, it slinks around corners with ease and comforts you in an extra layer of safety. Beauty inside the SUV and out!