Jaguar F-Pace: Not Just a Pretty Face Grafted to an SUV.

 

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Above and below: Iphone snaps

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Above right: frozen system, Left : ready to go, Below: mood lights

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Above: Audley weir café, Below: lunch in the park

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Above: perching on the rear floor, Below: Bald Hill Lookout

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Below: Pictures from Jaguar

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No indeed, Jaguar pushed the boat out on their chic new SUV. They’ve ensured it was more than just a handsome face and bum grafted on to an generic SUV. Don’t be fooled by the shape, this is a real Jaguar, and, a real SUV.

There is a well-developed design language across the JLR (Jaguar Land Rover, just in case you’re wondering) portfolio: sexy and luxurious quality, with a unifying face.

The F-Pace has been ages in coming, and was launched internationally in a spectacular full sized loop-the-loop. See it below.

Our Supercharged 3.0L V6 pumps out 280kw and 460Nm through a delicious 8 speed auto. It does the 0-100 dash in 5.5 seconds while drinking only 8.9L/100k. Yeah, I believe all of it until I get to the fuel consumption claims which were a trifle optimistic as it turns out.

Outside:

The familiar Jaguar front end continues an evolution from the gorgeous but old fashioned, to the luxurious and cutting edge. The adaptive LED headlights with inbuilt “J-blade” daytime running lights brings a sharp look that began with the XF all those years ago. Since 2007, the company has gathered a Euro-like look to use on every model, and it has paid off. The large slightly retro grille evokes an era of the early XJ saloons crossed with a bit of E-Type, but if I squint very hard, I can also see a tiny bit of Audi.

Huge 22” wheels should make the ride rubbish, but this is a jag, and it doesn’t. The rump sports a smart set of XF-like LED tail lights which wrap well around the sides.

Also accessible from the outside is F-Pace’s party trick. Along with your keys, you get a rubber wrist band. You can wear it in the water so no longer do you have to hide your car keys when you go for a surf.

Here’s how it works: take your key from your pocket and stow it somewhere inconspicuous like the glove box. Attach the wrist band, get out of the car, and make sure all the doors are shut. Go around to the rear and place the front of the wrist band on the letter “J” in Jaguar. The car will lock while disarming the key you left inside. Even if it is stolen, the key is useless. When you come back to your car, hold your wrist over the “J” and press the unlock tab as if you were going to open the tailgate. Voilà, the car is unlocked and the key re-engaged. It is a stroke of genius. Think of the many times you’d be afraid of losing your keys and now don’t have to.

Inside:

It looks and feel likes an XF or XE. The console, dash board, seats, and materials all feel familiar. F-Pace has the new audio system which is still a little buggy. Mostly easy to use, it will come over all moody and sulk between commands. Some actions may need to be done several times before the system decides to co-operate, and at speed, this can be annoying.

Apart from those little foibles, F-Pace is perfection. As usual there are a fistful of pricey options to allow customisation. They come in packs to “save money” which is a bit of a ferfy in a car costing <$100k. The main point about the cabin is that it feels exactly like any other Jag, with the advantage of a little extra head height and ground clearance.

There are touches of would grain or metal depending on how you choose your trim. The seats have more buttons than mission-control (seat back and bottom, lumbar up/down/in/out, Squab and bolsters), with the mirrors, windows and door lock button on the doors close by. It means one hand can access all controls without having to reach.

There also are controls and settings in the centre driver’s LCD as well as in the infotainment system. I’d like to see all controls in the centre console. It seems silly to have them split so the driver sometimes has to play a guessing game to find lesser-used options. If all settings were found in the centre stack, the steering wheel buttons and driver’s LCD could just be auxiliary controls. However, we all remember how awful the first I-Drive was in the Bangle 7 series don’t we?

Having said that, many functions have been subsumed into to infotainment system. Settings such as Interior coloured mood lighting, and seat heating can be found in the menu system. You can swipe side to side like a mobile phone, and use a “pinch” action on the map screen. Jaguar has done a lot to make this jaguar-fpace-supercharged-v6-gaycarboys (2)as user friendly as possible, but there are a few hiccups to be ironed out in future software updates. The infotainment system is responsible for making the centre console look so clutter-free. There are some rear seat controls for the multi zone air conditioning, and the zones can be synced in the menu system.

