Jaguar F-PACE -

First Drive

Jaguar F-PACE, 2016, action
Jaguar F-PACE, 2016, side, action
Jaguar F-PACE, 2016, rear, action
Jaguar F-PACE, 2016, side, cruising
Jaguar F-PACE, 2016, off road, side
Jaguar F-PACE, 2016, interior
Jaguar F-PACE, 2016, instrument panel
Jaguar F-PACE, 2016, front, action
Jaguar F-PACE, 2016, instrument panel, map
Jaguar F-PACE, 2016, seats
Jaguar F-PACE, 2016, AWD badge
Jaguar F-PACE, 2016, front
Jaguar F-PACE, 2016, static
Jaguar F-PACE, 2016, boot
Jaguar F-PACE, 2016, boot, maximum
Jaguar F-PACE, 2016, actvity band, use
Jaguar F-PACE, 2016, actvity band
Jaguar F-PACE, 2016, badge
Jaguar F-PACE, 2016, dashboard
Jaguar F-PACE, 2016, cutaway
Jaguar F-PACE, 2016, cutaway, engine
Jaguar F-PACE, 2016, cutaway, interior
Jaguar F-PACE, 2016, 3.0 V6 diesel engine
Jaguar F-PACE, 2016, grillle
Jaguar F-PACE, 2016, trim
Jaguar F-PACE, 2016, sockets
Jaguar F-PACE, 2016, rear seat controls

DRIVING a Jaguar the likes of which has never been experienced before is a defining moment and the great British brand is about to burst on to the scene with its first SUV.

The F-PACE is a quantum leap for the marque which has built its name on almost a century of lithe and luxurious sports cars and saloons.

Now it's getting into the crossover craze with a performance 4x4 that will change the way people look at SUVs.

And in true creative fashion Jaguar has come up with some special features that make the F-PACE a leisure vehicle like no other.

For outdoor types the car can be locked and unlocked from a waterproof wrist band - a simple solution that is a touch of genius to overcome the age-old problem of keeping your keys safe when out and about.

Then there's class leading cargo space and enough pulling power to handle 2.4-tonne loads putting the Jaguar ahead of the likes of the Audi Q5, the Porsche Macan and BMW's X4.

Made out of aluminium the F-PACE also has the edge when it comes to weight, tipping the scales at less than 1.9 tonnes which all counts when it comes to performance and fuel economy.

The F-PACE is built at the Land Rover works in Solihull where it will be produced alongside the new XE sport saloon - a model which helped Jaguar sales for March soar by 45 per cent over the same month last year with 5,659 models sold in the UK.

With the F-PACE pitching into the booming crossover market where sales across the globe are running into millions a year there are rich pickings to be had and the odds are it will become the best-selling Jaguar ever overtaking the XJ's 690,000 tally.

To make a mark the F-PACE has been styled to impress and priced competitively with the 12 model range running from £34,170 to £65,275.

Three engines are available including the 3.0-litre supercharged V6 from the F-TYPE and the home-grown 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel made at the company's new engine plant in Wolverhampton.

There is also a 3.0-litre V6 diesel mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox - a potent combination already used in Jaguar's saloons.

None lack punch but it is the big diesel which suits best delivering plenty of performance, surprisingly agile handling and real world economy close to 35 to the gallon.

The engine is fitted only to range topping S trim versions of the F-PACE where it is priced from £51,450 but it captures everything to be expected from an all-wheel-drive vehicle wearing the fast cat badge.

Leather upholstery, high class trim and a cockpit approach to the driving position give the F-PACE a proper Jaguar feel to the interior.

Technology such as a virtual instrument panel which can be configured in a variety of ways to show everything from conventional instrumentation to sat nav maps , a head up display and Jaguar's latest InControl Touch Pro sat nav and communications system make the cabin bang up to date and the space all round is generous with the back big enough for three.

There are also connecting points for phones, iPads and the like throughout the cabin and on the cars we have just sampled the feel was enhanced by panoramic sun roofs and classy ambient night-time lighting.

It is as posh and proper as a Jaguar should be - even one that is of king sized proportions.

The F-PACE is some four inches longer than an Audi Q5 but still looks sleek with its nose dominated by a large mesh grille and the tail echoing the F-TYPE's sporty design with its distinctive rear lamp clusters that themselves are a nod to the classic E-TYPE.

What is a letdown is the plastic square surrounding the front grille badge which protects the sensors fitted to all Jaguars which have automatic cruise control but appears more pronounced on the sizeable F-PACE nose.

Under acceleration, the diesel sounds meaty and purposeful while the supercharged engine delivers a splendid roar from the exhausts.

Both cost the same but you will be lucky to see 25 to the gallon in everyday use from the petrol version.

Jaguar rates the 3.0-litre diesel at 47.1mpg with emissions of 159g/km and the 3.0-litre petrol at 31.7mpg with a CO2 figure of 209g/km.

Acceleration times are closer at 5.1 seconds 0 to 60 for the petrol and 5.8 for the diesel but with masses of torque kicking in from 2,000 revs it feels the better and can be a real mile muncher.

The F-PACE sits on large alloys and generally the ride quality is good. It soaks up the bumps well with minimal drama through bends, even on mountain hairpins, although the 22-inch rims fitted to the £65,000 First Edition supercharged special gave a harsher experience which was not present on those shod with 21 or 20-inch wheels.

Four wheel drive is automatic and the F-PACE is fitted with the All Terrain Progress Control system developed by Land Rover for its off-roaders which gives added grip over poor surfaces. Think of it as low speed cruise control and it works a treat.

Ground clearance is more than eight inches and the F-PACE can wade through 20-inches of water and while there no low ratio gears it is a more than competent soft-roader.

Boot space is 650 litres stretching to 1,200 with the rear seats folded and the tailgate is power operated complete with gesture control (that means it can be opened by waggling your foot under the back bumper if your hands are full).

There's also a surround-view camera system to help when parking.

If the bases for posh SUVs are school-run mums, trendy dads and action-packed families then the F-PACE has all covered.

And if economy is also part of the equation then the cheapest version of the F-PACE can be had in rear-wheel-drive only and with a manual box mated to the Ingenium diesel engine.

It develops 180ps, has a 0 to 60 time of 8.5 seconds and Jaguar claims it's good for 57.7mpg with emissions of 129g/km - top class figures for an SUV.

We took an Ingenium powered automatic AWD F-PACE (official mpg figure 53.3) on a full blown eco drive during the car's global launch in Montenegro and notched up and notched up an average of 64.2mpg according to the onboard trip computer.

That's an amazing performance - but then being amazing is what the F-PACE is all about.

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