Driven

Driven: Jaguar F-Pace

Many have enjoyed the beautiful sedans and sports cars from Jaguar, but those wanting the cargo space and utility of an SUV have had to look elsewhere. Now, like almost every other automotive manufacturer under the sun, Jaguar is offering an SUV, the F-Pace. Though the company is late to the game, it has entered with a very appealing model that should hold its own in a competitive market.

Jaguar has used its styling prowess to create a vehicle with a strong family resemblance, including a large front grille, cat-eye taillights and plenty of curves. The interior of the F-Pace is as luxurious as one would expect, with rich leather, beautiful wood and all the latest technology. Its features include a manually adjusted, tilt/telescoping, leather-wrapped, heated steering wheel; heated and cooled front seats; dual automatic climate controls; two-tone interior colors; xenon headlights; and a panoramic sunroof over the first and second row. My only complaint is a somewhat ‘plastic’ dashboard.

The audio, navigation and vehicle controls operate via a large, 8-inch (or available 10-inch) center touchscreen with surrounding hard buttons to facilitate navigation. It’s pretty easy to use, with redundant audio controls on the steering wheel. Large, analog speedometer and tachometer gauges flank a small video screen that displays the radio station, fuel, coolant temperature, outside temperature, miles to empty, driving mode and gear selection. Rear seat room is generous, with multiple air vents, USB and 12-volt outlets, and available heated rear seats that fold 40/20/40 to expand cargo room. Cargo space beneath the electric tailgate is also plentiful and comes with a tonneau cover to keep valuables out of sight, but the slope of the roof and rear hatch inhibits the height.

Driving the F-Pace is a pleasure with its quick acceleration, quality brakes, spirited handling and a solid road feel thanks to the firm suspension. A sonorous Jaguar growl emanates from the tailpipe upon hard acceleration. Three driving dynamics are offered—standard, economy and sport (I’d just keep it in sport)—and the fuel-saving engine shutoff when stopped can be defeated, though it’s not too intrusive. The smooth-shifting automatic transmission is controlled via a rotary knob on the center console. Torque vectoring adds a kind of electronic trail braking to improve cornering prowess, and a variety of sensor- and camera-based assistants provide front and rear parking aids, a rear-view camera, reverse traffic detection, blind spot monitor, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control with queue assist, and autonomous emergency braking. The latter is a great feature that will automatically stop the car if it senses you might hit something.

Considering the high level of luxury and performance offered in the F-Pace, a sub-$50,000 starting price seems like a pretty good bargain compared to many of its high-end rivals. Victoria Story, sales consultant at Plaza Jaguar, says of the F-Pace, “It’s a good size, and it has styling, handling, technology, 3-D navigation, and a phone app that can tell you where your car is parked and if the windows are up or down.”

technicals 〉〉 jaguar f-pace
price:
〉〉 base: $47,500, including delivery
〉〉 as driven with options, $53,250

gas mileage:
〉〉 18 city
〉〉 23 highway
〉〉 f-pace 35t premium

drivetrain:
〉〉 front engine; all-wheel drive
〉〉 3.0-litre, supercharged v6 engine
〉〉 340 horsepower
〉〉 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters

Robert Paster (robertpaster.com) is also an attorney in private practice, concentrating in estate planning and probate.

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