I just love the fact that even Jaguar has dared to jump onto the SUV band wagon. The iconic British nameplate has always stuck to lavish, prestigious sedans and performance coupes. There would be many a traditionalist who has scoffed at the idea but after a week driving one, I’m convinced Jaguar has absolutely nailed it.
The 10 Minute Test Drive
Our test car was the 30d S F-Pace model. The S designation immediately gives the already attractive Jag a huge boost in sheer road presence. Bigger wheels, red brake calipers and edgy bumper designs really make the F-Pace standout.
The cabin is sumptuous, you’re immersed in whirl of leather, suedecloth and premium plastics that had me saying “wow” out loud from the outset.
The 10-inch infotainment screen is the best effort I’ve seen from Jaguar so far. The old system was clunky and I felt it lacked processing power. You’ll be whizzing through menus easily within minutes of using it for the first time.
Up front is a 3.0-litre diesel, one of four engines on offer. It’s a cracker and proof positive a diesel doesn’t have to send you mad with that typical clatter. It’s almost too quiet actually, the sprint to 100km/h is so effortless you don’t pick on just how brisk the world is actually passing you buy. The 0-100km dash is over within 6.2 seconds, that’s pretty impressive.
Jaguar has managed to turn the high riding F-Pace into a genuine dynamic drive. The steering while very light still manages to provide just enough feedback. The ride also hits the sweet spot, it just feels like a proper luxury car. Although road tyre noise is probably a little too invasive to really score an A plus here.
Ins And Outs.
The numbers are impressive for the 3.0-litre diesel model with a decent 221kW but more importantly an enormous 700Nm on offer. The latter allows for a decent shove in the back when your inner demon calls. The 8-speed transmission goes largely unnoticed, such is its level of refinement. All up the driveline is nothing short of superb.
All-Wheel-Drive is on offer but most of the time drive will be sent almost entirely to the rear wheels. However should the need arise drive can be sent to whatever wheel the sophisticated traction control system deems appropriate. The F-Pace can venture away from the tarmac if required, as the various off-road modes suggest. In fact you’d probably be surprised just how capable it is. But would you go mudslinging in a Jaguar? Probably not.
The S package adds numerous improvements, the highlights being 20-inch Blade 5 Spoke Grey and Diamond Turned finish Alloy Wheels, Red Brake Calipers, Taurus Leather and Suedecloth Sport seats with Contrast Double Stitching, Meshed Aluminium Headlining and very nice Satin Chrome gearshift paddles.
The Technology Inside
Aside from the now excellent 10-inch InControl Touch Pro infotainment display an optional 12.3-inch HD virtual instrument display is available. It’s not quite as elaborate as the offering Audi produces, but is still a very welcome feature. Currently Google Maps and expected connectivity features such as WiFi hotspots are not available, but will arrive on 2018 plated cars.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are glaring omissions, and JLR (Jaguar Land Rover) really need to get on board with those platforms as they are fast becoming standard in many other cars, and must have’s for buyers.
A heads up display is always a nice feature and a full raft of driver assist technology is on offer. But the single most noteworthy piece of tech is in fact the key of lack of. Jaguar have produced the “Activity Key” that is in short a waterproof wrist band that allows for re-entry even though the actual key has been locked inside. The days of wrapping your key in a towel while swimming are now long gone, sheer brilliance!
The Hip Pocket
Prices are dare I say are reasonable, considering what some of the opposition ask for. Our F-Pace S was $99,940 before on roads. But prices actually kick off at $74,340 for the F-Pace 20d Prestige and eventually top out at $120,700 for petrol powered 280kW F-Pace First Edition. I found the fuel economy to be excellent, I managed 7.8L / 100km, the claimed figure is just 6.0L / 100k.
EFTM Rubber Stamp.
The F-Pace is more than a luxury SUV. It’s a stylish, sophisticated daily drive that combines an exciting drive with all the practicalities SUV buyers look for. In fact upon reflection it is the most impressive offering I’ve driven this year. It’s easy to see why Trevor put this at the top of our list for the EFTM Best Luxury Car 2016 after driving it at the Australian launch. No question really, I award the Jaguar 30d F-Pace the EFTM Distinction Rubber Stamp of Approval.