Jaguar has thoroughly updated its F-PACE mid-sized sporting SUV. Jonathan Crouch takes a look.
Ten Second Review
The F-PACE has taken Jaguar in a bold and different direction and this updated version is a further step forward. With an assertive new exterior, a beautifully crafted all-new interior, latest generation Pivi Pro infotainment and the choice of in-line four and six-cylinder engines including PHEV and MHEV technology, this latest Jaguar F-PACE is more luxurious, connected and efficient.
If there's one type of car that epitomises this period in motoring history, it's the SUV. So many buyers desire them and Jaguar wants a slice of this action. As a result back in 2015, the British company brought us its first ever model of this kind, the F-PACE, complete with high-riding driving position, four-wheel drive and even some decent off-road ability. Five years on, it was updated to create the car we're going to look at here.
Lower range models are pitched against desirable versions of prestige-branded compact SUVs like BMW's X3 and Audi's Q5, while quicker F-PACE variants must match up against the likes of benchmark performance models in this segment like Porsche's Macan and AMG versions of the Mercedes GLC. All of this requires Jaguar's mid-sized SUV to be more than merely very good: it has to be brilliant. Is it? Let's find out.
The F-PACE is still arguably the best car in its class to drive, helped by its lightweight aluminium underpinnings; it's certainly the best to ride in. But much has changed beneath the bonnet. The engine range here has been completely overhauled and only one of the powerplants now on offer - the base 250PS P300 four cylinder petrol unit - fails to be in some way electrified. All the diesels now feature the brand's MHEV mild Hybrid tech. There are a couple of 2.0-litre diesels, the D165 (163PS) and the D200 (204PS). Plus a 3.0-litre six cylinder diesel, the D300 (300PS). Mild Hybrid tech also features in the mid-range petrol model, the P400 (400PS), which has a six cylinder 3.0-litre engine. The priciest PHEV Plug-in Hybrid variant, the P400e uses a 2.0-litre petrol unit with 404PS and 640Nm of pulling power mated to a 105kW electric motor powered by a 17.1kWh battery. 62mph from rest in the P400e takes just 5.0s and when fully charged, the car can offer up to 33 miles of WLTP-rated all-electric driving range.
All engines are paired with Jaguar's eight-speed automatic gearbox, which can be controlled using the steering wheel shift paddles for added driver engagement. All-wheel drive is standard across all F-PACE models and Intelligent Driveline Dynamics provides rear-wheel drive biased performance, with the ability to vary torque to individual axles almost instantly depending on conditions. The chassis has been updated to support the introduction of the new electrified engines And there's an updated version of the 'JaguarDrive Control' suite of driving modes. Here, 'Comfort', 'Eco', 'Rain-Ice-Snow' and 'Dynamic' modes adapt the F-PACE's steering, transmission, throttle and (when specified) Adaptive Dynamics settings.
Design and Build
The visual changes here are subtle but effective. There's now a more sculpted bonnet with a wider power bulge and more precisely defined surfaces. It flows down into a larger grille with 'diamond' detailing, while the side fender vents now feature the iconic 'Leaper' emblem. The front bumper's been re-designed and there are new super-slim LED quad headlights with 'Double J' Daytime Running Light signatures. At the rear, re-designed slimline lights feature Jaguar's 'double chicane' graphic. And the bumped and tailgate now have a more sculpted look.
It's a bit different inside too. There's a sportier-looking centre console that sweeps up to the instrument panel which features a new 'Pivi Pro' 11.4-inch curbed-glass HD touchscreen in an elegant magnesium alloy casing. The Drive Selector for the auto gearbox has been re-styled too and the door casings now have more of a premium feel with a smart 360-degree grab handle. The seats have also been re-designed and feature wider cushions.
Otherwise, things are as before. You may sit higher than any other Jaguar but it still feels more sports car than SUV and there's no seven-seat option. There's comfortable space for a couple of adults in the rear. And you get a decently-sized 650-litre boot, extendable to 1,740-litres via a 40:20:40-folding rear bench.
Market and Model
Prices start from around £40,000 for diesel variants - and from around £48,000 for the conventional petrol model. The PHEV petrol model costs from around £56,000. There's a base trim level with the base D165 diesel, but otherwise, the core trim levels are 'S', 'SE' and 'HSE', with 'R-Dynamic' options for each.
