Jaguar F-Pace R-Sport lives up to it’s name
It’s been almost a year since Jaguar launched it’s first SUV to much pomp and circumstance. It’s not often that a car is airlifted via chopper and dropped right in front of a group of awe-struck onlookers. But awe-struck we were and 11 months later the Jaguar F-Pace is still as fresh as ever when it comes to the looks department. But how does it fair elsewhere.
Jaguar F-Pace is all business. Great ergonomics in the cosy cabin means everything falls to hand. The gear knob is exactly that, a knob and is so much smarter than an automatic gear stick, especially since the R Sport comes with paddles behind the steering wheel. For a car with such obvious attention to interior detail, I did find it strange that the window buttons were sat atop the door sill. This felt unusual at first and although I did get used to it after some use, I still feel like it should have been swapped out with the seat memory settings, which were closer to the middle of the door.
The interior does however feel premium and at just under R900 000 the jaguar is pricey, but it feels pricier still with most agreeing that it looks and feels at least, like a million bucks. Same can be said about the exterior, but we’ll touch on that later. I loved the intuitiveness of the controls and on screen display and how the mood lighting adjusts as one changes modes.
The Jaguar F-Pace steering wheel has to be one of my favourite steering wheels of any car I’ve ever driven. The touch, the feel, the size, all perfect. That was until someone pointed out that it looks just like the Mustang steering wheel. What has been seen…
This still does not take away from the fact that the steering wheel feels great and delivers great feel from the chassis.
Looks and Exterior
When asking lady friends what they thought of the car, everyone agrees; it’s hot. And for the 7 days that I drove the car some 1000 Km not once did I see another one on Cape Town roads. This makes F-Pace, at least for now, the new accessory that no one has, and many want. With F-Pace the arguments end abruptly as everyone agrees, this is the sexiest SUV on the market today.
R-Sport comes standard with 19” wheels however our test car was equipped with 20” multispoke rims, R Sport bumpers front and rear and metal tread-plates. All completing the look and setting R-Sport aside from the base Pure model.
Sharing exactly the same engine as the 2.0 diesel XE, the 132kW 430Nm diesel engine is surprisingly willing. As with most turbo automatics these days there is a slight lag when one prods firmly on the gas from standstill but other than that it’s responsive, torquey and able to hit 120 km/h without fuss, even when fully loaded.
5.3l/100Km was attainable but not sustainable. On our road trip I managed just over 7.0l/100Km.
Ride and handling
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this sport SUV. I had worked late the day of our F-Pace road trip and ended up driving the coastal road through Gordon’s Bay alone. F-Pace surprised. It’s composed, fast, and responsive and the handling felt almost car like. When I dare throw the 1.7 ton SUV around some tight corners I could feel the electronics working to keep the nose tucked, and get the rear to move. The system felt similar to Fords RS but dialled down to 1%. This left me with some concerns as there was no way this car was this good dynamically without some obvious trade-offs when cruising through town.
Over large bumps F-Pace isn’t as soft as other SUVs but it’s a small sacrifice to make for this level of dynamism in a car this large. If F-Pace is on your short list, looks and handling have to be two things that are near the top of your totem pole of requirements.
The Jaguar F-Pace is a strange car. The Ian Callum design looks like it’s from 2020 but stuck in 2017 and based on my not so extensive research, (some) woman love it for it’s designer looks and (most) men love it because of its pedigree and dynamics. So what does that mean for F-Pace? The wife will gladly drive it around week days whether it’s to the office or to the shops and when the boys go away for the weekend or the family has an outing, Dad will enjoy the sporty nature and car like responsiveness.
It’s a good all-rounder and the 2.0 R Sport is the pick of the range, which will more than likely will make it Jaguars biggest seller in South Africa