Jaguar F-Pace review – Jag’s first SUV

Crossover loaded with style, driving dynamics and a bevy of technologies

Jaguar F-Pace
Jaguar family grill fronts the firm's new - and first utility vehicle

You have to have an SUV/CUV in your lineup even if you are a low-volume manufacturer of luxury cars. When Jaguar dealers made this clear, the folks in England set to work addressing the perceived shortage. The result is Jaguar’s first SUV – F-Pace.

Looking good in red

The development team used their widely-recognized expertise in a number of areas – aluminum, steering, suspension and design. They produced a five-passenger Crossover loaded with style, driving dynamics and a bevy of technologies bound to please owners. Based on the same platform as the XE and XF sedans, the wheelbase, track and 81% of the parts are unique to the F-Pace.

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The F-Pace is available in a quartet of trim levels: Premium ($50,900), Prestige ($55,400), R-Sport ($60,900 and S ($67,900) with four-cylinder diesel and supercharged V6 engines paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and a high tech all-wheel-drive system.

I spent a week with a fully-loaded S with a bottom line of just over $80,000. Obviously it had all the bells and whistles you’d expect in this class and at this price point. Many of them are familiar, and a few are new.

F-Pace has the hallmarks of a luxury vehicle

Luxury vehicles are expected to bring comfort, convenience, and the latest in features and technology. The F Pace has these bases covered. The front seats are wide and supportive, there is room in the rear for full-size adults, and there is class-leading cargo space.

Premium materials are worthy of the brand. Detailing is impressive throughout, including contrast stitching. The center console has the familiar-to-Jaguar drivers, pop-up rotary shifter. The F-Pace introduces the company’s InControl Pro infotainment system. It features a 31-cm touchscreen, 3D navigation, and the ability to connect up to eight devices to a Wi-Fi hot spot.

The instrument panel consists of two hooded analogue gauges flanking a configurable TFT display.

The F-Pace is a big vehicle, with a presence on the road that commands attention. The svelte shape is distinctive from any angle. This is a true crossover, with an aluminum-intensive unibody, rather than the older and heavier body-on-frame of an SUV. Other weight-saving measures include a composite tailgate and a magnesium cross-car beam.

Jaguar is noted for its ability to produce vehicles with outstanding driving dynamics. It is respected for steering feel, and suspensions that absorb nasty road blemishes without falling over themselves in the corner.  They have padded that impression with the F Pace. Despite its height and weight, this vehicle behaves like a car, rather than a tall ute on the road.  The double wishbone front suspension is paired with a multiple link arrangement in back. A raft of electronic aids, including torque vectoring, help push it around corners. Intelligent Driveline Dynamics gives the character of a rear-wheel-drive vehicle. But with all-wheel-drive capability.

AWD system benefits from Land Rover relationship

The all-wheel-drive system is as sophisticated as they come. Jaguar borrowed expertise, and technology from sister company Land Rover. Some of the tricks employed here include Adaptive Surface Response. This system  measures body and wheel movement up to 500 times every second. It is also capable of identifying the type of road surface, and adjusting the throttle, transmission, and stability control systems accordingly.

All-Surface Progress Control automatically adjusts, the throttle and brakes to ensure a smooth take-off on slippery surfaces.

The F-Pace features what Jaguar calls Configurable Dynamics. This allows the driver to alter settings for steering, throttle and transmission response.

Thanks to the optional 22-inch wheels, and the resulting low-profile tires, the ride was a bit brittle over rough surfaces. I suspect the standard 20-inchers would be better for our roads.

The supercharged V6 comes in two variations – 340 and 380-horsepower. The S trim level gets the latter and it is a sonorous beauty. Throttle response is instantaneous. The flat torque curve puts lots of power at hand from low speed and it has one of the loudest, pleasantly so, exhaust systems I have come across outside a race track.

The F-Pace is stylish, powerful, and laden with technology. It features the driving dynamics and interior the company is known for.

The F-Pace is a welcome addition to the Jaguar family.

SPECS

2017 Jaguar F-Pace 3.0 SC AWD S

Price: $67,900 base, $80,825 as tested including freight.

Engine: supercharged, 3.0-litre V6, 380 horsepower, 332 lb.ft. of torque, premium fuel

Transmission: eight-speed automatic, full-time AWD

NRC rating, litres/100 km city/highway: 13.3 / 10

Length: 4,731-mm

Width: 1,936-mm (mirrors folded)

Wheelbase: 2,874-mm

Weight: 1,861-kg

Competition: Audi Q5, BMW X3/X4, Lexus NX, Porsche Macan Options on test vehicle: comfort & convenience package, $1,900; gloss black roof rails, $250; driver assist package, $3,100; 22-inch turbine, nine spoke chrome wheels, $4,000; electrically-heated windshield,

About Richard 166 Articles
At the age of five I was already obsessed with all things automotive being able to identify the make and model of car by just the sound of its engine going down the street in front of our house in the small town on the south shore of Nova Scotia. Although I have been covering and writing about the automotive scene for more than 40 years and the light still grows brightly.