Jaguar F-Pace

Portfolio 2.0d AWD

Jaguar F-Pace, front
Jaguar F-Pace, front
Jaguar F-Pace, front
Jaguar F-Pace, side
Jaguar F-Pace, rear
Jaguar F-Pace, 2016, interior
Jaguar F-Pace, rear
Jaguar F-Pace, interior

THE idea of Jaguar producing an SUV might have seemed a strange one a few years ago but given the veritable explosion of new models in this fast-growing segment it makes perfect sense.

Throw into the mix the fact Jaguar is the sister company of the most famous SUV manufacturer in the world and it starts to seem like a no-brainer.

Jaguar is growing-up fast and becoming much more than just a niche marque that turns out stylish sports cars and sought-after executive saloons.

I'm sure there are purists who don't like that very much, who perhaps recoiled in horror when design supremo Ian Callum came up with the XF - the vehicle that signalled a distinctly new direction for Jaguar.

They may have further sniffed down their noses when Jaguar unveiled an estate car - the XF Sportbrake.

So for some, an SUV may well be a step too far.

However you have to put it into some sort of context.

Jaguar is part of a fast-growing car company that has big ambitions and wants to sell a million cars a year as soon as is practically possible.

It's around halfway there currently and the other half of the company - Land Rover - is several steps ahead when it comes to delivering successful sales figures.

The Jaguar line-up needs to grow to achieve that ambition and a big part of that will be an SUV/crossover range. The F-Pace followed the XE compact saloon and in turn it too will be followed by a smaller SUV.

In line with Callum's other Jaguar creations the F-Pace oozes style and its Jaguar DNA is instantly recognisable in its sleek and distinctive profile.

In truth it must be genuinely difficult to deliver an SUV that looks genuinely sporty.

Porsche's original Cayenne was way wide of the mark, though it didn't seem to dent its popularity and it proved immensely successful.

The second generation model has made a better stab at it, as has the smaller Macan.

The F-Pace succeeds in this regard too - it looks great.

It also manages to do so without sacrificing practicality at all and beyond those svelte and sporty design lines is a family-friendly SUV that's comfortable, spacious and versatile.

The interior is plush, again exuding the Jaguar family DNA.

The dominating feature is still that pop-up circular automatic gear selector.

Pioneered on the original XF and now a common feature across the Jaguar Land Rover Range it's amazing how fresh it still looks and feels.

The F-Pace's cabin is pretty much perfectly proportioned and I loved the lighting strips that accentuate its flowing design lines.

In terms of the range there's a choice of around 12 models and a choice of rear-wheel or all-wheel drive versions.

Prices range from just over £40,000 to around £66,000 and engine-wise you can choose from two diesels - a 178bhp 2.0-litre or a 296bhp 3.0-litre - or a 375bhp 3.0-litre petrol unit.

I imagine the majority of UK cars sold will feature the 2.0-litre Ingenium engine fitted to this car.

A thoroughly decent unit it may lack a little in terms of refinement but it performs well in the F-Pace.

It might be quite a big vehicle but a raft of weight-saving measures - including the extensive use of aluminium - ensure it's not carrying around too many surplus pounds.

Indeed I was quite taken aback at just how much power could be extracted from this relatively modest unit, which also impresses in terms of both economy and emissions.

Another great thing about the F-Pace is a suspension set-up that is just about as good as one could ask for in a large SUV.

FAST FACTS

Jaguar F-Pace Portfolio 2.0d AWD

Price: £42,860

Mechanical: 178bhp, 1,998cc, 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: 30

C02 emissions: 139g/km

Bik rating: 27%

Warranty:3yrs/unlimited miles

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