2017 Jaguar F-Pace S 30d First Edition Review –
(4 / 5)
Jaguar needs to thank Porsche. It’s a big statement to make, and it will never happen, of course.
Staunch competitors are rarely in direct communication, apart from the occasional barb directed at a high profile executive.
But the British company would do well to pen a note of appreciation.
It’s well documented that without the Porsche Cayenne, the company from Stuttgart would have been sunk, with no redemption.
A huge surge of SUV buyers, who wouldn’t necessarily have become Porsche customers if a sport utility vehicle didn’t have the golden crest on its brow, ensured that the Cayenne became the saviour of the company – the profit keeps rolling in.
Since the turnaround, Porsche could afford to throw money at its flagship sports cars meaning Ferrari and McLaren have been kept honest and been incentivised to produce such brilliant machines as the LaFerrari and P1.
Slightly lower down the scale, Porsche’s work on the Cayman and 911 mean we now have the wonderful Jaguar F-Type.
This is reason enough for thanks to be sent Germany’s way.
But Jaguar wasn’t about to miss out on the serious cash in the SUV market either.
Porsche blazed the trail, which means it wasn’t a difficult decision for Jaguar to create an SUV – and from how many F-Paces are being homed in new driveways, there’s a steady stream of moolah heading Jaguar’s way.
And this, folks, is why Jaguar needs to thank Porsche.
So, was it worth creating the F-Pace?
Definitely. In many ways, the F-Pace betters its German rival.
Ian Callum and his team have outdone themselves with the Jaguar F-Pace – it’s arguably one of the best looking SUVs ever designed.
With most production cars, they can look a little off-kilter. Perhaps it’s the window shape or the back end which is too small, or too big. But finding such a compromise in the design of the F-Pace is difficult.
Let’s step inside
Open the doors and you’re presented with a cabin that is very similar to the XE in look and feel.
The plastics aren’t industry best, but they’re certainly not bad – a few little details could be refined further, though.
Things like the LED strip that illuminates the cabin in ambient lighting is visible against the armrest, and some of the cutlines in the dashtop have areas where the stitching is pulling.
Apart from those niggles, the rest is put together very nicely. Certainly there were no rattles to speak of during our week of trekking around.
Press the start button and the rotary gear selector rises in the palm of your hand, ready for action. Sure, they could have saved some space by using the typical joystick selector, but the rotary controller is intuitive and fast.
The glovebox has enough room, though it is fairly low (and hits your knee if you’re tall), and the centre console can stash wallets, keys and other odds and ends.
The seating position is quite high, and stepping up into the car is a surprise, as the F-Pace is a lot taller than it looks in pictures.
While it’s not the roomiest cabin in the world, we ran a three hour trip with four adults aboard and there were no complaints.
The rear seat room is good across the width, but can feel a little tight with a tall driver up front.
Teenage kids will be fine back there (give ’em an iPad and they’ll find a way to get comfortable).
The seat padding is excellent, though we’re not sure if optioning the white leather (and houndstooth embossing) is the best way to go with a young family.
There are zero quibbles about the comfort, and seat heaters are always appreciated on cold mornings.
The InControl infotainment system has improved immeasurably over the past few years and its large, wide, high-res screen has plenty of room, good detail and quick response to touch commands.
It’s also easy to work out, and the Meridian sound system it operates isn’t too bad either.
There’s a 508-litre boot but that can be increased if the back seats fold down.
This is a Jaguar, so it had better drive well
You’re in luck.
Our test car came with the twin-turbo 3.0-liter diesel engine, which the US misses out on, and that’s a shame because in this application, it’s quite a growly engine.
Certainly it’s more apparent that it’s a diesel than in the Range Rover Sport we tested a few weeks later.
But part of the Jaguar appeal is that you’re more involved with the car, and in this respect, it hits the mark.
Making 221kW and a huge 700Nm it will sprint to 100km/h in 6.2 seconds and will happily hit its limiter at 241km/h, so overtaking B-doubles isn’t an issue.
The ZF eight-speed auto (with paddle shifters, naturally) does a fantastic job of keeping the engine on the boil and utilising that huge torque reserve to best effect.
Plus, it sounds brilliant, with a deep, rumbly V6 note, and minimal clatter.
How does the F-Pace handle the bends?
It’s true, the F-Pace sits higher than a coupe (or sedan for that matter) meaning its centre of gravity is lifted, working against physics.
But don’t forget that Jaguar’s suspension gurus are among the best in the business.
The F-Pace’s steering has a beautiful heft, feeling meaty like a Jaguar should (some of its cars are too light) and the feedback is quite good, too.
But the grip level and the chassis balance are so well judged that you can virtually throw it into corners at almost any speed.
And, of course, the rear-drive bias from the all-wheel-drive system helps no end.
It remains beautifully composed and neutral, no matter what you give it, but – here’s that compromise – an SUV that handles that well is going to have a rubbish ride, right?
Well, there’s no doubt the F-Pace has a firm ride. And looking at its 20-inch wheels, that impression is solidified.
Jag’s hugely impressive damping setup removes all the harshness via an initial compliance that makes each hit feel progressive rather than a sharp bang. This makes the massive wheels seem as if they’re a lot smaller – something that eludes a lot of SUVs.
Dynamically, then, the F-Pace sits among its peers with its head held high – but you’ll pay for the privilege.
Here’s the catch
Our “First Edition” test car kicks off at $117,165. But then you start ticking options boxes and it gets faintly ridiculous.
The list of options was as follows:
- Advanced Parking Pack with Surround Camera Surround Camera System, Park Assist and 360 degree Park Distance Control) – $3,450
- Head Up Display Pack (Infrared Reflective Windscreen and Head-Up Display) – $2,510
- Cold Climate Pack Heated front windscreen, heated front and rear seats and heated steering wheel) – $2,420
- Jaguar Smart Key System with Keyless Entry – $1,800
- 4 Zone Climate Control – $1,800
- Blind Spot Monitor and Reverse Traffic Detection – $1,120
- Air Quality Sensor and Lockable Cooled Glove Box – $1,000
- Privacy Glass – $900
- Digital Audio Broadcast Radio (DAB) – $900
- Electrically Adjustable Steering Column – $850
- Activity Key – $640
Yeah, so that’s AU$134,555 plus on-road costs. Ouch.
Will its looks get it over the line?
It is stunning to look at and fabulous to drive. The interior is largely well resolved, though some finishes could be better. Overall, though, it’s a very capable and deliciously handsome vehicle.
But even better is when you find your favourite piece of road and you forget that this actually is an SUV. In that sense, Jaguar has made it feel like it belongs to the brand, and that’s why we’d recommend trying it for yourself.
Jaguar F-Pace S 30d Specifications
2993cc V6 Twin Turbocharged Diesel
Power: 221kW @ 4000rpm
Torque: 700Nm @ 2000rpm
Top speed: 241kmh
0-100kmh: 6.2 seconds
Fuel Consumption: 6.0L/100km
Can you take the Jaguar F-Pace offroad?
There’s enough clearance and it’s the same platform as the Range Rover Velar, but its suspension tune is far more road biased – as are the tyres and wheels. Flat, sandy areas won’t be an issue, but don’t try anything that’s too rocky.