All models get Premium LED headlights, LED tail lights and wheels of at least 19-inches in size. Inside, there's two-zone climate control and 8-way powered front seats trimmed in 'Luxtec' man made leather. You get an 11.4-inch centre dash 'Pivi Pro' touchscreen with Connected Navigation, plus a DAB sound system and 'Apple CarPlay'/'Android Auto' smartphone-mirroring. There's also a 3D surround camera, cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, JaguarDrive Control drive modes and the All Surface Progress Control system for icy, slippery roads.
'R-Dynamic' models get a special body kit and unique 19-inch 'Style' 5-spoke Gloss Black wheels. Plus 12-way powered front seats upholstered in Ebony perforated leather with contrast stitching. There's also an 'R-Dynamic' steering wheel and a powered tailgate. Safety kit includes Emergency Brake Assist, Lane Keep Assist and a Driver Condition Monitor. There's also traffic Sign Recognition with an Adaptive Speed Limiter.
Cost of Ownership
This improved F-PACE possesses a set of economy and emissions figures that many a smaller, slower vehicle would be proud of. Let's get to the WLTP-rated figures. The MHEV 2.0-litre four cylinder mild hybrid diesel unit in the base D165 model manages up to 45.4mpg and CO2 emissions of up to 163g/km. As for the six cylinder models, the D300 variant's 300PS 3.0-litre unit returns up to 38.1mpg and 194g/km. All the diesel variants now use advanced MHEV technology (also featured on the six-cylinder petrol powertrain) which features a Belt integrated Starter Generator (BiSG) to harvest energy usually lost when slowing and braking. This energy is then stored in a separate 48V lithium-ion battery before being intelligently redeployed to assist the engine when accelerating away, as well as delivering a more refined stop/start system.
What if you'd rather fuel from the green pump? Well, the conventional P250 petrol model's 2.0-litre 250PS petrol unit manages combined cycle fuel economy of up to 30.4mpg, with CO2 emissions of up to 209g/km. If you can stretch to the top P400e PHEV Plug-in Hybrid variant, you can get some really eye-catching figures - up to 130.2mpg and up to 49g/km of CO2. Fast Charging (32kW DC) is capable of delivering 0-80 per cent charge in 30 minutes while a domestic 7kW wall box can provide a charge of 0-80 per cent in as little as one hour 40 minutes.
The F-PACE has been well received - and with good reason. Look at it, drive it and analyse it and you feel you've a product born out of generations of development. It's hard to believe this was Jaguar's first stab at the SUV segment. The brand's decision to stay true to its principles has helped enormously here. This could have been a re-badged Range Rover, or simply a clone of the rival German models already well established in this market. Instead, the F-PACE has its own identity.
All of which leaves this Jaguar as a very tough act to fault, especially in this improved form. It's still one of the stand-out contenders in this corner of the SUV market, no small achievement when you look at the quality of the competition. True, it might not be as rough road-ready as a Land Rover product. Or as track-tailored as a Porsche Macan. Most buyers in this segment though, don't want a mid-sized luxury SUV at either of those two extremes. They want a car like this. A sporting SUV to savour.
Jaguar's mid-sized luxury SUV has proved to be an impressive contender. But how does it stack up in pricier F-PACE S 3.0-litre Diesel guise? Jonathan Crouch drives it.
Ten Second Review
The F-PACE takes Jaguar in a bold and different direction and will be crucial to the brand's future if it's to expand its sales and take on key rivals. It brings a well-judged compromise of class, performance and capability to the luxury mid-sized SUV segment that provides a tempting alternative to the established German players in this sector. In short, this car was well worth the wait. Let's try it in potent 3.0-litre Diesel 'F-PACE S' guise.
If there's one type of car that epitomises this period in motoring history, it's the SUV. So many buyers desire them and Jaguar wants a slice of this action. As a result, the British company has finally brought us its first ever model of this kind, complete with high-riding driving position, four-wheel drive and even some decent off-road ability. Welcome, to the F-PACE.
With this car, there should be the potential for the kind of properly driver-orientated handling dynamics that a Jaguar SUV really ought to have. And will need if it's to realise marketing ambitions that in price and performance see tough and well established competitors being targeted. Quicker F-PACE variants like the 3.0-litre Diesel S model we're trying here must match up against the likes of benchmark performance models in this segment like Porsche's Macan. That'll require Jaguar's first SUV to be more than merely very good: it has to be brilliant. Is it? Let's find out.
