Quick Spin: 2017 Jaguar F-Pace S 30d review
Isaac Bober’s 2017 Jaguar F-Pace S 30d review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety, verdict and score.
In a nutshell: The grunty Jaguar F-Pace with 3.0-litre turbocharged diesel V6 is, for the money, an impressive sporting SUV with room for the family.
2017 Jaguar F-Pace S 30d
Pricing from $103,135+ORC Price as tested $132,815+ORC Warranty three years, unlimited kilometres Safety Not tested Engine 3.0-litre turbocharged diesel V6 Power/Torque 221kW/700Nm Transmission eight-speed automatic Body 4731mm (L); 2175mm (W); 1652mm (H) Weight from 1884kg Spare space saver as standard Fuel Tank 60-66 litres Thirst 6.0L/100km
THE JAGUAR F-PACE isn’t intended to be a competitor to offerings from either Land or Range Rover. Indeed, Jaguar’s first-ever SUV has more in common with the XE, sitting on the same ‘architecture’ (the wording is important), and doesn’t share a skerrick of mechanical similarity with, say, Land Rover’s Discovery Sport or even the Range Rover Sport.
This means, that unlike key competitors at, say, Audi and Porsche (both the Q5 and Macan share a nut and bolt or two) the Jaguar F-Pace is truly its own machine. Also, unlike key competitors that have been trundling out similar-sized SUVs this is the first Jaguar SUV ever. Ever.
What is it?
As I mentioned the wording of the F-Pace sharing the same ‘architecture’ of the XE and XF rather than Jaguar saying platform helps get around the conclusion that the F-Pace is simply a jacked-up version of either the XE or XF.
Sure, the F-Pace shares the same suspension componentry and the front-end structure is broadly the same, because that’s the stuff that’s super expensive to develop and engineer. But the wheelbase, front and rear track and, obviously, the ride height and suspension tune, is unique to the F-Pace.
The idea, according to Jaguar, is that the F-Pace isn’t an alternative to a Land Rover Discovery Sport or even Range Rover Sport, rather it’s an alternative to a sports car… yep, Jaguar doesn’t expect that potential F-Pace buyers are looking to drive off-road, but that they are looking for something that can accommodate a family and provide a bit of driving verve. The F-Pace S 30d we’re testing does just that.
What’s it like?
For a start it’s worth mentioning that the F-Pace is bigger than key competitors from BMW (50mm bigger than X3) and Porsche (74mm bigger than Macan). The F-Pace is a 4731mm long and 2175mm wide including the mirrors, and it sits on a 2874mm wheelbase. Jaguar’s engineers were keen to achieve a 50:50 weight distribution for the F-Pace. And they’ve managed that via a raft of things like 80% aluminium architecture and then using things like tough plastic and even heavy steel to balance the thing.
You’ll have noticed in the photos of our test car that if you cost option a full-size spare then, depending on the wheel size, you’ll get a raised section in the boot. To me it looks more than a little strange and why the engineers didn’t contemplate buyers wanting a full-size spare and come up with a neater workaround is beyond me. That said, according to Jaguar the issue is really only an Australian one with UK buyers sticking with a space saver spare and a flat boot floor. Let us know what you think in the comments below.
The plan was that this would be a full road test of the F-Pace but the loan was cut short and so we didn’t get as much time behind the wheel as we might have liked. That doesn’t mean we didn’t do anything with the F-Pace, but it does mean our images are press images only (bar the photo of the spare wheel hump in the boot). The most important thing was that we got a lot more seat time than we did at the recent local launch.
So, the F-Pace S 30d we tested runs a 3.0-litre turbocharged diesel which produces 221kW of power at 4000rpm and 700Nm of torque at 2000rpm. It’ll get from rest to 100km/h in 6.2 seconds and drinks a combined 6.0L/100km. The F-Pace is permanent all-wheel drive, with a rear drive bias, and runs an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission which is, quite possibly, one of the best transmissions on the planet.
Because the all-wheel drive system is the same one that runs in the F-type there’s a rear bias, as mentioned, with usually only 20% of drive running to the front wheels, although up to 50% can be channelled to the front under low grip conditions. If I’d had the car longer I would have taken it out onto some dirt, but given that Jaguar’s aiming the F-Pace at urban dwellers we kept to the blacktop, that’s not to say it’s not reasonably capable – hopefully we’ll be able to test the F-Pace again and take it rough roading.
The design of the F-Pace has won the car universal praise; it looks good from just about every angle. On the inside, though, and the design is a virtual carbon copy of the latest-generation XE only, in this high-spec S model, there’s a little too much hard, scratchy plastic for my liking. For instance, the Riva hoop which runs from the top of the front doors around under the windscreen is all hard scratchy stuff, and the plastic edge on the glovebox is sharp enough to cut. Maybe, I’m being too harsh given that this vehicle is aimed at BMW X3 rather than X5. Although, even in standard trim it lists for more than $100,000… Hmmm.
Elsewhere, though, there are soft-touch plastics and high-quality contrasting materials used and the large InControl Touch Pro which is a cost-option on this model, is excellent (scroll to the bottom of the article to see the full list and price of the cost options included on our test car). The standard fit unit is good but obviously not as full featured as this InControl Touch Pro system.
As for the seating position in the front, well, it’s suitably sporting in that you feel like you’re sitting down inside the car rather than perching up on top of it like you do in a Range Rover. Vision is good all around.
The seats are comfortable if a little on the large side, for me, at least. And climbing in or out isn’t particularly tricky although my kids found climbing across the scuff plate to be a little slippery in the wet; adults won’t have a problem, though. One of my kids has outgrown their booster seat, but we still fit it as a matter of course and both it and the harness-style child seat we’ve got were easy to fit with the kids having plenty of legroom.
