In his 1927 travelogue, Corsica the Beautiful, the adventurer and artist A. Radclyffe Dugmore conceded linguistic defeat in his effort to describe a “motor run” from the island’s seaside capital, Ajaccio, to the high mountain pass of the Col de Bavella. “Every mile,” he wrote, “brings fresh beauties until one finds oneself speechless, and our list of adjectives becomes exhausted.”
Tracing Dugmore’s route past the mountain village of Zonza, I’m similarly dumbstruck by the beauty of the wind-battered pines, the rock-strewn slopes, and the jagged peaks beyond, but this only accentuates the pleasures of the drive—and of Jaguar’s compact, high-performance E-PACE SUV.
Described by Jaguar design director Ian Callum as “the cub of the Jaguar family,” the E-PACE is at once adorable and aggressive, its distinctively large headlamps and wheels—the eyes and paws, if you will—endearing counterpoints to the rakish grille and rear haunches that allude, unmistakably, to the ferocious F-TYPE coupe.
While considerably shorter than Jaguar’s full-size F-PACE SUV, the E-PACE is deceptively wide, its cabin surprisingly spacious. The instrument panel is clean and minimal, clearly designed by and for driving enthusiasts. A turbocharged all-aluminum engine generates peak torque starting at 1,200 RPM, maximizing fuel economy. In more dynamic scenarios—e.g., the mountain roads of Corsica—the 9-speed automatic transmission negotiates shifts so smoothly, they’re nearly imperceptible. The steering is precise and, combined with the E-PACE’s Active Driveline all-wheel-drive system, brake-activated torque vectoring, and Adaptive Dynamics suspension, a recipe for driving deliciousness.
If Corsica is truly the island of 10,000 corners, as racers and ralliers affectionately call it, I’m ready for 10,000 more.