Marrying excitement with practicality isn’t an easy task in any industry. Many car brands have tried it with SUVs, SAVs, crossovers, all with various degrees of abominations that barely mask the true intent — to sell the brand to a new audience.
Jaguar has been slow to pounce on this segment of the market, and that hesitation has perhaps given it a greater chance to see where the others have failed before launching its F-Pace.
It’s a case of hit and miss even despite the wait, proving that it’s not a welcoming segment of the market. But, it’s a game the majors have ventured into — from Porsche’s Cayenne to the Maserati Levante and Bentley’s Bentayga.
Jaguar has opted to try and keep the shape of the F-Pace low, with a suggestion that what you see may match its name. To some extent, it does deliver, the three-litre V6 propelling you to 100kmh in around 5.5 seconds.
To add to this impressive performance, the five-seater is also endowed with strong lines that are pleasing to the eye. The long bonnet rises in a gradual gradient, eventually sloping to the back, so the rear drop off doesn’t appear too drastic.
Since this is a car for various purposes, it offers the kind of space you will find that caters to the family as well as the businessman. There’s a huge boot, accessed via a kicking motion along the corner edges of the bumper, so the large door doesn’t sweep you off your feet.
With its larger internal spaces, the F-Pace makes seating for five a comfortable experience. The rear window seats are able to recline for a more comfortable sitting angle. Though it doesn’t quite let you recline to take in the sky view when the glass roof is fully exposed.
While the F-Pace may seem like a car for more mundane purposes, Jaguar has included the adventure seeker in the mix. The F-Pace comes with a waterproof activity key, which can be worn like a bracelet that will lock and unlock the car, allowing you to leave your key in the car (temporarily disabled), so that you can go sky diving or swimming without having to worry about where to keep your key.
The interior is a bit of a mixed bag. InControl Touch Pro connects with your devices easily and delivers a range of features that will make your journey very comfortable. The electronics and displays are clear and sharp, and the Meridian sound system delivers with enough oomph. The seats are comfortable, but the plastics cheapen the look. Tapping on the binnacle yields a hollow sound that is more old-world Japanese car than English luxury.
The three-litre V6 tested here is not short on power. It’s quick to get going, and with a choice of driving modes, lets you vary your driving experience
Firing up the engine is a raspy affair, and after a few gulps of air, it does get into a more purposeful purr. It’s an odd sensation, though, when you’re driving and you gun the engine. The engine doesn’t roar it kind of snarls, but it sounds a bit distant.
Jaguar’s torque on-demand all-wheel drive has been configured to preserve rear-wheel agility, but onboard computers will ensure you have enough juice in all wheels to get you through varying terrain.
City driving can be a bit of a hard run, with a slightly edgy feel to manage. But maybe that’s part of its charm. With power on tap, you need to be reminded that the F-Pace is also able to offer excitement over refinement.
Its evolution will be worth watching.
JAGUAR F-PACE PRESTIGE TECH SPECS
Engine: V6 supercharged, 24 valves
Max Power: 250kW@6,500rpm
Max Torque: 450Nm@4,500rpm
Top Speed: 250kmh
Retail price: *$287,999
Please reconfirm price with dealer.
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