For me, with the front seat set to suit me, there was plenty of leg and knee room in the back, but you’d be struggling to fit more than two adults comfortably across the back thanks to the fact the centre console which, on our test car had climate controls for the rear seat, juts out reducing the leg and knee room for anyone perching in the middle rear seat.
The boot is with a space saver spare, at 505 litres, a good size. There are a couple of tie-down points and leaning into the boot for me to load and unload, for me at nearly six-feet tall, was pretty easy. Our test car came with a full-size spare and thus a hump in the boot floor, which isn’t ideal but doesn’t take away too much from the usability of the space.
On the road, the 3.0-litre turbo diesel is absolutely fantastic. It’s smooth and relaxed in its power delivery and while the transmission tends to run to a high gear quite quickly after moving off it is able to shift down two gears at a time when you give it a hit like all modern autos. One of the issues I did have, and this reared its head at the launch too, was that when driving hard on a tight and twisting road the gearbox can seem to take a moment or two longer than you’d want on kick-down; almost as if the thing has paused for breath. However, taking manual control and shifting via the paddles eliminates this issue; and whoever thought they’d hear of someone suggest taking manual control of a near two-tonne SUV?
With its adaptive dampers set in Normal the F-Pace is beautifully comfortable. Dial it up to Dynamic and the dampers firm up considerably, although not so much as to be unusable on the road… and the handling is excellent. This really is a vehicle that you can grab by the scruff of the neck and push around.
The body control in either Normal or Dynamic mode is good and there’s very little suspension noise; very little noise at all actually. Obviously you can’t class this thing the same as you would a sports car, but it’s turn-in and mid-corner balance is pretty damn good. Maybe even the best in the segment – in this trim, at least.
The F-Pace hasn’t been tested by ANCAP, but it features airbags for front and rear seat passengers via a curtain airbag that reaches into and covers the back seat. It also offers permanent all-wheel drive, ISOFIX mounts on the outside rear seats, reversing camera as standard with front and rear parking sensors. Autonomous emergency braking and lane departure warning are also standard.
It’s not uncommon for test cars to come loaded down with cost options to make the car seem ‘better’ than it is, and while I’m not suggesting that’s what Jaguar has done here, I do want to call out one of the cost options, and that is the Cold Climate Pack for $2420 that includes, among other things, a heated front windscreen. Now I get how useful this sort of thing can be, but I found the heating element, a fine wire squiggling its way through the windscreen, to be very distracting in full sunlight. And I mean, that it made what you were looking at every so slightly blurry. You didn’t notice it when driving in the dark or in the rain, but when the sun was out I found it very irritating. Rant over.
Why would you buy one?
If you’re after a fast SUV that’s got room for a family and the sort of exterior looks that’ll send you weak at the knees, then it makes sense. The F-Pace with this 3.0-litre turbo-diesel engine is easy to drive and pretty good on fuel. And I’d even agree with Jaguar’s positioning of it as a sporting SUV.
Jaguar F-Pace S 30d standard features
- Adaptive Dynamics
- JaguarDrive Control (Includes 3 modes: Dynamic, Normal & ECO)
- Torque Vectoring by Braking (TVbB)
- All Surface Progress Control (ASPC)
- Dynamic Stability Control & Traction Control
- Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) & Lane Departure Warning
- Hill Launch Assist &Trailer Stability Assist Airbags (driver & front passenger, w/- seat occupant detector for passenger, front side, full length side window curtain)
- 20″ Alloy Wheels (Blade 5 Spoke with Grey and Diamond Turned finish)
- Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
- Electric, Heated, Auto-Dimming, Power Fold & Memory Door Mirrors
- Power Tailgate
- Adaptive LED Headlights with ‘J’ blade Daytime Running Lights, turning light & automatic high beam
- Front Fog Lights
- Red Brake Calipers & Bright Sport Pedals
- Taurus Leather & Suedecloth Sport seats with Contrast Double Stitching Suedecloth Headlining
- Split fold rear seat – 40:20:40
- 5 Power sockets (12V in 1st, 2nd row and trunk with 2x USB in 2nd row)
- Bluetooth telephone connectivity and audio streaming
- Meridian Sound System – 380W, 11 speakers (incl. sub)
Extra cost options on our test car:
- Sliding Panoramic Roof – $4,200
- 22” Double Helix 15 Spoke Silver finish and contrast insert alloy wheels- $3000
- InControl Touch PRO SSD Navigation Pack (includes InControlTM Touch Pro (SSD) Navigation & 12.3″ HD virtual instrument display) – $2,550
- Head Up Display Pack (includes Infrared Reflective Windscreen & Head- Up display)- $2510
- Cold Climate Pack (includes heated front windscreen, heated front and rear seats and heated steering wheel)- $2420
- Surround Camera System- $2050
- Keyless Entry – $1,800
- 4 Zone Climate Control- $1800
- Memory Pack – 14×14 way seats (includes 14×14 Electric Sport front seats with 4-way Lumbar & Memory and Electrically adjustable steering column) – $1,400
- Reverse Traffic Detection & Blind Spot Monitor – $1,120
- Lane Keep Assist and Driver Condition Monitor – $1,060
- Full Size Spare- $1000
- Configurable interior mood lighting- $940
- Privacy Glass- $900
- DAB Radio – $900
- Lockable Cooled Glovebox- $800
- Leisure Activity Key – $640
- Adaptive Surface Response (AdSR) – $290