RE: Jaguar F-Pace: Driven

Saturday 30th January 2016

Jaguar F-Pace: Driven

Final prototypes and a Welsh rally arena? Of course we had to have a go!



While it's nice to drive a surprisingly talented new car, it's equally enjoyable to get in something that matches the very, very high expectations set for it. The Jaguar F-Pace is certainly one of the latter vehicles. And it would be daft to withhold the overarching first impression until the very end: the F-Pace shows every sign of being rather excellent.

That is to say, at least in the conditions we drive it in. Walters Arena near Swansea was the location for this prototype drive, an engineer's playground of rutted tracks, rock crawls, forest routes and plenty more. It was also raining apocalyptically, though nobody in attendance was surprised.

All three of the prototypes are 3.0-litre V6 diesel automatics, the same powertrain as used in the XF we tested recently. Jaguar has made no firm predictions on sales splits yet, but expect the four-cylinder Ingenium diesel to be popular in the UK. That diesel is offered with both rear- or all-wheel drive plus the manual and auto gearboxes; the V6 diesel and V6 petrol are all-wheel drive and automatic only.

It's at 'final polishing' stage says Jaguar
It's at 'final polishing' stage says Jaguar
Cue the Macan comparisons... 
Even on a day that would make a Polo Harlequin seem a little washed out, the white F-Paces look very good. Clearly inspired by the rest of the Jaguar range but discrete enough to not appear simply an upscale, it's a handsome car. Certainly against the Macan - it was going to feature soon enough - it's a more resolved piece of design, and arguably more interesting than something like a Q5 or X3. A word of warning though - if this car looks a little underwheeled, it's actually on the 19-inch rims. The optional 22s don't sound so stupid now, do they?

Following a brief tech presentation, we're out into the mud, rocks and trees. But initial impressions are from the passenger seat, where again there are more positives to report. Not only is the InControl Touch Pro system a significant improvement over that used in the XF, the ride is superb. It's a trait apparent throughout the day, the F-Pace's ability to shrug off big ruts and undulations at speed promising much for attacking speed bumps around Kensington. That Integral Link rear suspension would certainly appear worth the weight penalty on this experience. The refinement it displays while being thrown along a gravel track is incredible, if not strictly that indicative of real world use.

To the driver's seat. Again, in typical Jaguar fashion, the relationship between seat, wheel, pedals and control is spot on. You sit low enough to feel involved but without removing the sense of riding a bit higher that so many love about SUVs. Perhaps it's not quite as cocooning as a Macan, but for some that could be a benefit anyway.

More than happy to play the fool if you are
More than happy to play the fool if you are
Safe distance
Now Jaguar is very keen to stress that the F-Pace is a sports car first and foremost and that it has all road rather off-road capability. This is key to separate it from a Land Rover product and also retain the on-road dynamics Jaguar has prioritised. Because, let's face it, who buys an SUV to go off road? The F-Pace's important off-ro.. sorry, all road tech is the Intelligent Driveline Dynamics (IDD) all-wheel drive, Adaptive Surface Response (ASR) mode and All Surface Progress Control (ASPC). 

ASR replaces the Winter setting in regular Jags, optimising the vehicle systems for the terrain it detects underneath the tyres. There are three settings it can cycle through according to surface; low friction for snow and ice, medium friction for gravel and wet tarmac and 'high drag' for deep gravel and snow. These tweak throttle response, transmission and the DSC threshold to make progress as seamless as possible over difficult terrain. Though the test route isn't the most varied - rain, mud, rain, mud and, oh look, some rocks - there's never a point where the F-Pace feels out of its depth, or like it's struggling to adapt to any changes. Mission accomplished then.

