Jaguar F-Pace 3.0d

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

IT'S hardly surprising that the ‘baby' two-litre Jaguar F-Pace is proving most popular...it's cheaper to buy and costs less to run than its beefier brothers.

But if your pockets are deep enough, the six-cylinder three-litre diesel is a treat worth forking out for.

It's one of the few SUVs that can, at the stab of an accelerator, transform itself from all-purpose family mud-lugger into a vibrant sports car with deft handling and a serious turn of speed.

It's not merely that the 3.0d has oodles of power - 296bhp to be precise - it's that it knows how to transfer he horsepower to the road and is capable of gliding through tight bends or sweeping curves with a dynamism that's out of reach to most large saloons let alone off-roaders.

Two aspects set the F-Pace ahead of the pack - its rear-biased four wheel drive system which sends more power to the back wheels and a steering system that, in typical Jaguar style, feeds back so much information to the driver, making the car easy and satisfying to manoeuvre quickly around even the most tortuous roads.

Obviously, even clever engineers can't completely obviate the vehicle's sizeable girth and height, and there are times you are reminded of its high centre of gravity, but it remains immensely wieldy and fun to pilot.

Put into statistical terms it disposes of the 62mph sprint in a swift six seconds and tops out at 150mph. More noticeable to most owners than traffic light grands prix will be its ability to pick up its heel for rapid mid-range overtaking or neatly accelerating to join a motorway from its slip-road.

An eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox is standard issue on the three-litre diesel and it does a very fine job with slick, smooth changes and an innate capability of being in the right ratio for the conditions.

On the practical side, the F-Pace is roomy front and back with space for five adults. The boot has a reasonably low platform for loading heavy items easily. It is among the most generously proportioned load bays with space for 650litres of cargo before the back seats are folded down.

The cabin is a pleasing place to spend time with quality mouldings, leather seating and soft touch materials. There's plenty of tasty kit too including dual zone climate control, rear view camera, sat-nav and power tailgate. Beware, however, it's a wide car and squeezing into supermarket parking bays isn't always easy.

This car came with big 22-inch alloys which look the part but tend to make the ride a tad knobbly over all but the smoothest surface. Smaller wheels prove more appropriate for our imperfect and pock-marked roads.

If you are after the best economy it's probably wiser to for the smaller two-litre diesel, nevertheless the more powerful model managed around 32mpg in my eager hands. The official combined figure is 47.1mpg.

FAST FACTS

Jaguar F-Pace 3.0d

Price: £51,450

Mechanical:296bhp, 2,998cc, 6cyl diesel engine driving 4 wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 150mph

0-62mph: 6.0 seconds

Combined MPG: 47.1

Insurance Group: 42

C02 emissions: 159g/km

Bik rating: 33%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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