Jaguar’s first ever SUV crossover model – the F-Pace – is available with a choice of engines and a generous selection of richly-equipped trim levels. It looks fabulous, boasts excellent performance stats and is as practical as they come.
The goodPractical, beautifully-styled, feature-rich and economical to run
The badLots of well-established premium SUV models out there
Jaguar F-Pace Portfolio 2.0D AWD
When Jaguar took the bold step and announced it was introducing an SUV to its dynamic line-up it sent gasps of disbelief through its faithful fanbase who worshipped the marque for its beautifully-crafted streamlined sports cars.
But any fears were quickly dispelled because Jaguar launched the F-Pace. Yes, it is an SUV, but it boasts all the creative styling associated with the Jaguar name and, perhaps most importantly, it drives like a demon.
Whatever angle you approach the car from it is immediately clear to see that Jaguar has drawn on its decades of experience designing and building luxury sports cars – and that know-how has been utilised to create the F-Pace. Eye-catching features include sweeping lines with a bold, muscular and athletic stance. There is a sliding panoramic sunroof, chrome roof rails, Xenon headlights with LED Blade daytime running lights, twin tailpipes, LED tail lights, privacy glass, satin chrome radiator surrounds and side power vents, along with 20-inch alloys to complete the look.
Move inside the F-Pace and the interior is both spacious and upmarket in its layout. And, of course, there’s a whole host of techno treats and creature comforts to be explored. Our Portfolio-spec model featured the likes of Ebony Windsor leather trim, a Navigation Pro system with Meridian surround sound music system, ambient lighting, Bluetooth connectivity, DAB radio, 2-zone climate control, a head-up display, plus a rather clever 10-inch dual view touchscreen so the passenger can watch a movie on the go while the driver sees the more traditional information.
The high-quality leather seats boast 10-way power adjustment with memory settings and they can be heated to fend off the winter chill. In the back, there is ample space for a trio of adults to sit comfortably and storage options also impress with a boot capacity that ranges from 650 to 1,740 litres with the 40:20:40 split folding rear seats dropped flat. Elsewhere, there is a lockable glovebox, a centre console storage box, front and rear cup holders, deep door pockets, a front armrest with storage bin and luggage ties to stop items rolling around in the boot.
Our car had a £47,115 price-tag although a number of optional extras bumped the cost up to £63,274. It was powered by a 2-0-litre turbocharged diesel engine delivering 240PS and it could sprint to 62mph from a standing start in 7.2 seconds, maxing out at 135mph. According to official figures, the F-Pace can achieve combined fuel economy of 48.7mpg with carbon emissions of 153g/km.
But despite all the luxury and stand-out design cues, it’s the way in which the F-Pace performs on the road that really impresses and that is always a vitally important factor for Jaguar owners old and new. Unlike many high-sided SUV-styled vehicles, the F-Pace can be thrown into corners with confidence – there is minimal body movement and the road holding is ultra-grippy. At all times, it feels beautifully balanced and poised as it glides across the Tarmac and even the rougher road surfaces are dealt with by the efficient suspension system that irons out all but the most severe bumps and dips along the way – and that was on larger 20-inch wheels that were a £1,255 optional extra.
There is a constant supply of power on tap at all times and the acceleration through the eight-speed automatic gearbox is perfectly timed. There are steering wheel-mounted paddles if you want to take control of the gear changes.
The F-Pace is a car that is happy powering along motorways where it quickly reaches the national speed limit or being unleashed on twisting country lanes. It’s also nimble when manoeuvring through the congestion in busy city centres, where the Advance Parking Assist Pack with surround camera costing £1,930 extra, will make you look an expert when squeezing into a tiny parking space.
When it comes to refinement the F-Pace scores highly with a cabin that remains well-insulated from any road surface, engine or wind noise and the comfort levels are impressive too. I completed a 200-mile-plus trip in one go and still got out of the car feeling pretty refreshed.
But it’s not just on the road that the F-Pace scores well. It is a very capable off-road car too – if anyone is brave enough to take a vehicle costing more than £60k far away from the Tarmac. However, the assurance of all-wheel drive ability is very comforting during winter months when you can wake up to a couple of inches of snow.