The All Surface Progress Control is pitched as a 'low speed cruise control', where the car modulates throttle and brake inputs to maintain a set speed on any surface. You use the plus and minus buttons for the cruise control and the F-Pace sticks to it; uphill, downhill, on rocks, mud or any surface, the F-Pace progresses at whatever speed you choose, up to 20mph. It's not revolutionary tech for off-roaders, but it's still a pretty neat trick. As is the Low Friction Launch, a more progressive throttle map to make slippery getaways easier. Just the thing for if it rains at Le Mans...

As good off-road as will ever be required
As good off-road as will ever be required
Anyone fancy a doughnut? 
Once all that tech has been proven, there's a huge muddy field, some time to kill and an invitation to turn every single one of those assists off. Be rude not to, right? While F-Pace buyers are hardly likely have their diesel SUVs crossed up in a Welsh quarry, that it proved so adept (and hilarious) there bodes well for the road. The Intelligent Driveline Dynamics (IDD) all-wheel drive developed from the F-Type is very, well, intelligent and helps the F-Pace feel just as nimble and rewarding as you would hope from a Jag 4x4. At turn-in, power is taken from the front wheels to remove understeer and benefit steering feel. Then, as lock is unwound, the power is apportioned forward again to assist traction. That technology manifests itself as a car that turns in like it's rear-wheel drive, moves into oversteer like a rear-wheel drive and then powers out like a four-wheel drive. It feels supremely balanced and poised beyond the limit, the handling more akin to a larger hatch than a conventional off-roader. It even responds quite well to a Scandinavian flick... Of course these impressions will have to be qualified by on-road drives, but the signs are very good. 

At a more sedate pace through the tighter forest sections, what's most impressive about the F-Pace is its ease of use. Selecting off-road modes through just one button and steering wheel mounted controls is of course familiar from other SUVs, but it's the way the F-Pace makes going off road so stress-free that really impresses. The steering wheel doesn't wrench in your hands, there are no unpleasant noises from the powertrain and even the rocks thud off the wheelarches quietly. It's more capable than will be required by the typical SUV customer but just as refined as they will expect from a Jaguar. 

Guess what? It's really rather good
Guess what? It's really rather good
Downsides? It's genuinely tough to pick any out at the moment, with the caveat that this was a carefully managed Jaguar launch event. They're hardly likely to show it off in an environment where it struggles, after all.  The full launch on road in a couple of months will provide a more exhaustive test and reveal just how it compares to the German rivals. As with other Jaguars, it will be interesting to see exactly how much it weighs (this spec is 'from 1,884kg') and it's worth bearing in mind the list price with a few options too. As an example, this V6 diesel S with some bigger wheels, a panoramic roof and the InControl Touch Pro is a £55,000 car.

That being said, the F-Pace still feels like a real contender in this class. Its combination of Jaguar dynamics and style with more than enough off-road ability will ensure its success, particularly with British customers. The First Edition cars will be delivered in April and, from this drive, it deserves to be very popular indeed.


JAGUAR F-PACE 3.0D AWD
Engine
: 2,993cc, V6 diesel
Transmission: 8-speed ZF automatic, all-wheel drive
Power (hp): 300@4,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 516@2,000rpm
0-62mph: 6.2sec
Top speed: 150mph
Weight: from 1,884kg
MPG: 47.1 (EU combined)
CO2: 159g/km
Price: £51,450

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author
Discussion

sidesauce

Original Poster:

760 posts

151 months

Thursday 28th January 2016
quotequote all
Jaguar are going to clean up with this car, even if it wasn't as good dynamically as it is.

My local dealer was telling me they were over-subscribed within 2 months of the announcement. They will sell every single one they can make.

Personally, it's possibly the only SUV type vehicle I'd want to buy from an aesthetic standpoint.

Edited by sidesauce on Thursday 28th January 14:17

Burwood

9,668 posts

179 months

Thursday 28th January 2016
quotequote all
It looks like a nice car but imho too expensive by £5k. I'm sure that won't stop it selling.

hornetrider

63,161 posts

138 months

Thursday 28th January 2016
quotequote all
Burwood said:
It looks like a nice car but imho too expensive by £5k. I'm sure that won't stop it selling.
I don't see how you can say that given the cost of the competition.

