If you want to get behind the wheel of Jaguar’s first ever SUV – the eye-catching F-PACE, then you better be quick. It’s already become the fastest-selling Jaguar ever, and the waiting list is getting longer writes Ian Strachan.
Hardly surprising, this award-winning car is creating a sector all of its own – the practical luxury sports car.
Don’t be fooled by its off-roader looks. This is not a Land Rover, and doesn’t pretend to be. It’s every bit as sporty as its companions in the Jaguar stable, with exhilarating performance. But it has bags of room inside and lots of practical features. It has already picked up Car of the Year and Compact SUV of the Year accolades.
Despite being an SUV it still has sleek lines and classy design cues worthy of the Jaguar badge. My only small criticism of this excellent vehicle is that maybe the designers could have gone even further to make it more distinctive. From a distance, side-on, it could be a Mazda or a Kia. But from the front you are left in no doubt, with its huge grille and Jaguar badge.
My test vehicle was powered by a smooth two litre diesel unit (three litre petrol and diesel versions are available) which delivers smooth, fast acceleration and great high-speed cruising. Despite being an SUV this is a Jaguar how Jaguars used to be, and is obviously superbly made.
The 2.0 180 horsepower diesel unit is excellent. This is a big car, but its aluminium construction makes it a featherweight – easy for this engine to propel while still being quiet, refined and responsive.
Married to a silky-smooth eight-speed automatic gearbox this unit will propel you from 0 to 60 in just 8.2 seconds.
Ride and handling is as smooth as you’d expect from a Jaguar, and the F-PACE benefits from excellent suspension which absorbs bumps well and improves overall handling and dynamics. Automatic vehicle response responds to driving conditions.
The interior of the F-PACE is the ultimate in subtle style and its here that you know you’re in a Jaguar. Classy without being showy. The sumptuous perforated leather front seats have 10-way electronic control with memory function to get the perfect position. The heated rear seats have a useful 40:20:40 split, and will fold flat to increase load space. The tailgate is electronically controlled with extra stowage under the boot floor.
Specification levels are high on the Portfolio spec which I tested and include satellite navigation with touchscreen control, cruise control, front and rear parking aids with camera, traffic sign recognition with intelligent speed limiter, lane departure warning, automatic stop/start, keyless entry and ignition, DAB radio, roof rails, heated front screen, headlamp wash, dual zone climate control and rain sensing wipers
My test car also came with smart 20 inch alloys (£800), and 360 degree parking aid (£780) and perpendicular parking system (£450).
The F-PACE isn’t cheap – you wouldn’t expect it to be. The 2.0 litre 180 PS diesel in Portfolio trim which I tested comes at £42,860 on the road, but you can get behind the wheel of an F-PACE for less; the entry models start at £35,020.
This really is a superb car – and another great leap forward for Jaguar. With a high quality British-made vehicle like this available who would even want to consider anything else?