2017 Jaguar F-Pace S – Perfecting the SUV on the first try!

When an automotive brand decides to make an SUV, nine times out of ten, it is destined for failure. People may be unfamiliar with the vehicle, it may not stand out enough, it may not be good or it’s just plain ugly.

There is no denying that Jaguar’s current lineup of vehicles is just gorgeous; from the F-Type, up to the recently refreshed XF, and now they bring us the F-Pace. An all-new model bringing everything people love about modern Jaguars, to an SUV.

And I couldn’t be more excited to try it out!

Huge thanks to Jaguar & Weber Shandwick for this amazing weekend ride.

Jaguar made an SUV, so what you may ask, but the fact is, I think this SUV might be the best SUV on the market today and they have managed to achieve this from their first attempt. Impressive.

Let’s break the F-Pace up into little bits and see what it is all about.

Let’s start with some technical information

The Jaguar F-Pace comes in several models and trims but the main true differentiator is the engine. The F-Pace starts with a
– 2-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with 250 horsepower 365nm of torque, capable of a 0-100 time of 6.8 seconds and a top speed of 217km/h, then a
– 3-liter supercharged 6-cylinder engine with 340 horsepower 450nm of torque, capable of a 0-100 time of 5.8 seconds and a top speed of 250km/h and finally
– The range-topping F-Pace S with a tuned version of the 3-liter supercharged 6-cylinder engine with 380 horsepower 450nm of torque, capable of a 0-100 time of 5.5 seconds and a top speed of 250km/h.

All models have all-wheel drive and power is delivered via a smooth, efficient and responsive 8-speed automatic transmission.

Jaguar has put a lot of effort into the design of the F-Pace to ensure it has a high level of aerodynamics and this has affected the overall looks, wind noises, and overall efficiency. In my weekend with the F-Pace S, I have managed to achieve approximately 13l/100km while the official numbers are approximately 9l/100km. I think for a vehicle with the power it has and way I was driving it (quite sporty), it did really well.

The F-Pace is quite sporty and has engines that help you experience that sportiness to the max, but there are a lot of things that Jaguar has done to make sure this sportiness actually happened.

The construction is 80% aluminium, has unique suspension technologies and new additions such as their front knuckle that fits right behind the wheel offering more rigidity, support and overall agility.

A lot of work has gone into suspension work, and the F-Pace has aluminium double front wishbone suspension designed similarly to the F-Type for precise handling and control, and integral link rear suspension focused on responsive handling and refined ride quality. Another feature standard on the F-Pace S is their adaptive dynamics suspension system which constantly monitors wheel positions and body movements to make necessary adjustments to the suspension setup to provide better results for the driving mode selected, whether for comfort or sport.

All this tech matted to a gorgeous body and beautiful interior brings Jaguar’s first SUV right through to the top SUVs available in the market – targeting regular customers interested in an SUV all the way to enthusiasts with the F-Pace S.

Now let’s take a tour around the outside of the F-Pace S

What they have essentially done is take the prettiest bits and pieces from the XF, XE, XF and put them into an SUV design generator and voila, you get the F-Pace.

Let’s start from the angle everyone getting out of your way will see, the front.

The F-Pace has a very muscular physique with large bonnet curves, wheel arches, grille and air vent openings giving it quite a mean looking stance.

You get the signature Jaguar front grille with a subtle, let obvious, S badging identifying this as their top-of-the-line sportiest model

I think the lowest bit of the vehicle could have been a little less busy without having to look like it was separate and an add-on as well as those lights.

LED accented front headlamps with the obvious J-shaped daylight running lights and massive front openings for all the air-intake the turbocharger needs. Full LED headlamps are also available as an optional extra, and you would be a total tool not to order it because it makes this vehicle drop-dead-gorgeous.

It is my absolute favorite thing when car manufacturers go the extra mile and add tiny, but significant touches to make the ownership experience a little more special, like the Jaguar logo embedded into the sides of the headlights. They do nothing, but they are there, because they want it there and because you’ll like it.

