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RE: Jaguar F-Pace: Review

Sunday 28th August 2016

Jaguar F-Pace: Review

Jaguar's got a lot riding on the F-Pace - is it up to the job?



Jaguar needed to make a splash about entering the crossover fray and the F-Pace certainly isn't shy, especially with its Italian Racing Red glinting in the summer sunshine. Unavoidable you might say. Sadly not entirely the case.

"Blimey, can't believe I missed that!" said the chap driving the building supplies lorry that had just reversed into it while it was parked outside my house. The workmen he was delivering to leant on their shovels. "Yeah, trouble is you didn't, did you..."

Recognisably a Jaguar from every angle
Recognisably a Jaguar from every angle
Which explains why the pictures you see here are stock images of a silver base-spec diesel. Not the bells and whistles S we actually had in on test. Up to that point it had been looking good, in every respect. Ian Callum's team faced a tough challenge translating familiar Jaguar design language into a new dialect. But wherever you go in the F-Pace people instantly clock it as a Jaguar, however unfamiliar the idea in an crossover/SUV context may seem. You'd expect as much among the car literate but from three-year-olds to petrol station cashiers the recognition is as instant wherever you go, "nice Jag!" the seemingly unanimous, instinctive response. Even from the bloke who drove into it.

Even if it drove like a bag of spanners it's clear they're going to sell truckloads of them. Literally if the car transporters full of them radiating out of the West Midlands are anything to go by.

Hit the road
Even from our early off-road prototype drive it was clear this wasn't going to be the case. And so to our first UK test drive of a full production version, the car you (don't) see here and as tested probably the pick of the range. Sure, you can have a four-cylinder diesel if you want, prices starting at £35,020 for a 2.0 Prestige. And the 380hp 3.0-litre supercharged petrol is a nice option for those with money to burn. Or a fuel card. But the 300hp 3.0 Diesel is probably the sweet spot, this sharing a £52,300 starting price with the petrol and both V6s solely available in S spec.

Familiar (and postive) traits evident on road too
Familiar (and postive) traits evident on road too
Which, neatly, is pretty much identical to the £52,689 starting price for a Cayenne Diesel, the F-Pace getting off to a good start with the extra power over the 262hp and 427lb ft of the Porsche's 3.0-litre V6. A 313hp X5 40d starts at £52,235 in standard form or £56,925 in M Sport trim while the 258hp Mercedes GLE 350d is £56,050.

Arguably though the F-Pace sits between these cars and their mid-sized equivalents, be that the Macan, Q5, X3 or GLC. Certainly it's a fraction smaller than the Cayenne/X5/GLE to the tune of 20mm or so in length and wheelbase against most of them. We'll leave you to decide whether that makes it a bargain compared with the Germans or rather strongly priced. Certainly no customer will want for choice, the catalogue offering four trim levels and a multitude of options to season your F-Pace to taste.

First impressions of the interior are that it might have ideas slightly above its station if it's going to tempt buyers out of the 'senior' premium SUV sector. The cabin is smart and functional enough - bar a huge A-pillar blind spot - and the fundamentals of ergonomics, tech, comfort and refinement are all there. Graphics and interaction with the standard InControl infotainment are now up to standard too. There's scope to invest in fancier materials and fabrics but those coming from the Cayenne, X5 and GLE will feel they've stepped a class down in terms of the touchy feely stuff. As a £40K car it's good enough; at £60K like our test car possibly punching a little above its weight. But that's OK because at that point you're just on the entry level to a Range Rover Sport, this being the point where JLR's carefully plotted brand hierarchy begins to make some sense.

A good interior, but there's room for improvement
A good interior, but there's room for improvement
Know your place
Anyway. Before we get too bogged down in all that we should return to the area the F-Pace really wants to make its mark as a Jaguar - namely the driving experience. From recent product we've got used to certain trademarks, ranging from smooth-shifting autos to well-weighted steering and ride that combines isolating float with above average body control. Can that translate to a top-heavy, two-tonne SUV crossover?

Mostly yes. The engine and eight-speed auto are a brilliant combination, the V6 diesel unobtrusively smooth and effortlessly powerful. The mapping with the gearbox is spot on too, the transmission happy to lean on the 516lb ft of torque and exploit the in-gear acceleration. So no pointless upshifts or hair trigger kickdown to spoil your flow. This makes for relaxing and deceptively rapid progress across all sorts of terrain, typically fingertip light steering perfectly in tune to this style of driving. Body control and primary ride are typically composed too, though the spring rates required to contain that mass and our test car's optional 22-inch wheels do mean more intrusion from secondary bumps and ridges than you might have expected.

