Mid-sized Jaguar ready to mix it up with premium rivals as contender to BMW X4, Audi Q5 and Lexus writes Geraldine Herbert
What is it? Our appetite for SUVs shows no signs of diminishing anytime soon and an onslaught of new models – particularly from the more premium and luxurious brands – is on the way. Queues are already forming for Maserati’s Levant and Bentley’s Bentayga and new arrivals are planned from Lamborghini, Aston Martin and Rolls-Royce. Jaguar is also hoping to improve its fortunes with the new F-Pace.
First impressions of the new Jaguar F-Pace? The F-Pace certainly stands out from the crowd and the influence of the XE and XF is evident, but there are also hints of the F-Type sports car from the LED tail lights and the muscular rear haunches. This is a car for the urban jungle rather than for scaling peaks and fording rivers.
What about the interior? Inside, the cabin is spacious and airy; all the controls are easy to find and use and the quality throughout is good. The F-Pace is also the most practical Jaguar ever with a class-leading luggage capacity of 650 litres. The space is made all the more usable by its 1,255mm width – more than enough to accommodate two full-size golf bags or four large suitcases, plus the boot has a low loading height and a flat floor.
And engines? Buyers will get a choice of three different engines: the 3.0-litre supercharged 380bhp V6 petrol engine, found in the F-Type, a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel that produces 300bhp and then the one most likely to appeal to buyers – the 2.0-litre turbo-diesel with 180bhp. There is an option of rear wheel drive or four wheel drive depending on model.
Jaguar F-Pace on road? On the road we had the chance to sample all three engine options. The 2.0 litre diesel is the better of the three and the F-Pace feels lighter and sharper than it does with the bigger engines. The steering is also accurate and well weighted. Similar to the XF and the XE, the F-Pace is built on Jaguar’s new Lightweight Aluminium Architecture and as a result it handles with the agility of a much smaller car.
The location of the international press launch was Montenegro, a country that was once part of former Yugoslavia. This small Balkan country is a mountainous one, with more than 50% of its land in excess of 1000m above sea level and was the setting for the James Bond film Casino Royale.
It proved a good test for any car as the roads were so badly surfaced and maintained that they made even the worst back roads of Ireland seem positively smooth. Montenegro is also home to some of the most spectacular and dangerous mountain roads, with infamous hair pin bends.
Jaguar F-Pace off road? While set up primarily for on-road dynamics, on an off-road trail the F-pace was more than capable of rock-straddling. An All Surface Progress Control system allows the car to ascend or descend steep hills by simply pressing a button – all the driver has to do is steer.
How much? Prices for the F-Pace start at £34,170.
How safe? The F-Pace comes well equipped with a host of safety features, including an Autonomous Emergency Braking system that is capable of detecting pedestrians, a Jaguar-first. Another interesting first for Jaguar is the Activity Key, a waterproof, shockproof wristband with an integrated transponder which allows the key fob to be securely locked inside the vehicle, so if you’re going to the beach you can return and simply unlock the car by tapping the “J” on the Jaguar tailgate logo with the wristband.
What about my options? There are five trim grades: Prestige, R-Sport, Portfolio, S, and First Edition. Standard spec includes cruise control, two-zone climate control, Jaguar’s excellent sound system, 18ins alloys, space-saver wheel, heated door mirrors, front fogs, 5ins TFT display, rear parking aid, Hill launch assist, trailer stability assist, Drive Control, electric parking brake and folding rear seats.
3 words to describe the Jaguar F-Pace? Smooth; Smouldering; Sporty
4th May, 2016