STRIKING STYLE: Jag's plush addition to the family is one of the best premium SUVs around.
STRIKING STYLE: Jag's plush addition to the family is one of the best premium SUVs around. Michael Kennedy Photography

Testing the Jaguar F-Pace range: road test and review

PERPLEXED, the middle-aged gent circled an unknown beast.  

Starting with the growler on the grille, he was unmoved by the attractive woman attempting to get past and step inside.  

Reaching the shapely rear end (of the car) his head tilted. Jaguar.  

Yep, a Jag in sports utility vehicle guise. Welcome to the modern era of motoring.  

The marque boasting a foundation of beauty, hello Miss E-Type you magnificent thing, has gone big and bold.   These high riding wagons are all the rage. Heck, the Cayenne saved Porsche. Even Maserati now has the Levante.  

The Jaguar F-Pace.
The Jaguar F-Pace. Michael Kennedy Photography

The F-Pace arrived this year with 12 derivatives of the diesel and petrol variety and an options brochure rivalling War and Peace.  

Starting from less than $80,000, we sampled a trio of these modern Jaguars (I'm sure that constitutes a pack - jamboree actually) and were left disappointed and surprised. Unhappy we don't own one, and astounded by an ability to defy gravity.  

So is the big SUV that good?

While there would have been some strong input from their fine Range Rover colleagues, Jaguar's initial crack at a crossover is an absolute cracker.  

Turning and sprinting like a well-sorted sedan, there is little, if any, performance compromise. All three vehicles we sampled rode on massive 22-inch rubber which aided grip, but the low profile tyre did generate some road noise.

The Jaguar F-Pace in First Edition specification.
The Jaguar F-Pace in First Edition specification.

Silky smooth and punchy was the range-topping 35t - a supercharged V6 petrol. That comes with a retail price circa $100,000... but it's certainly a worthy investment.  

It's quick too with a lovely turn of speed off the mark.  

When it comes to the diesels, the 3.0-litre option would be the choice over its 2.0-litre counterpart for those chasing more burly results. Pushing nearly two tonnes, the greater capacity is the better match for its muscular attributes, and while the smaller unit remains honest in the majority of situations, those who like an instantaneous response under their right foot will love the bigger oil-burner.  

The V6 turbo diesel will haul from standstill to 100kmh in 6.2 seconds (the smaller diesel is more than two seconds slower), while the V6 petrol gets the job done in 5.5.  

The Jaguar F-Pace.
The Jaguar F-Pace.

Does that mean it's all straight-line show and go?

Despite the ride height attacking bends can still be done with enthusiasm.  

Remarkably sharp, the large SUV turns in beautifully, feeling smaller than the dimensions dictate which also makes it simple to park.  

What does it cost to run?

The supercharged petrol proved a little thirsty with an average of 11 litres for every 100km, while the 3.0-litre diesel achieved about eight litres, and the 2.0-litre was a touch under seven courtesy of some highway travels.  

Servicing can be reasonable with Jags, so be prepared, while the trade off for the car-like performance will be tyres and brakes (especially if you live in a hilly area). For those who love the big wheels, get set to pay about $1000 a corner for the Pirelli P Zeros.  

The Jaguar F-Pace.
The Jaguar F-Pace. Michael Kennedy Photography

What's the feature list like?

Here is where the bottom line can climb quickly. There are an array of cool options, but they come at a cost.   Like colours: only solid white and black are no cost. All metallics are $1800.   

Others worth considering are four-zone climate control ($1800), digital radio ($900), Pro nav with larger touch-screen ($2500), surround camera system ($2050), and shock horror, Jaguar Smart keyless entry ($1800, although it is standard on Portfolio models).  

There is also an impressive innovation ($640) where you can lock the keys in the car via a watch-styled device via a tap on the boot. Perfect if you are going for a run, surf or other activities.   

Only problem for us was it took 15 minutes to get back in the car.   

The Jaguar F-Pace.
The Jaguar F-Pace. Michael Kennedy Photography

How is the space?

There is excellent, head, leg and shoulder room in both rows. Our family road trip had the 40-20-40 folding rear seat come in handy as the boot swallowed four bags and an adult bike with the front wheel and seat removed.

Storage areas are thoughtful, with a spot for phones close to the USB and auxiliary port, along with dual cup holders in the front console and large pockets able to handle bottles in the doors.  

Jaguar F-Pace
Jaguar F-Pace

The lowdown?

Larger than a Porsche Macan and Audi Q5, while smaller than a BMW X5 or Audi Q7, the F-Pace has shoehorned itself into an interesting position.  

While it adds to the lengthening list of faux off-roaders, it's a brilliant blend of space and grace.   

There is no doubting the English craftsmanship with a refined interior, while on-road it offers enjoyable performance.   

On paper the value looks sharp, but most will want to visit the comprehensive options list to get the vehicle which meets prestige expectations.   

The Jaguar F-Pace.
The Jaguar F-Pace. Michael Kennedy Photography

Vital statistics

Model: Jaguar F-Pace.  

Details: Five-door five-seat all-wheel drive large luxury sports utility vehicle.  

Engines: 20d - 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel generating maximum power of 132kW @ 4000rpm and peak torque of 430Nm @ 1750rpm; 30d - 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel 221kW @ 4000rpm and 700Nm @ 2000rpm; 35t - 3.0-litre V6 supercharged petrol 280kW @ 6500rpm and 460 @ 4500rpm.  

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic.   

Consumption: 5.3L/100km (combined average, 2.0TD), 6.0L/100km (3.0TTD), 8.9L/100km (3.0SC).  

Performance 0-100kmh: 8.7 secs (2.0TD), 6.2 secs (3.0TD), 5.5 secs (3.0SC)  

Towing: 2400kg (175kg ball weight). 

Bottom line plus on-roads: R-Sport 20d $80,044, First Edition S 30d $117,164; S 35t $103,135.  

The Jaguar F-Pace.
The Jaguar F-Pace. Michael Kennedy Photography

What matters most

What we liked: Strong and prestigious design, well-specified models are ultra-luxurious.   

What we'd like to see: More features standard, active key work properly.  

Warranty and servicing: Three-year unlimited kilometre warranty. Service intervals are every two years or 34,000km with the 2.0-litre diesel, and annual or 26,000 with the V6 models. Capped price servicing for five years or 100,000km, $1100 (2.0TD), $1500 (3.0V6), $1750 (3.0V6 TD).   

The Jaguar F-Pace.
The Jaguar F-Pace.

The verdict

Driving experience  17/20  

Features and equipment  14/20  

Functionality and comfort  18/20  

Value for money  15/20  

Style and design  18/20  

Total  82/100

The Jaguar F-Pace in First Edition specification.
The Jaguar F-Pace in First Edition specification.


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