The F-Pace, is loaded with safety kit and driver aids and received the maximum five starts when it was tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating. Features include autonomous emergency braking, dynamic stability control and traction control, emergency brake assist, lane departure warning, trailer stability assist, hill launch assist, blind spot monitoring and reverse traffic detection, numerous airbags, plus plenty more besides.
All in all, the F-Pace is an outstanding all-rounder. It offers all the practicality of a premium-styled SUV, but still remains true to its Jaguar DNA and heritage with driving dynamics that will impress the most devoted ‘big cat’ enthusiast.
Jaguar F-Pace R-Sport 2.0d 180PS AWD
Simply mention the Jaguar name and it conjures up all sorts of images of beautifully sleek and elegant cars that have fashioned a glowing heritage in racing glory over the decades, but now the all-new F-Pace has taken the premium marque in a totally different direction into the ranks of the fiercely competitive SUV market.
Thankfully the Jaguar design team has remained faithful to the C-X17 concept car that caused gasps of amazement when it was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show back in 2013 – the F-Pace somehow manages to look aggressive and graceful at the same time and it’s guaranteed to turn heads wherever it passes. Eye-catching design cues include a muscular bonnet, powerful rear haunches, 20-inch black alloys, narrow windows, gloss black roof rails, twin tailpipes, a distinctive black mesh grille, Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, front and rear fog lights, privacy glass, plenty of R-Sport body kit and a fixed panoramic sunroof that lets light flood into the cabin.
Step inside and it’s impossible not to be wowed by the build quality within the cabin – you are surrounded by premium materials and there is a wealth of technology to be explored. Features include an 8-inch touchscreen, a pitch perfect sound system with DAB radio, sat nav, iPod integration and all the connectivity capabilities to satisfy the most demanding of techno fans.
There are elegant, red leather seats that can be powered in every direction and heated to beat off the winter chill, plus the abundance of soft-touch materials along with smart instrumentation is another gentle reminder that this is no ordinary SUV.
The test car was powered by Jaguar’s 2.0-litre 180PS turbocharged Ingenium diesel engine mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. It can sprint from to 62mph from a standing start in 8.7 seconds, maxes out at 129mph and according to official figures it can deliver combined fuel efficiency of 53.3mpg with carbon emissions of 139g/km.
When it comes to performance, the F-Pace certainly lives up to its name – it’s rapid, responsive and deceptively quick yet it also remains beautifully agile and balanced at the same time. Whilst many rivals are great performers on faster motorway roads but suffer from too much body roll on twisting country lanes, this is an area where the F-Pace excels. The road-holding is completely assured and the steering precise which means that it’s easy to forget you are driving a large SUV model when whizzing along narrow, winding roads.
On the motorways, it simply glides along effortlessly with very little engine or road surface noise to speak of. The acceleration is instant and the option of steering wheel-mounted paddles adds to the fun factor. In addition, Jaguar Drive Control allows you to adjust the modes to suit your particular driving style.
On-board comfort levels are exceptionally high with ample space for five adults to stretch out in style. And the enormous boot can swallow up 650 litres of luggage – a capacity that can quickly be increased to 1,740 litres with the 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat. Elsewhere there are numerous storage compartments, including a generously-sized glovebox, a central bin, cup holders, deep door pockets and a section to keep your sunglasses safe.
In true Jaguar tradition, the F-Pace is packed to bursting with safety kit, including the likes of dynamic stability control and traction control, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition with intelligent speed limiter, autonomous emergency braking, trailer stability control, six airbags, emergency brake assist and plenty more besides. In addition, the F-Pace is an all-wheel-drive vehicle so you won’t be caught out by one of Mother Nature’s unexpected mood swings.
All in all, the F-Pace is a most welcome addition to the SUV scene and one that gained lots of amazed looks when I played ‘guess the price’ with some friends. They all over-estimated by at least £20k when in fact the car is priced at a competitive £40,360 (£44,770 with a few options added) and that makes it a rather exceptional all-rounder.