Moving down to the sides, the muscularity continues with strong shoulder lines, side skirts, chunky door handles and side mirrors.

On the side, you’ll find a Jaguar labeled air vent giving a sportier look to the vehicle, but I am not too sure if that is actually functional.

This particular model came with their 20 inches, 5-spoke, gray and diamond turned wheels but you have a wide selection of wheels ranging from 19 inches all the way up to 22-inch wheels!

There is a bit of chrome around the front and sides of the vehicle, but I really appreciate how the window surrounds are black, and not chrome like most car manufacturers do.

And finally, we come to the back, where Jaguar has copied their sexist taillights (from the F-Type) and pasted it on the F-Pace drawing board.

The roof line has a very sporty slope downwards, with a rear spoiler giving it a very cool, modern sportscar look. The small rear window and high taillight position add to the sportiness even more. There is a bit of a gap before you end up with the silver painted rear bumper and dual exhausts.

The vehicle has front parking sensors, and a rearview camera positioned right below the Jaguar logo.

Speaking of which…

Allow me to introduce you to the Jaguar Activity Band. What does it do? It replaces your keys!

If you’re taking the F-Pace to the desert, beach, or if you are going to get really dirty and want to leave your keys behind, you can wear the Activity Band which can lock and unlock the vehicle by tapping the band to the “J” on the rear Jaguar logo. How brilliant is that?!

To conclude this section, I think the F-Pace is one of the best looking SUVs available on the market today. It is not super sporty, luxurious, tall or hardcore, but is the perfect balance between a capable off-roader, a beautifully elegant vehicle, and a sports car.

Now let’s check out what Jaguar has done on the inside

If Jaguar has taken every single good bit from its lineup for the exterior of the F-Pace, what do you think they did with the interior?

Exactly the same!

Everything in the F-Pace S is very Jaguar, which is not a bad thing because they look amazing these days. They may not be ultra-modern like you see from vehicles coming in from Germany, but they have very good, high-quality materials, lovely pieces of technology, sufficient features and soft-touch materials all around the cabin.

From the driver’s view, there is a large 12.3-inch digital instrument panel with virtual dials. This display can fully cater for the driver’s needs from basic trip information, speedometer, tachometer, GPS and vehicle options.  There is a light bit of customization in what gets displayed on the screen permanently, and in typical Jaguar style, turn red when Dynamic Mode is activated.

The center screen is now called “Touch”, which is an 8-inch touchscreen, with buttons on the side catering all the features a driver needs, or the “Touch Pro”, as fitted in this review vehicle, which is a massive 10.3-inch touchscreen matted to a Meridien sound system.

This system is possibly the fastest that Jaguar has ever released, and is very fluid, easy to understand and has tons of features. The screen size is not everything that is important on an in-car entertainment system and I think the resolution is more important, which Jaguar has nailed as well.

There are beautiful customizable themes, colors, and modes to fit everyone’s need, and also a bunch of apps. Yes, Jaguar now has apps.

Jaguar has done a great job selecting the seats of the F-Pace S, with the sportier seats and side bolstering. This ensures that you’re in place when you take this sporty SUV for a little Jaguar-like speedy maneuvering. They are very soft, comfortable and fully covered in leather.

Comfort seats in other models would have heated/cooling seats, but not an option on these sports seats.

Speaking of seats, they are positioned in such a way that you’re seated high enough to see around you, and over the front bonnet, but also sitting low within the vehicle. This gives you a sporty driving position but in an overall higher-riding sportscar. It is weird, but damn works.

Rear seats in the F-Pace are adequate but I would not be able to call them spacious. They are comfortable, slightly reclined giving more space and have decent legroom.

The rear roofline is sloped downwards so headroom is a little bit of a challenge and due to the high shoulder line, the rear window is a little high for most people. Children in the back seat, may not be able to see outside as well.