The S gets Adaptive Dynamics as standard, including electronically adjustable dampers and multi-mode Jaguar Drive Control to select your preferred parameters. Having dabbled with Dynamic you'll likely revert to the standard mode and be done, the snatchier throttle, fussier gearbox, fake steering weight and more brittle ride not really bringing much to the party. Going the other way there is a more mellow Wet setting, which is good for calming things down on camera controlled motorways, but the default is such a balanced all-round mode and the button to access the settings so small and fiddly it's unlikely you'll tinker around too much.

Get used to seeing plenty of them!
Get used to seeing plenty of them!
Go with the flow
Many have questioned the wisdom of JLR adding a crossover to the Jaguar range while simultaneously offering SUV products under the Land Rover and Range Rover brands. But this has been turned to the F-Pace's advantage dynamically with its rear-biased chassis settings. Like the AWD F-Type this means the default torque split is 10:90 front to rear, the propshaft taking power to the front axle mounted 'after' the gearbox and controlled by the Intelligent Driveline Dynamics. So you get a more traditionally Jaguar dynamic set-up of uncorrupted steering response and rear-biased power delivery, drive torque smoothly diverted to the front axle when you need traction out of the corner or in damp conditions. Variations on the theme have existed for a while of course but JLR's smart calibration means it just works and, again, that word flow springs to mind when describing the way the F-Pace covers ground.

And wherever it fits into the bigger picture of competitor products, market sectors and all the rest, that's what sets it apart. It looks like a Jag. It goes like a Jag. Perhaps more successfully than any other mainstream car brand Jaguar has managed to translate its brand values to the world of crossovers and SUVs and done it with some style. Some of the touchy feely stuff lets it down compared with alternatives you could have for the same price but, it's fair to say, the secret to success in this sector is as much about the style you project to the outside world as anything. Both here and dynamically, the F-Pace looks a winning combination. Those Midlands-based car transporters are going to be busy.


JAGUAR F-PACE 3.0D AWD S
Engine
: 2,993cc, V6 diesel
Transmission: 8-speed 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 (NEDC combined)
CO2: 159g/km
Price: £52,300 (£55,250 as tested, including but not limited to Italian Racing Red paint £675; 22-inch Double Helix wheels £1,600; Activity Key £300; Privacy Glass £375)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author
Discussion

Leicesterdave

Original Poster:

1,888 posts

105 months

Tuesday 23rd August 2016
quotequote all
Nice motor!

dlockhart

434 posts

97 months

Tuesday 23rd August 2016
quotequote all
That interior reminds me of a 5 year old BMW interior - before they got all blingy - I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not

langlord

109 posts

114 months

Tuesday 23rd August 2016
quotequote all
Totally agree with the standard of interior comment, at entry spec its very good on the S its below par. Hence our order was cancelled and a macan gts arrives in a month.

arkenphel

355 posts

130 months

Tuesday 23rd August 2016
quotequote all
I wouldn't but it for it's dynamic abilities, for sure. If the touchy feely stuff isn't up to standard for it's rather expensive price, as a potential customer I'm out.

It does look pretty, though.

Oakman

125 posts

83 months

Tuesday 23rd August 2016
quotequote all
I saw preproduction models out testing with a friend who has an Evoque - we both thought it was a curvy version of the Evoque.

Is it a shared platform and basic body sub structure ?

Excuse my ignorance / lack of knowledge related to the development of these.
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David87

4,594 posts

137 months

Tuesday 23rd August 2016
quotequote all
Oakman said:
I saw preproduction models out testing with a friend who has an Evoque - we both thought it was a curvy version of the Evoque.

Is it a shared platform and basic body sub structure ?

Excuse my ignorance / lack of knowledge related to the development of these.
No, nothing to do with the Evoque. It uses the aluminium structure from the Jaguar XE / XF as its base. That said, I would have thought the Mk2 Evoque will also use this new aluminium design.

Verbal_v2

61 posts

17 months

Tuesday 23rd August 2016
quotequote all
Saw one of these last weekend at Westfield. It looks great at the very least.

P-Jay

8,328 posts

116 months

Tuesday 23rd August 2016
quotequote all
Saw these last weekend, the one on the left you can hardly see looked like an F-Pace to me, but the one in the foreground was similar, but smaller. Maybe one based on an XE?


RoverP6B

3,540 posts

53 months

Tuesday 23rd August 2016
quotequote all
I entirely understand why Jaguar have built it, but I can't help thinking Ian Callum's design language is now tired, bland, overplayed, and doesn't suit the proportions of the SUV - sticking the F-type's arse on something this tall and big just makes it look narrow and pinched. To my eyes, inside and out, the Porsche Macan is a much better-resolved piece of design - and, were I in the market for such a thing (which, admittedly, I am not likely to be for the foreseeable future), I think I'd have the Macan.

