Evolve or die. That perhaps best describes Jaguar's entry into the crossover market.
For years Jaguar avoided having to build an SUV or crossover as they believed that there will always be a market for big and small luxury sedans. While that may be true, one cannot deny the practicality and allure of a crossover, especially in this day & age where high-riding vehicles have become the more attractive norm.
But with market trends continuing to dictate what's in and what's out, Jaguar had to give in, and that's why we have the F-Pace.
Dubbed by Jaguar as the 'ultimate practical sportscar', the F-Pace is basically an XE on stilts with styling elements from the F-Type, among other Jags. In fact, it sits on the same aluminum architecture and pretty much has the same interior design as the XE four-door. But what has the Jaguar has that the other competitors lack? Is it any different from any luxury crossovers? Does the F-Pace have the same powerful bite and finesse like the rest of the range?
Like an athlete ready for action, the F-Pace gives off the illusion of motion even while standing still. It's muscular, aggressive and quite frankly intimidating. However, this 'Jag' is also elegant-looking from end-to-end. From its bold front fascia that is dominated by a huge front grill and eye-catching HID headlights, to its unmistakable rear that takes inspiration from the suave F-Type. The F-Pace combines Jag's daring new looks with the lasting beauty that we know the brand to have.
Then there's the Santorini Black paint with splashes of faux metal accents as well as chrome fixtures on the exterior which give the F-Pace a classy appearance. Also worth mentioning are the huge 20-inch alloy wheels further enhance the F-Pace's already good looks. All in all, I can describe the F-Pace's design as athletic, toned, and graceful.
Open the doors and the smell of fine leather immediately greets you, along with the black and red color scheme. The distinct color combination draws you in and it further highlights the car’s sporty nature. It also has a driver-focused cabin as most of the in-car controls are directed towards the driver. From the climate control system to the infotainment display, everything is within easy reach for the person behind the wheel.
But what I really liked about the F-Pace is its roominess. Sure the F-Pace may be based off the relatively small XE sedan, but Jaguar made sure the crossover has loads more space. My frame settles neatly into the driver’s seat, though someone towering over 6 feet and over should have no problem stretching their legs out at the back.
Speaking of space, I’m happy to report that the F-Pace has one of the biggest boots in its category: 650 liters. With that amount of space at your disposal, you can pack away a week’s worth of bags for two in the F-Pace and still have plenty of room for other stuff like pasalubongs and the like. Should that not be enough, the rear seats can be split folded 40:20:40 for additional cargo room, especially for longer items.
In-car entertainment is provided by a TouchPro system. It comes standard with navigation, AM/FM radio, USB, as well as Bluetooth. It has an intuitive display which I really liked, not to mention excellent sound quality thanks to the 11-speaker Meridian system. However. I was let down by the system’s rather slow processing speed and delay in executing commands. Plus, I wished the screen was as big as the one found on the Evoque I tested several months ago.
Passengers at the back that need to charge their devices need not to have long cables as there are charging points just below the rear aircon vents. It consists of a single 12V socket and two USB charging ports. And should you need to have another device recharged, there's an additional 12V socket in the luggage compartment. Good on Jaguar for making sure there are plenty of charging sockets inside the F-Pace.
Keen-eyed readers, however, may notice that the F-Pace appears to share some similarities with models from Land Rover, particularly the Evoque and Discovery. While the familiar design cues may look nice, a bit more individuality would make the F-Pace's interior stand out more from its Land Rover cousins. Then again, maybe that's just me being nitpicky.
Under the hood is, surprise, a turbo-diesel engine. That's right, powering this particular cat is a 2.0-liter diesel-fed inline-four. It generates 180 PS at 4000 rpm along with 430 Nm of torque at 1750 – 2500 rpm. Power is then sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. It has a claimed 0 – 100 km/h time of 8.7 seconds and a top speed of over 200 km/h.
So how does a diesel-powered Jag feels like to drive? Surprisingly, it's quick and somewhat refined. Sure, some will say that the words 'diesel' and 'Jaguar' do not exactly mix but I have to say that this F-Pace R-Sport is no slouch. Bury your foot on the accelerator and gobs of power are immediately sent to all four wheels. There is a hint of turbo lag but that is to be expected from a single-turbo engine. Still, despite not being a gasoline-turbo, this diesel-powered F-Pace can easily go toe-to-toe with other fast luxury crossovers. Judging by the performance and feel of thrust, we'll take their word for it regarding the top speed; we don't have any roads to take it safely to its top speed anyway.
Besides being torquey, the diesel-powered F-Pace was also thrifty when it came to fuel consumption. Take it out for a stroll in the city and you can expect it to return about 9.0 - 10.0 km/l. Bring it to the highway and the all-wheel drive F-Pace will sip diesel at around 14.0 - 14.5 km/l. Should you want the F-Pace to be more frugal, one can set the drive mode to ‘Eco’ for better fuel consumption. On the flipside, one can also set the car to Dynamic Mode which basically acts as the car’s Sport Mode.
The eight-speed transmission seamlessly switched gears while driving on the highway. Whether you're driving spiritedly or just commuting to work, the gearbox remained silky smooth. However, when slowing down or coming to a complete stop, the transmission appears to be tripping on its own gears. One way to avoid that is to manually shift down the gears yourselves while in manual mode.
In true Jaguar fashion, the F-Pace was a delight through the corners and tight bends. It may be taller than typical Jaguar sedans but it's as agile and nimble as its four-door feline brethren. With double wishbones up front, a multi-link at the back, and a lightweight chassis, the F-Pace sliced through turn after turn with not much body roll. Then there's its precise steering which complemented the dexterous nature of the F-Pace.
That's all well and good, but I wish the F-Pace had a better ride quality. Traveling at high speeds, the F-Pace tends to be bouncy over rutted streets and bumps. The massive 20-inch alloy wheels and low profile tires could also be contributing to the F-Pace's bouncier ride. Perhaps some softer dampers, along with a smaller set of wheels could make the F-Pace's ride a bit more compliant. It doesn't 'waft' along like the bigger saloon cars from Jaguar.
Despite having a diesel engine, Jaguar paid special attention in keeping the cabin quiet. Noise, vibration and harshness lessening (NVH) from outside elements were excellent as well. Whether you have the climate control system on full blast or when you’re traveling at highway speeds, passengers can hold a conversation with ease without needing to shout at one another while inside the F-Pace.
So what's my verdict for Jaguar's bold attempt at the luxury crossover market? I have to say I was originally expecting a typical lofty ride along with just the right amount of performance. Instead I had an enjoyable time taking on corners with this 'Jag' as well as blasting through avenue after avenue with the punchy turbo-diesel engine. All of that is then wrapped in a nice and comfy cocoon that is protected by a stylish and muscular shell.
Retailing for a cool Php 5,390,000, the F-Pace R-Sport with a diesel combines what Jaguar already knows in making sport sedans, but applied it to a more versatile SUV. It’s quick enough to get you where you need to be, it's stylish and comfortable for every day driving, and it has plenty of active safety features and systems that will keep you and your passengers safe. The F-Pace has lane-keep assist with driver condition monitoring, blind spot monitoring, front and rear parking sensors, 360-degree around-view system with reverse camera, rear traffic monitoring, automatic park assist, forward collision warning with high-speed emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control.
If you’re tired of the usual German or Japanese crossover and want something a bit different and with a bit more British appeal, you might want to give the Jaguar F-Pace a closer look.