- What’s Good: Surprising performance and sumptuous interior fit and finish.
- What’s Bad Annoying wire filaments embedded in the windshield for defrosting and demisting.
A late comer to the sport utility segment, Jaguar has lost no time in catching up – with models such as the E-Pace, I-Pace and, as tested here, the mid-size F-Pace.
And that does not take into consideration the plethora of SUV/CUVs offered by sister company, Land Rover.
The F-Pace is on the large side of being intermediate at 4,731 mm long, 1,667 mm tall with roof rails and a voluptuous 2,071 mm wide, which certainly fills up any single car garage.
The F-Pace, like the F-Type sportscar also tested here recently, comes with no less than five engine choices.
Tested here is the “entry level” 25t model with direct injection, inline four-cylinder turbo 2.0-litre engine producing 247 hp and 269 lb/ft of torque.
Proceeding up the model walk is the 30t with 296 hp turbo four-cylinder, the S with 5.0-litre supercharged V8 pumping out 380 hp followed by the range topping SVR with the same 5.0-litre supercharged V8, but this time making 550 hp. Rounding things out is the 20d with 2.0-litre turbo diesel making 150 hp.
All versions have an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-terrain all-wheel-drive as standard.
The 25t is faster than you might think, doing 0-100 km/h in 6.8 seconds with a speed limited to 217 km/h.
While it lacks the adaptive dynamics system of the other models, it nonetheless has a standard open differential that allows torque vectoring by braking. Hill Launch Assist, speed proportional steering and All Surface Progress Control (ASPC) are all part of the package.
The ASPC has to be experienced to be believed. It is like downhill control twinned with what I call uphill control.
Set your speed (usually under 5 km/h), point it the right direction and you take your foot off the brake and gas and let the F-Pace do the rest.
I experienced ASPC earlier this year on the all-electric Jaguar I-Pace and I was amazed and you will be as well.
Tested here is the 25t Prestige trim starting at $54,750 and topping out at $65,200, including a $1,600 destination fee.
The selection of colours and trims is too long to list here as are the 17 possible F-Pace wheel choices, depending on trim level.
Optional ($1,530) on this week’s tester were 20-inch, five split-spoke alloy wheels, which added to the overall appearance with the ($670) Loire Blue paint scheme.
Worth having (for $3,320) is the Technology Pack with navigation system, virtual instrument cluster and the magnificent Meridian Sound System. Another part of this option is Jaguar InControl Services that is a suite of applications linking the driver to the car whether inside or outside.
Also a consideration is the ($2,610) Vision Pack with adaptive LED headlights, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitor and lane departure warning.
While I welcome the heated seats, steering wheel and wiper fluid jets in our climate, the dreaded Jaguar heated windshield with its annoying embedded wire filaments comes with them.
It is a surprisingly big step up into the cabin where you are greeted by a wonderfully understated British interior with a wide choice of leather seating, and in the case of the 25t tested here, wood and aluminum accents.
Like the F-Type sportscar, instrumentation and placement are all within in hand’s reach or swipe, plus the main gauge digital cluster is not affected by direct sunlight or glare.
The engine starts smartly on the button and from there everything proceeds with no fuss or drama from engine noise or harsh shifts.
At 1,760 kg, the 25t is no lightweight, and the grunt of the turbo four-banger has little problem on inclines and is surprisingly quick, especially when passing on two-lane roads with oncoming traffic.
While I wouldn’t call it agile, the 25t changes lanes and takes corners in its stride thanks in no small part to the tuning of the suspension and torque vectoring.
And what was the best part?
Believe it or not the solid “chunk” sound of the door closing that imparted a sense of solidity, and thus, reassurance to the whole drive.
At a starting price of $54,750, there are a lot of premium intermediate SUVs by other makers to choose from. Yet the price for the 25t is more in the entry-level range, which should prove tempting to those wanting some European flair in their SUV.
And for pure British panache, the 2018 Jaguar F-Pace 25t is hard to beat.
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