Jaguar F-Pace

Feline SUV scratches the surface on local roads

RYAN LEWIS

FIRST AUSSIE DRIVE

JAGUAR has billed its first SUV as the practical car for people who love driving. Our first drive at the international launch (Wheels, June) proved this to be a fair assertion, no Kool-Aid required. Now, though, it’s our chance to see how its pricing, spec and chassis tune translates to Australian roads.

F-Pace is built on the same architecture as the accomplished Jaguar XE, an all-aluminium framework that places it among the best-handling mid-size SUVs.

This debutante certainly has the credentials to back up the claim.

Hidden behind a bluff fascia and sleek, ridged bonnet is one of three engine choices in Aussie variants. F-Pace Prestige 20d opens the batting at $74,340 with a 132kW/430Nm 2.0-litre turbodiesel four. Above that sits a 221kW/700Nm 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel dubbed 30d, with the range topped by a 3.0-litre supercharged petrol V6 known as 35t.

The latter comes in two states of tune; 250kW/450Nm in Prestige, Portfolio or R-Sport trim and 280kW/460Nm in S and the flagship First Edition variant – only available during the initial 12 months of sale for $120,415.

Diesels are where the majority of sales will likely come from long term, and both the 2.0-litre four and 3.0-litre V6 earn their keep. The economical four-pot Ingenium engine lacks take-off urgency but carries speed easily.

The creamy and refined V6 diesel surges with a supercar-rivalling 700Nm of torque.

Yet the bulk of F-Pace’s performance credibility sits with the supercharged petrol V6. It’s a brute of an engine, especially in 280kW trim, and generates a raucous intake growl as revs climb, accompanied by an aggro exhaust bark that’s more audible from outside the car than inside.

Why must the driver miss out on the theatre?

Designer Ian Callum has given the F-Pace dimensions that sees it sit between BMW’s X3 and X5.

Eyes are drawn to its exaggerated proportions that herald the litheness and athleticism Jaguar’s engineers have sought to instil underneath.

The steering is where they’ve had the most success – arguably F-Pace’s standout quality. It’s

01 SPACE RACE

Aussie-spec F-Paces make do with 508 litres of cargo space (rather than the 650 litres seen overseas) due to the inclusion of a space-saver spare, not an inflation kit.

02 ACTIVE WEAR

An optional wristband ‘Activity Key’ ($640) can be worn surfing, sailing or beaching while the normal key is secured inside the car. A swipe of the wrist over a sensor in the bootlid activates the door locks.

03 WHAT? WHERE?

F-Pace is not without ergonomic eccentricities inside, like quasi Range Rover window switches on top of the doors and seat-memory position buttons where the switches should be.

SPECS

Model Engine Max power Max torque Transmission Weight 0-100km/h Economy Price On sale el e rre een n t hhy yye eee e Jaguar F-Pace S AWD First Edition 2995cc V6 (90°), dohc, 24v, S/C 280kW @ 6500rpm 450Nm @ 4500rpm 8-speed automatic 1861kg 5.5sec (claimed) 8.9L/100km $120,415 Now