It'll fly off the shelves. I like it.

Pothole

25,758 posts

215 months

Thursday 28th January 2016
quotequote all
Amazing how long it takes to launch a car, isn't it? I was working on the XE body in white in May last year and there were prototype and test builds going through the production line and a fully made up body in white sitting in the "lab" then (they're being made on the same line the XEs have been made on if the plans are still the same, with XE production switching to Castle Bromwich) I'm really glad this (and the XE) is such a success, or will be. Good to see us leading the world again.

unsprung

2,395 posts

57 months

Thursday 28th January 2016
quotequote all
Pothole said:
Good to see us leading the world again.
lol! Is there a context for this claim?
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Burwood

9,668 posts

179 months

Thursday 28th January 2016
quotequote all
hornetrider said:
Burwood said:
It looks like a nice car but imho too expensive by £5k. I'm sure that won't stop it selling.
I don't see how you can say that given the cost of the competition.

It'll fly off the shelves. I like it.
Macan S 340hp, much faster and 5K cheaper. I realise Porsche will make you pay for any extras but the Jag will be as expensive as the Porsche. For 55k it's slow at 6.5s.

zeppelin101

721 posts

125 months

Thursday 28th January 2016
quotequote all
Burwood said:
Macan S 340hp, much faster and 5K cheaper. I realise Porsche will make you pay for any extras but the Jag will be as expensive as the Porsche. For 55k it's slow at 6.5s.
You're comparing the petrol to the diesel. So far as I know, there has been no pricing structure announced that includes the petrol models, one of which will be genuinely comparable to a Macan S.

These will almost certainly be better spec'd from the door as well. Although there will undoubtedly still be hundreds of options to pick from

unsprung

2,395 posts

57 months

Thursday 28th January 2016
quotequote all


Jaguar had better stock up on wheelbarrows -- as they'll need them to manage the piles of cash that are about to arrive.

This crossover alternative to the Germans and to the usual crop of full-on SUVs is exactly what the market has been waiting for. Toss in a bit of British cache and it'll have punters on the forecourts in a number of key countries.

Given the likely demand for this car, I hope that production quality will remain upstanding.

TurboHatchback

3,272 posts

86 months

Thursday 28th January 2016
quotequote all
I like most of Jaguars offerings but this is completely lost on me. A Jaguar SUV is just wrong and SUVs without serious off road hardware make no sense to me. I'm sure however most of the populace will disagree with me and they'll sell like hot cakes.

Pothole

25,758 posts

215 months

Thursday 28th January 2016
quotequote all
unsprung said:
Jaguar had better stock up on wheelbarrows -- as they'll need them to manage the piles of cash that are about to arrive.

This crossover alternative to the Germans and to the usual crop of full-on SUVs is exactly what the market has been waiting for. Toss in a bit of British cache and it'll have punters on the forecourts in a number of key countries.

Given the likely demand for this car, I hope that production quality will remain upstanding.
There's yer context!

Burwood

9,668 posts

179 months

Thursday 28th January 2016
quotequote all
The S diesel Macan is 45K too. Do you really think Jags petrol equivalent will be less money? It will be more money again because it has 370hp cf the Macans 340.

hornetrider

63,161 posts

138 months

Thursday 28th January 2016
quotequote all
Burwood said:
Macan S 340hp, much faster and 5K cheaper. I realise Porsche will make you pay for any extras but the Jag will be as expensive as the Porsche. For 55k it's slow at 6.5s.
Fair enough, I thought the Macan was a class below (Q3 sized) whereas this was more Q5/Cayenne/Disco sized. Although I'm probably wrong, I don't pay much attention to the SUV hierarchy hehe

I won't mention the ludicrous impossibility of getting a Macan for basic list without smashing the configurator... wink

toppstuff

11,411 posts

180 months

Thursday 28th January 2016
quotequote all
Really pleased for JLR that they have done a good job here.

