Classy Jag SUV drives as well as it looks
- Great ride and handling balance
- Impressively finished cabin
- Practical design
- Low-cost 2-litre diesel option
- Pricey against rivals
- Larger engines expensive
- Macan better to drive quickly
Set to be the best-selling Jaguar of all time, the all-new F-Pace is a critical car for the British brand.
It enters the premium SUV market as a rival to some impressive machines, taking on the Mercedes-Benz GLC, Audi Q5 and BMW X6, but unlike products from sister company Land Rover it’s been built with more of a sporty road-driving bias that calls the smaller Porsche Macan’s talents into question.
Striking design, familiar engineering
Based on the same lightweight architecture that underpins the firm’s two saloon models, the XE and the XF, it was penned by famed car designer Ian Callum (also responsible for the breath-taking Aston Martin DB9 among many others) and in our minds is one of the best-looking crossover-type vehicles currently on sale.
And its talents don’t stop there. It’s great to drive, with a chassis capable of juggling between enthusiastic cornering, fantastic ride quality and – despite all that - impressive off-road ability thanks to tech borrowed from Land Rover, coupled to an intelligent all-wheel drive system.
There’s a set of refined engines and gearboxes on offer along with four core trim levels and a special launch version called the First Edition (though all 250 of these are already sold), but unfortunately because of the way the range is set out you find yourself having to pay a lot of money indeed for a car equipped with anything other than a 2-litre diesel. Some rivals – such as the Q5 – offer a V6 engine for far less cash than the F-Pace, and as nice as the new four-cylinder Ingenium engine is, it doesn’t drive as well as a larger-capacity 3-litre.
Large, tech-filled cabin
No rivals can match the Jag when it comes to the cabin, though. It’s been designed to make you feel a part of the driving experience, with a high shoulderline meaning it feels sportier than other SUV-type cars despite its lofty driving position.
We were impressed with the tech on offer too. Jaguar’s touchscreen infotainment system has been dramatically improved for the F-Pace and the screen in particular is a big step forward in terms of its responsiveness. In-car wi-fi along with a number of ‘apps’ are on hand to make best use of the car’s systems, while other clever features include an Activity Key – a waterproof, wearable car key – and a powered tailgate, which is standard on all models.
The boot itself is huge and there’s plenty of room in the cabin as well, with rear headroom only slightly impeded for taller passengers if you’ve got a panoramic roof installed. You can even have reclining rear seats installed as an optional extra for another touch of luxury.
While the F-Pace boasts the capacity to use alloys up to 22 inches in diameter, we’d suggest you steer clear: it’s a comfier car on 20-inchers and we reckon the car handles better with them too.
Should I buy one?
We’d say so. It might be the company’s first attempt at an SUV, but it’s still unmistakably a Jaguar. It drives well, looks great and has a stylish yet practical cabin.
Read on for the full Jaguar F-Pace review for an in-depth look at this impressive new car.