Jaguar wants this F-PACE to be a class leader when it comes to driving dynamics in this segment, an objective helped enormously by its lightweight aluminium architecture. Further aids in this regard include torque vectoring to maximise cornering traction and a defiantly rear-biased AWD system that never diverts more than 50% of its power up-front, a process that happens in milliseconds as soon as the first signs of wheel slip are detected. The 3.0-litre Diesel S variant we're testing here uses a 300PS 3.0-litre V6 unit that puts out 700Nm of torque, powers you to 62mph in 6.2s and tops out at 150mph. Impressive figures, but possibly rather more than you actually need - in which case, the lesser four cylinder 2.0-litre 180PS Ingenium diesel variants beckon.
This 3.0-litre derivative comes only with AWD and an 8-speed auto gearbox. Change ratios for the auto transmission are one of the things that can be tweaked via the settings of the 'Jaguar Drive Control' system, a set-up that also adjusts steering feel and throttle response to suit the way you want to drive. If you want to go further and make the 'Jaguar Drive Control' settings more fundamental in altering the driving character of the car, then you'll need to spend extra on the optional 'Adaptive Dynamics' adjustable damping system your dealer will want to tell you about.
Design and Build
It says much that Jaguar markets this F-PACE as a 'sportscar', albeit a very practical one. The stylish shape is pretty much exactly what we saw from the Coventry company's C-X17 prototype, a car unveiled back in 2013 at the Frankfurt Motorshow. In production form, the lines are just as eye-catching, Chief Stylist Ian Callum refusing to be constrained by the SUV sector's usual aesthetic design cues, instead delivering a much more dynamic silhouette, with a roofline lower and closer to the road than anything else in the segment.
Take a seat inside and you experience the so-called 'Sports Command' driving position. This delivers the kind of high-set authoritative seating placement that SUV drivers like so much, without perching you so far up that you lose the feel of being an integral part of the whole experience. The whole cabin ambience is designed to make anyone coming to this car fresh from one of Jaguar's saloons feel instantly at home, with the dials, the switchgear and the rising circular gear selector you get on automatic models all familiar fare. As for practicality, well the boot is accessed via a powered tailgate which rises to reveal one of the largest luggage compartments in the mid-sized SUV segment, offering a 650-litre capacity that's 100-litres bigger than you'd get in, say, a rival Mercedes GLC.
Market and Model
If you're fortunate enough to be able to consider a top V6-engine 'F-PACE S' variant like the car we tried, you'll need a budget of just over £50,000. As for rivals at this level, well in addition to the priciest six cylinder sporting versions of the Mercedes GLC Coupe and the BMW X4 (which cost only a fraction less), you'll probably also be looking at Porsche's Macan. The Macan certainly has great dynamic appeal and a directly comparable variant costs around £7,000 less. Against that though, the Porsche has less power, a smaller boot and actually probably wouldn't cost you a lot less to buy, once you'd brought its specification up the standard of this Jag.
Equipment for 'S'-level F-PACE buyers includes huge 20-inch alloy wheels with large 350 millimetre front disc brakes, a bespoke 'S Body kit' and an 'Adaptive Dynamics' system that also allows you to tweak suspension settings via the various 'Jaguar Drive Control' modes. There's also 'Windsor' leather upholstery with 10-way electric seat adjustment at the front, plus a rear view camera and a 380-watt 11-speaker Meridian sound system, as well as all the usual executive segment niceties, including satellite navigation built into the InControl infotainment system.
Cost of Ownership
Inevitably, if your F-PACE comes fitted with the more potent 3.0-litre V6 diesel we tried, rather than the less 2.0-litre diesel unt, it won't be quite as cheap to run. Nevertheless, 47.1mpg on the combined cycle and 159g/km is a pretty good showing, almost identical to that of a comparable Porsche Macan diesel.
A three year unlimited mileage warranty is standard with the F-PACE, although this can be extended with a number a couple of different plans that include a cover for an MOT test failure up to £750, as well as the normal cover for most electrical and mechanical systems. Service intervals are every two years/21,000 miles.
The F-PACE has been well received - and with good reason. Look at it, drive it and analyse it and you feel you've a product born out of generations of development. It's hard to believe this to be Jaguar's first stab at the SUV segment.
All of which leaves this Jaguar as a very tough act to fault. It's one of the stand-out contenders in this corner of the SUV market, no small achievement when you look at the quality of the competition. True, it might not be as rough road-ready as a Land Rover product. Or as track-tailored as a Porsche Macan. Most buyers in this segment though, don't want a mid-sized luxury SUV at either of those two extremes. They want a car like this. A sporting SUV to savour.