Jaguar F-Pace D165 S

Jaguar F-PACE, 2021, side
Jaguar F-PACE, 2021, front
Jaguar F-PACE, 2021, rear
Jaguar F-PACE, 2021, seats
Jaguar F-PACE, 2021, gear lever
Jaguar F-Pace, interior

IT seems only a blink of an eye ago that Jaguar bosses swore blind they would never build an SUV.

Now their best selling model - by a large margin - is the high-riding F-Pace which has clocked up more than a quarter of a million sales globally. Ah, well ...if you can't beat them, join them!

This year, five years after the big five-door was introduced, it has been treated to a mid-life refresh. With a few nips and tucks externally, slimmer headlights and a new mesh grille, it looks suitably freshened.

The cabin and facia have also been updated and now all F-Paces have automatic gearboxes, and all-wheel drive.

Baby of the diesel range is the 2.0 D165, which starts at a smidgeon more than £40k - a lot of car the money with bags of presence and decent dynamics.

The latest instalment of the established diesel engine is a definite improvement with excellent sound-proofing and a pleasing lack of vibration. With a zero to 62mph time of just under 10 seconds, it's no firebrand, but neither will it get left behind, thanks to ample torque and a well calibrated auto gearbox, which is fitted with steering wheel paddles.

The facia is dominated by a large 11.4in touch screen which works pretty well providing you have a smooth stretch of road in front of you. Climate control is operated by rotary dials which push and pull as well as turn.

The electrically adjustable seats, standard on the S version driven here, are supremely comfortable and offer good support. No shortage space either front or rear, but unlike some large SUVs, the F-Pace is a pure five-seater, without the option of a third row of seats.

It handles and hugs the road as a Jaguar should, ie with well controlled suspension that inhibits roll but does not deliver a harsh ride. Even more impressive is the precise and communicative steering, a rarity in high-riders.

Judged against rival SUVs, the ride is a tad firmer, but this rarely translates into to discomfort thanks to clever damping.

Despite its considerable girth, the F-Pace is miserly on fuel. Even driven with a degree of gusto it returned 41mpg for us.

Practicality has to be at the heart of an SUV, and the Jaguar fulfils its role family holdall role well with no less than 650litres of cargo space in the boot. Rear seats split 42/20/40 for greater flexibility and there are luggage rails to anchor items down if required.

It's worth remembering, however, that the load platform is set quite high if you're transporting heavy items. The tailgate is power assisted.

Parking sensors and rear-view screen are useful aids when parking, especially since the rear screen is quite small for tricky manoeuvres.

For those who demand gear performance, there's a more powerful D200 version with 204bhp, which sacrifices little in terms of economy while adding a bit of extra punch.

FAST FACTS

Jaguar F-Pace D165 S

Price: £41,865

Mechanical: 1,997cc, 4 cyl diesel, 163bhp engine driving 4 wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 121mph

0-62mph: 9.9sec

Combined MPG: 42.1

Insurance Group: 29

C02 emissions: 170g/km

Bik rating: 36%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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