Jaguar’s F-Pace in the COTY mix
It was only a matter of time before the world was introduced to an SUV from Jaguar. We say this because the brand’s sister company Land Rover, has a fair bit of expertise in building these vehicles and would therefore have some valuable tech and know-how for the Big Cat brand to make use of. As a SA Car of the Year finalist, the F-Pace has proven that Jaguar is indeed on form.
The F-Pace has been styled to fit in with the rest of the Jaguar range, so up front there’s the rather sizable trademark grille, while the front lights feature a slanted brow, making the car seem quite angry most of the time. Its side profile strikes a sporty silhouette with a design that emphasizes length which when coupled with the larger wheel options makes the car look a lot lower than what it really is ( with 213mm of ground clearance). At the rear enthusiasts will appreciate the F-Type-style tail lights and chunky rump. The overall design has stayed true to the original C-X17 concept from 2013, which is a good thing and should make the car something of a status symbol.
The interior is a pleasant place to be, from the digital instrument cluster, infotainment set-up to the overall impression of quality.The interior does give the impression that you’re driving something a bit closer to the ground; it cocoons you as a driver, wrapping itself around you more than most SUVs. There are two infotainment screen options, namely the InControl Touch and InControl Touch Pro. The latter is something that must be ticked in the option list as it adds a smart phone-like experience to the vehicle interface. With Bluetooth, USB, Jaguar on-call services as well as application compatibility along with a larger, button-free screen, it is a more sophisticated look and feel.
Driving the powertrains
The three engine options available in the F-Pace are all in their own unique way, very impressive. The base model features a 132kW/430Nm 2.0 litre diesel motor which is both fast enough to be considered fun and efficient enough for every day driving with a claimed consumption figure of 5.3 litres/100km. Our pick of the range is certainly the 3.0 litre diesel. It has 221kW/700Nm on tap, meaning a 0-100km/h time of 6.2 seconds, effortless overtaking and reasonable fuel returns. If you’re interested in a great soundtrack and having the fastest F-Pace around there’s a supercharged V6 petrol engine available in 35t and 35t S trim. The former produces 250kW/450Nm and the latter 280kW/460Nm, with both getting to 100km/h in less than six seconds. All local models come with the superb ZF 8-speed automatic gearbox as well as an all-wheel drive system that as I discovered, is rather clever.
What’s it like to drive?
Well, it is really very refined and car-like on the road and even on the track. We found the ride to be composed while tackling a variety of roads. It munches miles and is impressive on gravel roads too. On to the track stuff, with a high centre of gravity, it is never going to set lap records, however, it was interesting to see how the torque vectoring and heavy suspension makes for a big car that can be fun around a circuit.
The new F-Pace is a very impressive entrance for the brand in to the SUV segment. It is still quintessentially a Jaguar with sporty dynamics and road presence, however, with the SUV dimension added there’s something that the market wants as we shift to these types of vehicles. It certainly is one to watch in this edition of the annual SA Car of the Year competition.