Road test: Jaguar F-Pace

Posted on May 30th, 2016 by James Luckhurst

The F-Pace drives like a Jaguar, and tackles slippery slopes like a Land Rover.

Road test: Jaguar F-Pace

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What is it?

The F-Pace is a Jaguar on steroids, with pumped-up style and some off-road agility. It’s Jaguar’s first SUV, and a rival for the Audi Q5 and Porsche Macan.

How safe is it?

Very. It hasn’t been Euro NCAP-tested yet, but both its close cousins the Jaguar XE and XF have full five-star ratings, and the F-Pace is expected to achieve the same.

Who should buy one?
A keen driver who wants a sporty SUV with elevated seating, the dynamism of a Jaguar and some of the mountain goat capability of a Land Rover.

Road test by Sue Baker published 28 May 2016

 

 

DRIVING AND PERFORMANCE
Road test: Jaguar F-Pace

There is a lot of variation in the driving calibre of SUVs, and the F-Pace is one of the best. It is mannerly and sporty, with a welcome surefootedness and engagingly dynamic behaviour on the bends. It has that poised and focused ‘driver’s car’ feel for which Jaguars are traditionally known, and it is commendable that the same has been achieved in a pumped-up model with elevated ground clearance.
Although it’s a tall car, there’s not much body lean in evidence when you press on hard along a twisty road. The all-wheel-drive system is biased towards rear-drive much of the time, delivering 90 per cent of available power to the back wheels, but it instantly shifts much of it forward to drive all four wheels when conditions demand. It’s a system that maximises economy when the extra traction isn’t needed, but is instantly on call to keep the car ‘planted’ when the going gets trickier. Steering feel is excellent, pert and precise, and the car has good performance whichever engine you choose. There is a high-performance supercharged V6 petrol engine at the top of the range, and two good diesels: a 3.0-litre V6 or a 2.0-litre Ingenium four-cylinder. The vast majority of F-Paces will have the Ingenium power unit, and it is a strong zesty performer that does a very creditable job of hauling around this reasonably big car.
Even on the biggest wheels – 22-inch monsters that fill the wheel-arches are optional – the F-Pace has very acceptable ride quality, with not much evidence of the thump and bump from which some generously-shod SUVs suffer. There’s some minor jostling over a coarse surface, but even that is more reasonable than in many similar cars. Well done to
Jaguar’s engineers.

SPACE AND PRACTICALITY
Road test: Jaguar F-Pace

The F-Pace is a full five-seater with good enough headroom all round for six-footers, and rear legroom is quite generous too, so it’s a very practical family car. It is well endowed with handy stowage spaces around the cabin – we counted 13. There are up to three 12-volt sockets and four USB ports provided.
The rear seats come with a standard 40:20:20 split-fold flexibility to let you extend the boot space into the passenger zone. You can have optional remote release levers, located in the boot, to make it quick and easy to flop the seat backs down and out of the way. The boot is a very good size: at 650 litres it is one of the biggest amongst its rivals, and folding the back seats extends it to 1,740 litres. The boot floor is reversible, to let you switch it from being carpet-topped to an easy-wipe rubber surface for carrying a wet dog , muddy wellies or sports kit.

SAFETY
Road test: Jaguar F-Pace

Both the Jaguar XE and XF, are five-star rated in crash tests, so the F-Pace should be, too. Most versions will have all-wheel-drive and adaptive surface response (ASR) that make the car sure-footed over varying surfaces and road conditions. There is also an ingenious all surface progress control (ASPC) that works like a low-speed cruise control to give the car grip and safety in slippery conditions.

EQUIPMENT
Road test: Jaguar F-Pace

All versions, from base Prestige trim upwards, have 18-inch alloy wheels, leather seats, a powered tailgate, all-round parking sensors, cruise control, Bluetooth and a wifi hotspot. For an extra £2,500, R Sport models include bigger fill-the-arches wheels, perforated leather sports seats, LED running lights, bodykit additions to the exterior and upgraded interior trim. There is an optional wristband key.

COSTS

Road test: Jaguar F-Pace

There is a £34,170 entry-level model with two-wheel-drive. Power delivery is to the back wheels, and CO2 output is modest for a chunky SUV at 129g/km. The expected best-seller is the F-Pace 2.0d with all-wheel-drive, and CO2 output is still pretty reasonable at 139g/km, while the combined fuel figure exceeds 53mpg. A top-spec, supercharged petrol model is £65,275.

WE SAY
The F-Pace drives like a Jaguar, and tackles slippery slopes like a Land Rover.

AT A GLANCE:
Price: £40,360 as tested
Performance: 0-62mph in 8.7 seconds
Economy: 53.3mpg combined
Insurance: Group 29
Tax: Band D (£110)

Figures for F-Pace 2.0d R-Sport