It wouldn’t cricket to move on without mentioning the gear selector which is a rotary dial. When the starter button is pressed, the dial rises out of the console. When the engine is switched off, the system selects “park”, lowers the dial, and activates the parking brake. This system is also used in Jeep Grand Cherokee, and has resulted in people being injured or killed by not using the parking brake. One of the Star Trek actors was killed when his Grand Cherokee pinned him down after he got out to close gates. It is believed the system jumped into gear, and without the brake, started moving. However, others say he left the car in either drive or neutral and the Hill Start Assist held the car long enough for him to jump out. It then let go allowing the Jeep to roll forward. Either way, the safest car in the world won’t fix stupid. Always use the parking brake, always.

The pictures show a clean, luxurious interior that feels well planned and well made. I particularly like the soothing blue lighting which bathes the cabin in the evenings. It even makes a special guest appearance in the scuff plate on the floor inside the rear hatch too. It’s the sort of touch whose absence you wouldn’t notice, but looks elegant and tasteful being present.

The Drive:

It’s a Jaguar.

Oh, you want more? Yes, I see you point.

The F-Pace feels special in a way that most SUVs don’t. You might well ask why Jaguar has bothered when Land Rover and Range Rover already make excellent SUVs. That’s a very good question. The answer is a simple one: any brand that doesn’t have an SUV range probably won’t exist in 10 years’ time. Sure, there are a few exceptions, but the love affair with bulky bodies is raging out of control. Jaguar knows this. They’ve been smart by getting in now to get buyers used to the idea of a “Growler” on the grille of a soft roader, and sales have been good. Jaguar has sold 2,452 units so far this year, compared to 965 this time last year. F-Pace accounts for a staggering 566, second to the striking XE which has sold 1,333 units. Remember, F-Pace has only been on sale a short while. Jaguar is up 64% this month on the same month last year, and an astonishing 151% compared to this time last year.

F-Pace and XE are Jag’s biggest sellers so buyers obviously think JLR has the cars just right. More-over, it means Jaguar always needed cars in this price range, and in these segments. The punters were gagging for it and have voted droves.

F-Pace performs well at low speed. It is easy to park despite the bulk. You can take full advantage of parking spots with the cameras that allow tight low-speed moves. It is only a matter of time before cameras become mandatory. In fact Emergency Autonomous Braking (AEB) probably will too. It will certainly be required for 5 star safety ratings.

The V6 is lively enough in standard mode, but changing the drive mode to Dynamic brings the throttle to life. You can sprint away at the lights like Flash Gordon, not that you should of course because that would be very very wrong.

As impressive at it is around town, F-Pace is brilliant on the highway. It’s ghostly quiet until you hit a god-awful section of chip-tarmac. Although quieter than most cars on the road, the rough surface still causes a bit of a ruckus. I sense that most people who buy an F-Pace won’t be driving terribly far, and a gravel drive at the weekender is no problem. But, F-Pace is AWD, not 4WD so eventually you’ll run out of puff off-road.

In the tight bends, F-Pace feels completely at home. It is as joyous as any Jaguar. Occasionally you notice there is a bit more bulk than you’d normally have in a sports saloon, and the handling feels slightly different to an F-type coupe. Well of course it is. It’s twice the height of an F-Type isn’t it?

You often hear people talk about the two-piece tailgate that you can sit on a polo matches, right? When I say “often”, I mean those people on TV, and they insist you can’t sit in a normal SUV without a two-piece hatch. So, I did exactly that. I stopped at the weir café at Audley for a coffee-and-roll lunch, then took it deep into the Royal National Park. I found a clearing at the side of the road to stop. With the engine off, the only sound was the water burbling over the rocks a few metres below, and the odd bird nearby. I perched on the back and tucked in to my roll. Here’s the thing: it was more comfortable than the two-piece tailgate, and because there is a full hatch overhead, you’re protected from light showers too. This picture was soon ruined by a chopper overhead. Shortly after, a procession of bikers roared past, but instead of detracting from my day, I enjoyed the spectacle. Then, it was back to burbles and chirps. Tell me again that you can’t have a picnic in an F-Pace?

