Jaguar F-Pace S is one gorgeous, raunchy sounding and hugely competent luxury SUV
Jaguar has been rather late to the luxury SUV party, especially when rivals such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz have been producing SUVs in various shapes and sizes for almost 20 years. Manufacturers such as Porsche and Audi have also come to the party more recently with their respective models and Maserati has just announced the Levante.
Jaguar’s entrant to the posh SUV category is the F-Pace, which, in traditional Jaguar style is utterly beautiful, and in our opinion, the best looking SUV in the world.
A range of engines are offered, starting with the Prestige 20d (2.0 litre diesel) which is priced from $74,340 and climbing to the racy F-Pace First Edition 35t, which is powered by Jaguar’s 3.0 litre supercharged V6 and has a recommended retail price of $120,416 plus on road costs. All models are fitted with an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive as standard.
We tested the sports oriented F-Pace S, with the supercharged V6. Prices for the version start at $103,136 plus on road costs and options.
What we like:
- The inherit sense that the F-Pace is a true Jaguar
- Raunchy exhaust note
- Plush cabin
Not so much:
- Quality issues
- Cabin is only really suited to four people
- Engine can be a little coarse at times
- Not a great deal else
Climb aboard the F-Pace and, if you’re familiar with other contemporary Jaguars, you’ll notice that the dashboard draws heavily from that in the XE small sedan, with the F-Pace’s own bespoke flair thrown in. We particularly liked the light strips built into the door trims, which provide green ambient lighting at night, a colour which has become a Jaguar trademark.
The switchgear has been borrowed from the rest of the Jaguar range, as has the touchscreen – our test car had the larger screen and digital instrument cluster as per the XF R-Sport 30d – so everything is simply laid out and easy to use.
Aesthetically, there’s something that blends classic lines with a modern twist. It’s pleasing to the eye and the materials are pleasing to the touch, but there was some evidence of cost cutting, as it was more the evident that the F-Pace’s dash could easily be configured for left-hand drive markets, hinting that Jaguar is aiming for the American market with the F-Pace.
Irritatingly, there were a couple of quality gripes too, with a very squeaky front passenger door and the odd – but very subtle – rattle in the cabin when driving along.
The front seats are fabulously comfortable and in our test car were wrapped with a chocolate brown leather. The front and rear seats are heated, and our test car had the optional heated steering wheel for the chilliest of winter days. Head and leg room up front are more than fine though. Climb into the back though, and one will find that the rear bench is only really suitable for two passengers, with tight leg room and a tall transmission tunnel encroaching on legroom.
Rear headroom is sufficient rather than plentiful. Backseat passengers are treated to their own set of climate controls mounted on the back of the centre console ensuring that passengers don’t become parched on those hot days.
The cargo area is accessed by a powered tailgate and storage space is a useful 650 litres with the rear seats in position and 1740 litres with the rear bench folded down.
The F-Pace S comes with Jaguar’s active wristband, a clever device that allows users to lock the key in the car when they engage in intensive sporting pursuits. To unlock the car with the band, simply hold it up to the “J” on the tailgate and the car will unlock.
Under the Bonnet
The Jaguar F-Pace S 35t is powered by a 3.0 litre supercharged petrol V6 that produces 280kW@ 6500rpm and 450Nm @4500rpm. The engine makes an appearance in many other Jaguar models including the XE, XF and the jaw-dropping F-Type sports car, in two different tunes.
The F-Pace S 35t has the most powerful version, which is mated to that eight-speed auto and a loud and proud exhaust system.
It is apparent that Jaguar has tuned the F-Pace S exhaust to sound like the Jaguar inline sixes of old. And with the F-Pace’s popping, crackling and rasping at various points of the rev range it appears that Jaguar has largely achieved its objective and not only does the F-Pace look different to any other SUV on the road, it sounds different too.
Exhaust histrionics aside, the V6 is smooth and rapid, delivering excellent power throughout the rev range. The eight-speed auto can be a little hesitant in keeping up, though.
Jaguar claims a 0-100 time of around 5.5 seconds, which is rapid for any type of car. Yet the F-Pace S just doesn’t feel that quick, glance down at the speedometer though and you’ll be more than likely be breaking the speed limit.
As per a number of other Jaguar models the F-Pace’s drive settings can be tailored to the driver’s individual needs.
Average fuel consumption is quoted as 8.9 litres per 100 kilometres on a combined cycle, however we managed 12.3 litres on a combined cycle during the test week. Noticeably different from the official figures, but still respectable for a car of this size, engine displacement and power.
On the Road
On the road the F-Pace S is, put simply, sporty. And it is here – other than the interior – that the F-Pace S feels like a true Jaguar. The steering is involving and communicative and allows the F-Pace to corner with aplomb, the ride is firm but comfortable and the F-Pace isn’t just fun to drive by SUV standards, it’s fun to drive by conventional car standards.
The F-Pace S is an SUV that is just at home on a fast twisty country backroad as it is doing the daily school run.
Visibility is generally acceptable, however can become limited at the rear courtesy of that high belt line.
The Jaguar F-Pace is covered by Jaguar’s three year/unlimited kilometre warranty.
Name: Jaguar F-Pace S 35t
Engine: 2995cc supercharged petrol V6, 280kW @ 6500rpm and 450Nm @ 4500rpm
Price: $103,136 plus on road costs and options
Country of Origin: England