To counter the smaller rear windows, Jaguar fitted the F-Pace with a large panoramic glass roof, to bring in as much light and openness to the cabin.

Quad air conditioning zones mean that different temperatures and fan speeds can be selected for either side of the rear seats, as well as individual power outlets.

The rear trunk is quite spacious for a vehicle of this size but has a higher boot floor than would be practical for most people. As for raw space, the rear seats can be folded down for the biggest amount of trunk space, up to 1600 liters.

One thing Jaguar has pulled off better than most manufacturers is how the interior lighting looks at night, absolutely gorgeous.

One thing to be noted is that the central green/turquoise lines remain in that color regardless of the ambient light color selected.

Looks great on the inside and on the outside. So..

How does it drive

Jaguar has done something quite incredible with the F-Pace. It feels like you’re driving a sports car, almost like the feeling you’d get from the F-Type, but you’re sitting in a higher, more comfortable and spacious version.

Power delivery is really good. The 3-liter 6-cylinder engine is supercharged so there is a little lag when you need that kick but it does come and does come quite well. The throttle response is very good and smooth and the 380 horsepower is very satisfactory for a vehicle of this size.

380 horsepower feels just right on the F-Pace S; it is neither “too fast” or “good enough” and is in that sweet spot. Sure, driving enthusiasts would want more and I could totally imagine an F-Pace SVR one day, but as it is, it gets the job done, very well.

One thing these 380 horses do not have, unfortunately, is a brilliant noise. The exhausts are fairly quiet and smooth, you can (by working hard) get them to sound sporty, but it doesn’t want to sound like an F-Type, and I so wish it did a little.

I wanted to talk about driving dynamics a little since they did put a lot of effort into this.

Jaguar did a great job with the all-wheel drive setup on the F-Pace capable of directing up to 100% of engine torque to the front wheels if needed and they crammed in a ton of stability control systems.

Dynamic Stability Control monitors behavior, intervening to maximize vehicle stability and optimizing available grip. DSC reduces engine torque and applies braking to the appropriate wheels to correct the car’s direction of travel by counteracting understeer or oversteer. The DSC system has enhanced understeer control to reduce speed and regain control more effectively. Engine Drag Torque Control reduces the chance of wheel lock-up caused by strong engine braking in slippery conditions.

After quite a bit of on-road driving, I decided to take the F-Pace off-road, a territory new and odd for a Jaguar.

It definitely was a very capable machine, but it felt a little too tight, controlled and very well put together that I felt a little concerned that I might break something. The terrain was quite stiff, with rocks, sand, and mud but if there is one thing I was able to take away from this, it was that the Jaguar did do it all. All it needed after going off-road, was a wash and we’re good as new.

I would never imagine the F-Pace to be a vehicle purchased by an owner who wants to go off-road with it, but I definitely have the confidence that if he or she ever had to, it would be capable.

What does this all mean

All of this, and it has been quite a lengthy review, means that Jaguar has pulled off what could possibly be, the perfect vehicle.

2017 Jaguar F-Pace S - Rear View

Let me break that down for you:

  1. It looks gorgeous and if the white one I had looked good to you, do check out a darker color with their full LED headlights
  2. It is modern, elegant and classy on the inside as well, with a lot of technology at the tap of your finger
  3. It is powerful, especially if you’re in an S model with 380 horsepower and a 0-100 time of 5.5 seconds
  4. it is capable, after all, it is an SUV with all-wheel drive, a decently elevated ride height and a lot of driving modes and monitoring systems
  5. It is fun, having a lot of dynamic control, stability, and power distribution systems
  6. It is fairly spacious, having easy capacity for 5 people and a sizable trunk

It is quite hard to fault the F-Pace. It is not perfect, but it is an incredible machine and to think Jaguar never did this before, is incredible. If you’re in the market for an SUV, the F-Pace should be one you look at, take for a test drive and experience it for yourself!

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