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Jaguar F-Pace Review

Introduction

Just because you want a practical family car doesn’t mean you can’t have something luxurious as well. And just because you have a luxury SUV doesn’t mean it has to be boring to drive. The Jaguar F-Pace tries to imbue the premium family wagon with the enthusiast DNA for which the British manufacturer is famous. And it succeeds spectacularly; every version of the F-Pace is fun to drive. Customers can choose between several trim levels, petrol or diesel engines, and a fuel-efficient (and company car tax-friendly) plug-in hybrid. There’s even a high-horsepower performance model too. A 2020 makeover has kept it very competitive against rivals that include the Audi Q5, Porsche Macan and Alfa Romeo Stelvio.

Review Sections

  • At a Glance
  • Key Features
  • Performance & Drive
  • Running Costs & Emissions
  • Interior & Technology
  • Practicality & Boot Space
  • Safety
  • Options
  • Rival Cars
  • Verdict & Next Steps
  • Select's rating score* - 3.8 / 5

    At a Glance

    The F-Pace is a five-door, five-seat SUV that aims to put some fun into the luxury SUV market. It prides itself on being a driver’s car, capable of putting a smile on your face when you find a country road. It’ll even do some off-roading too. It’s not the only car trying this mix of talents – the Porsche Macan and Alfa Romeo Stelvio do the same thing – but the Jag brings a British sports car heritage and a wide range of choice to the mix. Customers can lease a variety of different F-Paces, from relatively efficient diesels and petrol to models with a bit more poke. There’s a performance SVR model, and a plug-in hybrid model too, which has the potential to give drivers excellent fuel consumption with a zero-emission, electric-only mode. All have a suitably plush interior and lots of tech, both of which are much improved following an overhaul to the range in 2020. It’s spacious inside, too. What more could you want?

    Key Features

    The F-Pace has been on the market since 2016, which in a fast-moving SUV market (no pun intended) is quite a while. But it remains one of the most attractive luxury family SUVs, trading on sharp looks, a comfortable interior and a wide range of choice when it comes to trim and engine. But it’s the fun behind the wheel that really sells it; there are other SUVs that do luxury and practicality well, such as the Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLC and Volvo XC60, but they’re unlikely to put a grin on your face when you’re behind the wheel. The F-Pace will do that, whatever model you go for. Choose from the classy standard range or the racy-looking R-Dynamic models, and within that several trim levels to suit different budgets. Want a full-on, hardcore performance model? Check out the bonkers-fast F-Pace SVR. And if you want to have some electric-only driving with zero polluting emissions, then the F-Pace P400e plug-in hybrid has you covered.

    Performance & Drive

    Jaguar’s heritage is full of sports cars and a motorsport, and anything it produces has to reflect that. The SUV range is no different, and so the firm’s engineers have tried very hard to bring out smiles from anyone behind the wheel. It does this through all-round dynamic excellence; lots of grip through the corners and a feeling of composure and agility. It’s safe and solid when you want it to be, but always feels like it’s ready to dance on its tiptoes, too.

    While the suspension is firm to keep things in check while cornering, it’s supple enough to keep the journey comfortable, massaging away the worst that poorly maintained roads can throw at it. It isn’t the waftiest SUV you can get – you have to take into consideration its sporty intentions – but for what it is, it’s impressively comfortable. If you want extra cosseting, go for the optional adaptive suspension, which changes the stiffness of the suspension. It’s standard on higher-end cars.

    There are myriad engines to choose from. Many will be happy with the 204-horsepower 2.0-litre diesel, called the D200, which gives you enough oomph for everyday driving and will be easy on fuel. Some will want more zip though, and there are several choices, including a more powerful diesel and two strong petrol engines.

    For serious grunt, look at the F-Pace SVR. This uses a big 5.0-litre supercharged V8 to make a whopping 550 horsepower, which means a 0-60mph time of just 3.8 seconds, and a 178mph top speed. It’s a properly fast, engaging, sports car-like machine.

    Alternatively, for a bit of everything, there’s the P400e plug-in hybrid model. This combines a 2.0-litre petrol engine with an electric motor, which lets you go for up to 33 miles on electric power only. The battery can be recharged by plugging into a home wall box or public charger. Keep your journeys short, and a tank of fuel could last for months. But it’s got plenty of oomph too; combined, the two power sources make 404 horsepower, and will accelerate with plenty of drama.

    Running costs & Emissions

    If you want the best fuel economy from your F-Pace, the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) model is the one to go for. Officially it’ll do up to 129.7mpg, but more than any other model, the real-world result will depend on how you use it. Keep the battery charged and do mostly short journeys, and you’ll barely use any fuel at all. But drive on an empty battery and the petrol engine will get very thirsty. The PHEV is also the best option for company car drivers; its electric-only range of up to 33 miles puts it in the 11% bracket for benefit-in-kind company car tax. All other F-Pace models sit in the maximum 37% bracket.

    If you’re doing longer journeys, consider one of the diesels; the entry-level D165 promises up to 44.9mpg, but we’d look instead at the more powerful D200, which promises almost identical fuel consumption at 44.8mpg, and has perkier performance. The petrols promise up to 29.9mpg from the P250, while the SVR will be predictably thirsty. It suggests up to 23.1mpg, but any enthusiastic use of the accelerator will reduce that very quickly.

