By Barbara & Bill Schaffer
When Jaguar decided to expand their offerings from sport sedans and sports cars to include a crossover, the designers and engineers didn’t waver from the formula that has put Jaguars in the forefront of the luxury and performance market. The 2017 Jaguar F-Pace has all the elements to make it a world-class crossover.
Over the last decade, Jaguar has done an outstanding job of solidifying the brand’s position to a compelling and aggressive luxury market competitor.
With the popularity of crossovers growing dramatically, it was an obvious move for the British marque to add their interpretation, and with the help of their sister SUV brand, Land Rover, the result is impressive.
We don’t claim to understand the unusual F-Pace name, but we are impressed by the sleek Jaguar-inspired styling. Ian Callum, Director of Design for Jaguar explains it like this, “We designed the all-new F-PACE to be first and foremost a Jaguar. That’s why it has exciting proportions, a dynamic stance, pure surfaces and a beautiful sensuality about it. It’s progressive, purposeful appearance has clearly been influenced by the F-TYPE. Every Jaguar car should draw your eye from 200 meters away and I believe the presence of the all-new F-PACE on the road is second to none in this class. The Lightweight Aluminum Architecture gave us the design freedom to create a car with latent poise – a svelte car with attitude.”
Inside the F-Pace has clean simple lines and familiar Jaguar controls. Traditional analogue dials with a small central screen providing vehicle information is standard or there is the available 12.3-inch screen which can be tailored to driver preferences. At the top of the center stack a wide 10.2-inch capacitive touch screen is used to control infotainment, navigation and vehicle functions. Both screens, navigation and a Meridian 825-watt sound system are part of the optional ($3,200) technology package. We like that functions like audio volume, climate control and a few other controls still have some buttons and knobs. The touch screen is improved greatly from some previous Jaguar versions we’ve used, but it is still slower than we’d like.
Like all Jaguars, the F-Pace seats care comfortable and supportive with room for up to five passengers and up to 33.5 cubic feet of luggage. With the rear seat back folded the cargo space expands to 63.5 cubic feet.
Three engine choices are offered including two gasoline-powered V-6 engines and a four-cylinder diesel. The two 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 engines are the same 340- and 380-hp gasoline versions found in other Jaguar models, as is the 180-hp 2.0-liter diesel. We are happy to see that Jaguar didn’t back down from the diesel offering like many other companies did after Volkswagen diesel-gate problems – the diesel engine is an important way to cut fuel consumption.
All three engines are mated to one of the top transmissions in the business, an eight-speed ZF-brand automatic. Jaguar uses a simple dial transmission selector mounted on the center console and includes steering wheel mounted shift paddles for better control.
Jaguar’s torque-on-demand all-wheel drive system is standard on all F-Pace versions. Under normal conditions all the engine torque is directed to the rear axle. When slippage is detected the Jaguar Intelligent Driveline Dynamics instantly transfers the correct amount of torque to the front axle. The system includes an Adaptive Surface Response technology that automatically changes the throttle, transmission and Dynamic Stability Control to maximize traction in a variety of conditions. The system also automatically switches between settings for snow and ice, wet tarmac or gravel, and for deep snow it reads road conditions.
According to Jaguar numbers, the 340-hp engine accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds and it has a top track speed of 155 mph. EPA fuel economy is listed at 18 mpg city, 23 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined. We averaged 20.6 mpg during our week of testing. The 380 hp version is 0.3 seconds faster in the 0 to 60 mph run and has the same fuel economy rating.
The diesel engine is listed with an 8.2 second 0 to 60 time and with a top speed of 129 mph. But the big advantage is the fuel economy which is listed at 26/33/29 mpg. All three engines have a towing capacity of 5,290 pounds. Because of intensive aluminum construction in the body, frame and suspension all-three versions weigh in at a willowy 4,000 pounds.
The rigid F-Pace drives more like an agile sport sedan than mid-size crossover, a feeling further enhanced by the crisp notes emitted by the dual exhaust system. Running through the mountain roads near our home in Southern Washington state, the F-Pace felt like it might be able to run with or “pace” the outstanding Jaguar F-Type sports car. (That’s the best we can do to explain the name.) It’s fun to drive and it still maintains a very good ride comfort.
The 2017 Jaguar F-Pace has a large selection of standard and available driver-assist features including a Jaguar first Autonomous Emergency Braking system with a pedestrian detection function in addition to the vehicle detection. The system can automatically initiate full braking if the driver fails to act quickly enough. It also has all the latest technologies like Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Traffic Sign Recognition, Intelligent Speed Limiter and a color Laser head-up display. We especially appreciated features like the Adaptive Cruise Control with Queue Assist which will bring the vehicle to a complete stop if necessary and the Blind Spot Monitoring with Reverse Traffic Detection.
The 2017 Jaguar F-Pace is available in three engine based models: the diesel powered 20d AWD, the 340-hp 35t AWD and the 380-hp S AWD. Base prices are $42,985, $44,385 and $58,695 respectively. The S AWD with all the available options will push the price to just over $76,000.