What is it? The Jaguar F-Pace is a ‘performance crossover’ taking on the premium SUV market.
What’s new? All of it.
Our view: Jaguar has charted a course out of its premium saloon/sports comfort zone towards SUV territory, but not so far that sister brand Range Rover should be worried.
Type of review: Taster test
Jaguar has realised that it really needs to be amongst the burgeoning numbers of premium SUVs. The brand’s three German rivals now have extensive SUV line-ups, and even the luxury market is going SUV, spawning the likes of the Maserati Levante, Bentley Bentayga, Aston Martin’s forthcoming DBX, and even a Rolls-Royce.
All are chasing the success enjoyed by Porsche with its Cayenne and more recently the Macan.
The trouble is, Jaguar already has a premium SUV range – it’s just that they are badged Range Rover. Any Jaguar SUV would spark a real prospect of taking sales from a sister brand.
Perhaps that’s why the Jaguar F-Pace is not like any rival – the company insists it is a ‘performance crossover’, not an SUV, and it looks very much like a muscled-up car rather than something one would hit the trail in – more Audi Allroad than Audi Q7.
The Jaguar F-Pace range is available in rear and all-wheel-drive format and with a choice of three powerplants. The 3.0-litre V6 diesel of 295bhp and the supercharged petrol unit, also of 3.0-litre V6 format and with 374bhp on tap, will satisfy those who expect Jaguars to boast plenty of power. By far the most sales, however, will come the way of the Ingenium 2.0-litre diesel version with 177bhp.
What do we think of it? So far, The Car Expert has had a mere 30 minutes in the Jaguar F-Pace, in the less than perfect environment of the busy roads around JLR’s new Wolverhampton engine facility, so a considered opinion will await a full road test. But on first slipping into the car it’s obvious that this is something different to its perceived rivals.
The surroundings are very familiar to anyone who has driven a Jaguar saloon, and driving the F-Pace feels like being in the new XF but placed rather higher up. It’s an initially odd sensation but one soon becomes accustomed to it.
The Ingenium engine pulls eagerly and the car’s road manners are impeccable. One struggles to imagine it straying too far from the tarmac, but then it’s likely that very few F-Pace owners will buy them for their off-road ability.
Verdict: With so little time in the car so far this verdict is very much first impressions, but it is clear that Jaguar has charted a course that takes the brand out of its premium saloon/sports comfort zone towards SUV territory, but not so far that sister brand Land Rover should be worried. The F-Pace looks to be a major advance for the brand, which is already being demonstrated – even in its first few months on the market, this is already the fastest-selling car in Jaguar’s history…
Jaguar F-Pace – key specifications
Tested model: Jaguar F-Pace R-Sport 2.0d 180PS AWD
Price: £40,360 plus £4,410 of options (Range starts £34,170)
On sale: Spring 2016
Engine: 2-litre turbo diesel, 177bhp, 317lbft
0-62mph and max speed: 8.7sec, 129mph
Economy and emissions: 53.3mpg, 139g/km
Test date: June 2016