    Interior & Technology

    The interior of the F-Pace has always been a very pleasant, classy environment but it’s taken a big step forward since its 2020 refresh. New materials have dispatched any thoughts of cheap-feeling plastics, and it’s now all premium leather, wood veneers and solidly-screwed together parts. There’s a new, much-improved infotainment system too, with a big 11.4-inch touchscreen that’s easy to use and quick to respond. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included as standard, letting you connect your smartphone and control various apps through the car’s screen. Some will wish they had a proper controller for the infotainment, like BMW’s central dial-and-buttons unit, but as touchscreens go, this is a good one.

    Most models also get a digital dashboard rather than traditional analogue dials. This works with the rest of the infotainment system and displays your preferred driving information, from speed and revs to fuel consumption, music info or navigation directions. It works really well, but if you do want things even clearer, you can spec a head-up display, which beams essential driving information onto the windscreen in front of you.

    Practicality & Boot Space

    There’s a good amount of space inside the F-Pace. There are roomier premium rivals – notably the Land Rover Discovery Sport – but the Jag has the measure of the Porsche Macan when it comes to passenger space. You’ll easily fit two adults in the back, and even six-footers shouldn’t complain too much about headroom. Unless there’s a sunroof fitted, in which case you should keep the tallest passengers up front.

    Boot space is very generous, at 650 litres, and beats all the competition. That said, the Discovery Sport will fit a similar amount of luggage in. It’s worth noting that the electrical bits in the P400e PHEV impinge quite a bit on boot space, and leave an attractive lump in the boot floor. There’s nowhere to store the cables, either; they just kick around in the back. You can fold the rear seats down on all models in a 40/20/40, which gives you flexibility if you need to carry larger loads as well as rear-seat passengers.

    Storage for odds and ends is catered for by big pockets in the door, space under the centre armrest and several trays in the centre console; there are cubbies in front of and behind the gear stick, and underneath it too.

    Safety

    The F-Pace was tested by independent safety organisation Euro NCAP in 2017 and scored the maximum five stars. True, standards have improved since then, but Jaguar includes plenty of cutting-edge safety systems including automatic emergency braking, which will intervene if you don’t respond to an impending accident. You also get a lane departure warning system and tech that will warn you if you’re in danger of falling asleep behind the wheel. Higher-end models get additional features, including one that will keep an eye on your blind spot, and on traffic approaching when you reverse out of a parking space.

    Options

    There’s plenty of choice when you’re choosing an F-Pace. First you need to pick one of two lines: the classy standard F-Pace, or the more sporty-looking R-Dynamic model, which has a beefier bodykit. The performance SVR model stands on its own.

    Once you’ve done that, you can pick from four trim levels. The standard model – available only on the more entry-level engine choices – gives you 19-inch wheels, LED lights and heated electric front seats, so it’s far from spartan. There’s a heated steering wheel too.

    The S model gives you a different design of alloy wheel, an electric boot lid and folding door mirrors, while the SE upgrades the alloys to 20 inches and adds a few extra niceties. These include auto high beam headlights, keyless entry and front seats that adjust in a few more ways.

    HSE models have big 21-inch wheels and extra driver assistance systems, including adaptive cruise control. You also get an improved Meridian sound system, which is great if you’re into your music.

    SVR models come very well kitted out, with 21-inch wheels and all the features of the HSE model.

    Options include a range of metallic paints and clever Pixel LED headlights that can maintain high beam at night without dazzling oncoming cars. You can also choose different alloy wheels, two types of panoramic sunroof and several different interior trims and upholsteries.

    Rival Cars

    If you’re after a fun-to-drive SUV then the obvious rival is the excellent Porsche Macan, which loses out on practicality but is even more fun to drive. You could also consider the very decent Alfa Romeo Stelvio. If driving involvement isn’t such a priority then that opens you up to the Mercedes-Benz GLC and the Audi Q5, which are suitably premium in every way. So too is the Volvo XC60. Need to go off-road? The F-Pace will make short work of gravel tracks and farm roads, but for more serious terrain, look at the Land Rover Discovery Sport. If you want driving fun, but fancy something electric, then Jaguar’s I-Pace is worth checking out too.

    Verdict & Next Steps

    The F-Pace has been an appealing car since it first launched, but the 2020 refresh has made it better than ever. There aren’t many SUVs that can match its blend of luxury appeal, performance and driving fun. Porsche’s Macan is still the choice for die-hard driving enthusiasts, but it’s not as practical, and some would say not as sexy. With loads of choice of trims and engines the F-Pace can add some serious spice to SUV ownership. We’re big fans.


    Where to next?

    • View latest Jaguar F-Pace leasing deals - guide price from £426.11 per month inc VAT**
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    • *Score based on Select’s unique meta score analysis, taking into account the UK’s top five leading independent car website reviews of the Jaguar F-Pace
    • **Correct as of 18/08/2021. Based on 9 months initial payment, 5,000 miles over a 48 month lease. Initial payment equivalent to 9 monthly payments or £3,834.97 - Ts and Cs apply. Credit is subject to status.

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