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Jaguar F-PACE R-Sport 2.0d AWD

Jaguar F-PACE R-Sport 2.0d AWD

Ian Donaldson, 2017-07-16

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THERE'S a comfy hotel convenient for a coffee stop where the owners' Aston Martin and Range Rover are sometimes parked out the back.

They were joined soon after its launch by a Jaguar's F-PACE, the company's first venture into the wildly fashionable territory of the upmarket SUV.

Mr and Mrs Hotelier weren't alone in spotting the desirability of the big Jaguar with oodles of road presence and the sort of stance that's made people want a Range Rover for decades.

But coming from the same JLR stable as the Rangie, the new Jag had to offer something different.

You might call it Jaguar-ness, which translate into a car clearly meant to entertain at sporting speeds on the road rather than claw its way - however elegantly - across a grouse moor.

That Jaguar hit the bulls eye was quickly apparent as the F-PACE overnight became the fastest selling car in Jaguar's history, outpacing the next most popular model, the XE saloon, by two to one.

It won't be long before a smaller E-PACE arrives to give buyers a less expensive way into a Jaguar SUV and don't bet on something bigger than the F-PACE later to mop up the more moneyed end of the market.

That doesn't mean the F-PACE feels small, anything but, in fact. This is a big car, not quite as broad as a Range Rover but feeling wide enough to slow you down on a country road and making tight parking spaces an exercise in concentration.

The range starts with a £34,730 2.0-litre diesel with manual gears, rear wheel drive and a modest 161bhp. It might look potent from the outside, but this one really isn't.

You might want to zip straight to the more powerful 177bhp version of the same engine, part of a range of powerplants built in a vast new complex in the Midlands that is already being expanded.

Under the bonnet of the F-PACE, this more burly Ingenium engine produced performance sufficient to move this big car along briskly enough, accompanied by a an overly gruff engine note if pushed too hard.

There was better news on economy, with the trip computer showing an excellent 43mpg after more than 500 miles of varied use. That counts as a result in a car with stretching room for five and a boot big enough to swallow a holiday's worth of luggage.

Find the right road - smoothly flowing fits the bill perfectly - and this F-Pace revealed the Jaguar-ness built into its genes from the off.

Helped a bit by optional larger, 20-inch alloy wheels (£1,200) and the automatic transmission prodded into sport mode the car now felt like the sporty SUV you'd hoped for, with a decent ride and firmly positive steering doing their bit too.

Higher up the range there are more powerful diesel and petrol engines on offer, topping out at over £65,000 for the most luxurious model. Not many will take that road, on these shores at least.

The R-Sport tag is a mainly a cosmetic variation, taking in a body kit with different bumpers and slashes of gloss black and satin chrome applied in places like roof rail, side power vents and window surrounds.

Standard kit includes cruise control, satellite navigation, leather trim, climate control and a powered tailgate.

Fast Facts

Jaguar F-PACE R-Sport 2.0d AWD

Price: £41,330

Mechanical: 177bhp, 1,999cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 129mph

0-62mph: 8.7 seconds

Combined MPG: 53.3

Insurance Group: 29

C02 emissions: 139g/km

Bik rating: 29%

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