F1GTRUeno

3,440 posts

143 months

Tuesday 23rd August 2016
quotequote all
My dad has a 2.2 Portfolio. It's a wonderful thing.

Really like the panoramic sunroof too, wouldn't have thought to spec it but it came with Portfolio spec and it's the first car I've ever been in that has one.

I will say though, as you'd expect with a brand new car, there are teething issues. Quite a lot of the time the screen refuses to turn on or respond and just freezes. You have to do the ol' turn it off and back on again trick to make it work again.

yonex

10,555 posts

93 months

Tuesday 23rd August 2016
quotequote all
Great, another amorphous blob on the roads.

fblm

13,892 posts

188 months

Tuesday 23rd August 2016
quotequote all
Looks great. Given the difficulties manufacturers seem to have 'translating' their designs into SUV its a fantastic first effort. I don't think they'll be able to build enough for the US market.

kambites

53,085 posts

146 months

Tuesday 23rd August 2016
quotequote all
It's certainly one of the better efforts at winning the road safety arms-race without making the car actually look like the tank that it is.

Dusty964

6,706 posts

115 months

Tuesday 23rd August 2016
quotequote all
F1GTRUeno said:
My dad has a 2.2 Portfolio. It's a wonderful thing.

Really like the panoramic sunroof too, wouldn't have thought to spec it but it came with Portfolio spec and it's the first car I've ever been in that has one.

I will say though, as you'd expect with a brand new car, there are teething issues. Quite a lot of the time the screen refuses to turn on or respond and just freezes. You have to do the ol' turn it off and back on again trick to make it work again.
Do you expect that on a 50 odd grand car?
I wouldn't.

Sheepshanks

12,537 posts

44 months

Tuesday 23rd August 2016
quotequote all
Oakman said:
I saw preproduction models out testing with a friend who has an Evoque - we both thought it was a curvy version of the Evoque.
I saw one in real life for the first time yesterday and thought the same - especially from the rear. Jeepers those haunches look wide, which doesn't really come out in the pictures.


Sheepshanks

12,537 posts

44 months

Tuesday 23rd August 2016
quotequote all
Dusty964 said:
Do you expect that on a 50 odd grand car?
You do if you're a regular JLR customer.

ManOpener

3,689 posts

94 months

Tuesday 23rd August 2016
quotequote all
dlockhart said:
That interior reminds me of a 5 year old BMW interior - before they got all blingy - I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not
It immediately reminded me of the current Leon:



I don't mind that interior on, well, a Leon, but on a £50k+ Jag, no thanks.

je777

215 posts

29 months

Tuesday 23rd August 2016
quotequote all
I'd feel nothing but mockery for anyone who bought that. Fifty grand? Why?
Presumably if you're buying this you have a family.
If you're interested in cars, buy a V10 M5 for half that and have plenty left for any problems it has.
If you're not interested in cars, buy a secondhand Volvo. Or if you are, buy the secondhand Volvo and then buy a sports car to go with it.
Ah, but this is about driving a big car and feeling big.
Good grief, the psychology behind this is laughable.

CDP

5,350 posts

179 months

Tuesday 23rd August 2016
quotequote all
je777 said:
I'd feel nothing but mockery for anyone who bought that. Fifty grand? Why?
Presumably if you're buying this you have a family.
If you're interested in cars, buy a V10 M5 for half that and have plenty left for any problems it has.
If you're not interested in cars, buy a secondhand Volvo. Or if you are, buy the secondhand Volvo and then buy a sports car to go with it.
Ah, but this is about driving a big car and feeling big.
Good grief, the psychology behind this is laughable.
More likely your company is leasing it...

MyCC

337 posts

82 months

Tuesday 23rd August 2016
quotequote all
je777 said:
I'd feel nothing but mockery for anyone who bought that. Fifty grand? Why?
Presumably if you're buying this you have a family.
If you're interested in cars, buy a V10 M5 for half that and have plenty left for any problems it has.
If you're not interested in cars, buy a secondhand Volvo. Or if you are, buy the secondhand Volvo and then buy a sports car to go with it.
Ah, but this is about driving a big car and feeling big.
Good grief, the psychology behind this is laughable.
But that viewpoint ignores the fact that SUVs sell and sell in big numbers. The F-Pace will sell like cakes fresh from the oven as looks and badge are hugely important to the aspirational market it is aimed at.

Regards,

MyCC