Conclusion:

I took a few snaps on the road as mementos of the ride, and apart from the colour, I loved this car. The gold is a halo colour for Jaguar but it is a retro step too far. Pick something like Red, or white if you fancy another light colour.

This master stroke by JLR has done wonders for sales, and rightly so. What I like about F-Pace is that unlike other car makers, Jaguar makes every model a hot(ish) model. There is no 100kw cheap entry turbo 3 cylinder to appease the tightwads. You get what you pay for, and F-Pace is a cracker.

The options are pricey, and the Halcyon Gold just doesn’t do it for me, but you can’t have everything.

Would I buy one? Yes, I love it.

VEHICLE FACTS

17MY F-PACE First Edition S 35t

VIN 057541

ENGINE 2995cc V6 Supercharged Petrol

MAX POWER (KW) 280 @ 6500rpm

MAX TORQUE (NM) 460 @ 4500rpm

MAX SPEED (KPH) 250

0-100KPH (SECS) 5.5

FUEL ECON (L/100KM) 8.9

WEIGHT (KGS) From 1861

STANDARD FEATURES

Adaptive Dynamics

JaguarDrive Control™ (Includes 4 modes: Dynamic, Normal, ECO & Rain Ice Snow)

Torque Vectoring by Braking (TVbB)

All Surface Progress Control (ASPC)

Dynamic Stability Control & Traction Control

Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) & Lane Departure Warning

Hill Launch Assist &Trailer Stability Assist

Airbags (driver & front passenger, w/- seat occupant detector for passenger, front side, full length side window curtain)

22″ Alloys (Double Helix 15 Spoke w/- Grey Finish & Contrast Inserts)

Spare Wheel – Space Saver

Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

Electric, Heated, Auto-Dimming, Power Fold & Memory Door Mirrors

Sliding Panoramic Roof

Adaptive LED Headlights with ‘J’ blade Daytime Running Lights, turning light & automatic high beam

Front Fog Lights

Configurable interior mood lighting

Red Brake Calipers & Bright Sport Pedals

Houndstooth embossed Windsor Leather seats w/- Tonal Double Stitch

Windsor Leather door trim

Suedecloth Headlining

10×10 Electric front seats with Memory with 4-way Electric Lumbar Adjust

Electrically reclining rear seats

Split fold rear seat – 40:20:40

Two-zone climate control with automatic solar sensing & mist sensing

Roof rails – Gloss Black

Carpet mats – First Edition

Loadspace storage rails

Illuminated Metal Tread plate & Loadspace scuff plate

Bluetooth® telephone connectivity & audio streaming

Meridian™ Sound System – 380W, 11 speakers (incl. sub)

12.3″ HD virtual instrument display

InControl Touch Pro (SSD) Navigation – 10″ capacitive touchscreen, 60GB Solid State Drive, & additional USB socket (replaces AUX In), Text to speech, HDMI, Jaguar Voice

5 Power sockets (12V in 1st row, 2nd row and trunk with 2x USB in 2nd row)

COLOUR/TRIM

Halcyon Gold/Light Oyster – ‘Houndstooth’ embossed Windsor leather

RRP

$ 117,164

OPTIONS FITTED

Practicality Pack (includes Rear seat remote release levers, Gesture Tailgate, Loadspace safety partition net. Lockable cooled glovebox, Air Quality Sensor & Keyless Entry)- $3 660

Head up display pack – $2 510

Blind Spot Monitor with reverse detection system and close vehicle sensing – $1 120

Privacy Glass – $900

Heated Front seats – $800

Leisure Activity Key – $640

PRICE AS TESTED

$ 126 794 + ORC

(Please note that ORC are dependent on which state is registered, driver history, age, etc.)

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