Classy Jag SUV drives as well as it looks
- Great ride and handling balance
- Practical design
- Low-cost 2.0-litre diesel option
- Stylish-looking cabin
- Pricey against rivals
- Larger engines expensive
- Macan better to drive quickly
- Interior finish disappoints
As the brand’s first entrant in the ever-expanding SUV market, the Jaguar F-Pace is a critical car for the British marque.
It enters the premium crossover arena as a rival to some impressive machines, taking on the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC, but unlike products from sister company Land Rover, it’s been built with more of a sporty road-driving bias that calls the Porsche Macan’s talents into question.
Striking design, familiar engineering
Grabbing the low-running costs headlines is the 2.0-litre 163hp diesel rear-wheel drive model matched with a manual gearbox, with official figures of 59.2mpg and CO2 emissions of 126g/km, although it’s the slowest in the range requiring 10.2 seconds to complete the 0-62mph benchmark sprint.
The more powerful 180hp version of the same engine – called 20d – with a smooth-shifting automatic feels less of a compromise: the 0-62mph sprint takes 8.5 seconds, yet Jaguar still claims 55.4mpg and 129g/km of CO2.
Fleshing the range out are a 240hp twin-turbo edition of the same diesel (badged 25d) and a 2.0-litre petrol (the 25t) with 250hp.
If your budget can stretch to one of the 3.0-litre V6s then you’ll appreciate the extra refinement as well as speed: the 300hp diesel requires 6.2 seconds for the 0-62mph dash, the 380hp supercharged petrol just 5.5 seconds. The downside of the latter is an eye-watering 31.7mpg official average.
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.
Large, tech-filled cabin
No rivals can match the Jaguar when it comes to making the cabin feel sporty. It’s been designed to make you feel a part of the driving experience, with a high shoulder line despite its lofty driving position.
While the build quality is fine, the richness of the plastics used for the interior lags behind its key rivals, especially the Audi. There are too many hard surfaces and the switchgear isn’t blessed with the same level of well-damped satisfaction.
We are impressed with the tech on offer, though. Jaguar’s InControl Touch Pro multimedia system is a significant leap over the firm’s earlier offerings and represents 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, particularly if you opt for the adaptive suspension system.
Jaguar F-Pace SUV model history
- September 2015 – Jaguar’s first SUV available to order with deliveries from summer 2016. Engines are familiar from elsewhere in the range with a 2.0-litre 180hp diesel in rear- and all-wheel drive forms, while AWD is standard on the 3.0-litre V6 diesel (300hp) and supercharged petrol (380hp). The standard trims of Prestige, Portfolio, R-Sport and S are supplemented by 200 units of the special First Edition.
- February 2017 – Additional powertrain permutations introduced with the arrival of rear-wheel drive versions of the 163hp 2.0-litre diesel, supplemented by a twin-turbo derivative of the same unit with 240hp and all-wheel drive. Also new is a 250hp 2.0-litre petrol engine, solely with the all-wheel drive set-up. Further enhancements include an Oyster interior colour scheme and optionally available 20-way electrically adjustable front seats with winged head rests on Portfolio models.