I can only agree that if they build them right and keep up the quality, this car will be a massive sales success.

This is going to be one hugely successful product.

Burwood

9,668 posts

179 months

Thursday 28th January 2016
quotequote all
I agree with you on the confusion. q3 is small (a3), q5 (A4)/X3(3 series). But there are all sorts in-between. My view is a Tiguan isn't much different to an X3 or Q5. The F Pace is Q5/macan/X3 size. All Mid size SUVs

Hell the previous Q7 was a behemoth yet cramped in the back!

OT-saw a Merc GLC the other day-horrible looking thing. If it were my cash id wait for the new SQ5-better interior and build quality, probably faster, dynamics may be off a bit

unsprung

2,395 posts

57 months

Thursday 28th January 2016
quotequote all
Pothole said:
unsprung said:
Jaguar had better stock up on wheelbarrows -- as they'll need them to manage the piles of cash that are about to arrive.

This crossover alternative to the Germans and to the usual crop of full-on SUVs is exactly what the market has been waiting for. Toss in a bit of British cache and it'll have punters on the forecourts in a number of key countries.

Given the likely demand for this car, I hope that production quality will remain upstanding.
There's yer context!
hehe

I liken this situation to a film with a happy ending.

The film's protagonist, Mr. Jaguar, is a bit of a Johnny-come-lately on the matter of crossover vehicles. In fact, his entire range has been a bit wanting until recently. Especially in markets outside the UK.

All is forgiven, however, as funding has been made available and product plans have been sorted. Truly competitive offerings have already begun to take over the range.

I would say that Jaguar are now "a player" of sorts. Will this translate into "leading the world?" Will the good times last? We'll have to wait an see: in the film's sequel. wink











Pothole

25,758 posts

215 months

Thursday 28th January 2016
quotequote all
unsprung said:
Pothole said:
unsprung said:
Jaguar had better stock up on wheelbarrows -- as they'll need them to manage the piles of cash that are about to arrive.

This crossover alternative to the Germans and to the usual crop of full-on SUVs is exactly what the market has been waiting for. Toss in a bit of British cache and it'll have punters on the forecourts in a number of key countries.

Given the likely demand for this car, I hope that production quality will remain upstanding.
There's yer context!
hehe

I liken this situation to a film with a happy ending.

The film's protagonist, Mr. Jaguar, is a bit of a Johnny-come-lately on the matter of crossover vehicles. In fact, his entire range has been a bit wanting until recently. Especially in markets outside the UK.

All is forgiven, however, as funding has been made available and product plans have been sorted. Truly competitive offerings have already begun to take over the range.

I would say that Jaguar are now "a player" of sorts. Will this translate into "leading the world?" Will the good times last? We'll have to wait an see: in the film's sequel. wink
JAGII: The Solihull Years...

unpc

2,013 posts

146 months

Thursday 28th January 2016
quotequote all
I had a hand in this so it's good to see some positive reviews. Must be the first review of a non German car that didn't bh about soft feel plastics smile

loose cannon

5,011 posts

174 months

Thursday 28th January 2016
quotequote all
Not really my sort of car but keep up the good work unpc smile

Burwood

9,668 posts

179 months

Thursday 28th January 2016
quotequote all
unpc said:
I had a hand in this so it's good to see some positive reviews. Must be the first review of a non German car that didn't bh about soft feel plastics smile
are you saying it doesn't have them?

HJMS123

982 posts

66 months

Thursday 28th January 2016
quotequote all
Burwood said:
Macan S 340hp, much faster and 5K cheaper. I realise Porsche will make you pay for any extras but the Jag will be as expensive as the Porsche. For 55k it's slow at 6.5s.
I didn't realise people who can afford/buy these crossover SUVs care about this sort of performance difference.

It's about as useful as comparing the stats between an aygo and a VW UP!