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Jaguar’s F-Pace the brand’s first SUV

13.07.2016

It was only a matter of time before the world was introduced to an SUV from Jaguar. I say this because the brand’s sister company Land Rover, has a fair bit of expertise in building these vehicles and would therefore have some valuable tech and know-how for the Big Cat brand to make use of. I recently had quite an extensive drive in all three variants of Jaguar’s F-Pace SUV in Port Elizabeth, here’s what you need to know.

The looks

The F-Pace has been styled to fit in with the rest of the Jaguar range, so up front there’s the rather sizable trademark grille, while the front lights feature a slanted brow, making the car seem quite angry most of the time. In side profile it strikes a sporty silhouette with a design that emphasizes length which when coupled with the larger wheel options makes the car look a lot lower than it really is ( it has 213mm of ground clearance). At the rear enthusiasts will appreciate the F-Type-style rear lights and chunky rump. The overall design has stayed true to the original C-X17 concept from 2013, which is a good thing and should make the car something of a status symbol.

Status inside

In recent Jaguar products I have been heavily impressed with the engineering and styling however there were a few interior niggles in the likes of the XF and XE. These have been remedied, well mostly, in the F-Face. The interior is a pleasant place to be, from the digital instrument cluster to infotainment set-up and overall ergonomics, my only niggle is again, some of the plastics in the lower part of the interior could be better.

The interior does give the impression that you’re driving something a bit closer to the ground; it cocoons you as a driver, wrapping itself around you more than most SUVs. There are two infotainment screen options, namely the InControl Touch and InControl Touch Pro. The latter is something that must be ticked on the options list as it adds a smart phone-like experience to the vehicle interface. With Bluetooth, USB, Jaguar on-call services as well as application compatibility along with a larger, button-free screen, it gives a more sophisticated look and feel to the interior.

Driving the powertrains

The three engine options available in the F-Pace are all in their own unique way, very impressive. The base model diesel features a 132kW/430Nm 2.0 litre diesel motor which is both fast enough to be considered fun and efficient enough for every day driving with a claimed consumption figure of 5.3 litres/100km. My pick of the range is certainly the 3.0 litre diesel. It has 221kW/700Nm on tap, meaning a 0-100km/h time of 6.2 seconds, effortless overtaking and reasonable fuel returns. If you’re interested in a great soundtrack and having the fastest F-Pace around there’s a supercharged V6 petrol engine available in 35t and 35t S trim. The former produces 250kW/450Nm and the latter 280kW/460Nm, with both getting to 100km/h in less than six seconds. These models sound incredible however, that fuel consumption can creep to 13.0 litres/100km quickly if you’re overexuberant.

Local range

All local models come with the superb ZF 8-speed automatic gearbox as well as an all-wheel drive system that as I discovered, is really rather clever. We look forward to sampling the car again in our upcoming road test where we can delve deeper in to the local range and give you some of the nitty gritty of this new SUV contender.

What’s it like to drive?

Well, it is really very refined and car-like on the road and even on the track. We had ample time to drive all models on the road, where I found the ride to be composed while tackling a pass or two was serious fun. It munches miles and is impressive on gravel roads too. Then on to the track stuff. With a centre of gravity that high it is never going to set lap records however it was interesting to see how the torque vectoring and heavily developed suspension makes for a big car that can be a reasonable amount of fun on a circuit.

Verdict

The new F-Pace is a very impressive entrance for the brand in to the SUV segment. It is still quintessentially a Jaguar with sporty dynamics and road presence however with the SUV dimension added there’s something that the market wants as we shift to these types of vehicles.

In terms of dimensions it slots in-between the likes of the BMW X3 and X5, Mercedes-Benz GLC and GLE and Audi’s Q7 and Q5. I would most likely make its key rival the Porsche Macan as it simply feels as if the brand has engineered a car that aims to beat the Porsche. They have come very close indeed. It isn’t cheap, but then again, nothing in this large SUV segment is anymore.

Pricing

2.0 I4D Diesel 132kW Pure - R778 966

2.0 I4D Diesel 132kW R-Sport R871 266

3.0 TDV6 Diesel 220kW Pure R942 646

3.0 TDV6 Diesel 220kW R-Sport R1 034 846

3.0 TDV6 Diesel 220kW S R1 099 646

3.0 TDV6 Diesel 220kW First Edition R1 222 546

3.0 SC Petrol 250kW Pure R993 116

3.0 SC Petrol 250kW R-Sport R1 085 046

3.0 SC Petrol 280kW S R1 201 246

3.0 SC Petrol 280kW First Edition R1 331 416

Article written by Sean Nurse
13.07.2016
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