IT'S one of the holy grails of the car designer... how to make an SUV which blends true sporting appeal - as its genre implies - blended with everyday usability and practicality.
Building poise and dynamic ability into a high rider without sacrificing space and comfort is a difficult conundrum to conquer. But the rewards are high, while failure produces just another bland and boring family chuckwagon.
Porsche managed the near-impossible with their Cayenne and Macan, and so did Jaguar with their terrific twins, the F-Pace and E-Pace.
Now there's an addition to the broad F-Pace range is the shape of the D300 Sport, a luxury five-seater with a turn of speed and an athleticism that wouldn't seem out of place in sports saloon or hot hatch.
The key to establishing the right formula, even more than outright pace, is driver involvement - allowing whoever's behind the wheel to know and feel what's going on at road level.
The D300 headed up the range update earlier this year and is powered by a 3.0litre V6 diesel pushing out 297bhp which is channelled through an eight speed auto gearbox and all wheel drive.
With jaguar's sporting and racing heritage much to the forefront, it is vital their first SUV continued the theme. Despite its height and weight, plus the four-wheel drive mud-lugging capability, it feels manoeuvrable and composed through curves with only limited body roll.
The steering sends messages back to the helm helping incisive driving and delivering more driver satisfaction than most crossovers. Ride is generally composed and comfy although it might be even better with smaller diameter wheels than the 22-inch ones fitted.
In normal circumstances the F-Pace is driven by its rear wheels, but in slippery conditions power is fed as necessary to the front ones as well.
On the performance front, 62mph coming up in just over six seconds puts it towards the head of the pack, as does its maximum of 150mph. More significant than outright punch is the mid-range clout which allows fast, safe overtaking. The slick ZF automatic box plays its part in the process of making this a fast, easygoing express.
Diesel power guarantees reasonable economy, and the mid 30s should be within reach of most owners - pretty good for such a large, weight vehicle.
As you'd expect, the cabin is tastefully designed and attractively appointed. It's no longer cutting edge styling and the touchscreen infortainment centre is now showing its age a little, both in usage and appearance.
300 Sport logos are embossed on the floor mats and headrests with contrasting yellow stitching, reminding you that it's a little special. This dash of flash may not appeal to all owners.
The front is roomy yet cosy, while those in the back may feel a tad short-changed in the legroom department. Boot space of 650litres is generous and the rear seatbacks split and fold 40-20-40 boosting practicality. Families, however, might wish for more oddments space around the cabin for their clutter.