Jaguar F-Pace 20D Prestige a tempting offering (at the price)
What is it?
Jaguar’s take on the SUV phenomenon. Designer Ian Callum will rabbit on about its sinewy lines, but let’s get something straight – an XK it ain’t.
I mentioned the F-Pace to a friend as a possible replacement for his three year old Range Rover Sport, itself a successor to the Q7.
“A Jag? That’s a bit wanky isn’t?” Mr G quipped.
“What? A Range Rover’s not?”
The F-Pace will appeal for the same reasons as other SUVs, plus of course it’s the first Jag with which you can actually tow something – a boat for instance.
It’s easy to get in and out of and the high driving position makes dealing with the cut and thrust of city traffic easier.
Then there’s the badge which in many ways is what it’s all about.
The thing is, however, the interior doesn’t quite live up to the dashing good looks – at not in the base model.
There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just a bit plain Jane for our liking with its piano black inserts and satin chrome trim.
What’s it cost?
This entry model Prestige 20d is priced from $73,430.
By the time you add on roads and the inevitable extras (let me tell you there’s a long list of them) that figure could easily leap frog the $80K mark.
The price gets you a 2.0-litre turbo diesel, eight speed auto, gear change paddles, all-wheel drive, 19 inch alloys, leather, two-zone climate, power adjust front seats, satellite navigation, auto lights and wipers, 8 inch touchscreen, 380 watt 11-speaker Meridian audio and a power operated tailgate.
A reverse camera, front and rear park sensors, lane departure warning and autonomous emergency braking are also part of the deal.
But as good as it sounds, it’s a bit light on for a vehicle of this stature, suggesting the Prestige is little more than a carrot to get customers through the door.
What’s it go like?
Okay, providing you’re not a demanding driver.
The Ingenium aluminium diesel is noisier than expected, more like an old school rattler with plenty vibration and harshness.
It likes to get into high gear early and stay there to save fuel too, lugging a lot of the time around 1600 revs.
Put the boot in and it takes a full two seconds for the turbo to spool up and the car to get moving from a standing start.
That can be a bit nerve-racking.
And while the dash from 0-100km/h takes a reasonable 8.7 seconds, even at full tilt overtaking is not the no brainer it should be.
BUT it does go round corners rather well, sitting nice and flat with plenty of grip – thanks to a stiff, lightweight mostly aluminium chassis.
Engaging sport mode and using the paddles to change gears has a transformative effect, really bringing the car to life.
Torque vectoring is standard and makes minute adjustments with the brakes to keep the vehicle from understeering through corners.
Good to see auto emergency braking is standard, but blind spot and lane keeping assist remain optional.
Rated at 5.3L/100km, we were getting 7.0 after 500km.
What we like
- It’s a Jag. It’ll impress your friends and neighbours.
- It’s a very comfortable fit for five people, with plenty of rear legroom and a good-sized boot.
- The ride quality is surprisingly good even on badly maintained back roads.
- For an SUV it’s fairly agile and doesn’t mind tackling corners faster than your average SUV.
- Standard torque vectoring helps to prevent understeer.
- Given its size and weight fuel consumption is excellent, but nowhere near that claimed.
- On board computer is well laid out and easy to use.
- Reversible luggage compartment floor is rubber backed in the event of dirty loads.
What we don’t
- It just doesn’t feel like a luxury vehicle.
- Where’s the wood, where’s the leather smell and where’s the Leaper?
- The engine is too noisy.
- It spends too much time lugging in high gear.
- It’s easy to bump your noggin getting in and out because of the steeply raked roofline.
- Any colour but basic black or white incurs an $1800 charge, twice that in the case of premium colours.
What are the alternatives?
- Range Rover Sport SD4S, from $90,900
A very successful car for Land Rover, but considerably more expensive. You get the same 2.0-litre diesel, but teamed with a 9-speed auto in this case (same company of course).
- Mercedes-Benz GLE 250d, $89,455
Benz’s mid-size offering and a formidable one. It’s also more expensive but well worth a look, especially the equipment list.
- Volkswagen Touareg 150TDI, from $68,9903
The Volksy doesn’t have quite the same cachet, but with a sharper price tag and proven performance, it won’t disappoint. Doesn’t mind getting its feet dirty either.
Sale or no sale?
Yes and no. We like the car and the price is super competitive, but perhaps not this model. If money isn’t the issue, there’s a 3.0-litre version that will blow it into the weeds.