An exhilarating driving experience while offering a premium interior and sexy looks.
It has been a proud year or two for the Jaguar Land Rover brand. Aside from the introduction of three very important new products, one of these products has accomplished the feat of the World Car of the Year honour. The vehicle is none other than the first crossover ever to be produced under the Jaguar brand, and it’s one that has earned top marks from our editorial team as well. The 2017 Jaguar F-Pace 35t R-Sport was also the recipient of the last “Best Luxury Crossover/SUV” award in our own office, so we were interested to re-visit this entry and see how it compares to its rivals.
The F-Pace is an instant winner in the looks department, sharing the same attractive swooping lines and styling cues as its XE counterpart (reviewed here). The crossover has rear shoulder haunches reflective of its added size, and the rear end, especially the taillights, reflects a direct relation to the stunning F-Type roadster (reviewed here). The front end on our test vehicle featured a blacked out grille and fender vents that complement the pearl Yulong White paint ($650) beautifully. A variety of wheel choices are available, but it’s worth noting that the standard 20” setup on R-Sport models look a bit bland, almost like a winter setup.
Its powertrain is one of the main reasons to opt for the F-Pace over its rivals. Save for the larger Audi Q7 and other models within the JLR family, the F-Pace is the only crossover in its segment to offer a supercharged engine. It’s not just any supercharged engine either; it’s a 3.0L V6 pushing 340 horsepower and 332 lb-ft. of torque. The power delivery is immediate, urgent, and the exhaust makes a delightful noise. This is the mid-level powertrain, slotted between a 2.0L four-cylinder diesel (reviewed here) and a beefier tune on the same 3.0L that pushes 380 horsepower.
Capable of towing up to 5,000 pounds, the F-Pace is only sold to Canadians in all-wheel-drive form. All powertrains are also mated to an eight-speed automatic, which in this application snaps off decently quick shifts and actually makes this crossover very engaging to drive. There is plenty of power right across the power band and the F-Pace accelerates to highway speeds with plenty of confidence. The R-Sport wheels may be bland to look at, but the meaty tires combined with the good suspension setup make for excellent ride quality. The F-Pace is a delightful vehicle to soak up the miles in effortlessly.
Jaguar rates the F-Pace with this motor at 13.3L/100km city, 10.0L/100km highway, and a combined rating of 11.8L/100km. An idle start/stop system, combined with an “Eco” mode on the Adaptive Dynamics system help keep fuel consumption down, though those enjoying the glorious noise of the supercharged six will find this task difficult. Over a week of 80/20 highway/city commuting, the F-Pace returned an amicable 10.4L/100km on 91-octane premium fuel.
On the inside, the F-Pace has been designed with ergonomics and style all taken into strong consideration. The seats on this tester were upholstered in a gorgeous two-tone Ebony and Light Oyster grained leather, contrasting nicely with the gloss black veneer on the dash. Fit and finish on this vehicle meets expectations, with no visible panel gaps and high quality materials used throughout. Those unfamiliar with JLR products will take a few seconds to get used to the rotary dial gear selector that slides up when the ignition is started, and the two-tiered door panels with the power window and mirror controls located right on the window sill.
Space is plentiful for front and rear passengers, with adequate headroom for six-footers even with the panoramic sunroof. Said six-footers will find legroom relatively tight in the rear, even with the power-reclining rear seats. Visibility in front is decent, though the high beltline and small rear window limit the rearward view. This also contributes to larger blind spots. Thankfully, blind spot monitoring is standard on this model. Trunk space in the cargo area is also adequate, with the F-Pace able to swallow most large objects generously. The power liftgate helps considerably with loading and unloading.
Jaguar’s InControl Touch system is vastly improved over its dated predecessor, and as of this model year all of their other vehicles have been brought up to speed in this regard. There is an optional 12.3” touchscreen available, but this F-Pace was equipped with the base setup. Everything is relatively straightforward, save for some sluggish response and longer-than-average time to connect to Bluetooth devices. The display is pleasant to look at with a vivid display and vibrant graphics. Jaguar and Land Rover still don’t offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, which we would like to see moving forward. On the plus side, the Meridian audio system is one of the best out there, and reproduces highs, mids, and lows perfectly.
The only rivals that offer interior appointments nearly as nice as the F-Pace are the Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 (reviewed here) and the new Audi Q5, both new entries in the last year or two. The Mercedes-Benz offers top-notch materials and ease of use, and the Audi’s plethora of technology using the Virtual Cockpit (reviewed here) brings it right up with the best. The Jaguar is still, subjectively, the most aesthetically pleasing, with contemporary design and a suede headliner, something that most passengers remarked on during our test week.
The base F-Pace with a turbocharged gas four-cylinder starts at $50,250. Stepping up to the 35t supercharged-six takes the sticker to $55,250. The R-Sport is the range-topper with this engine and adds 20” wheels, adaptive LED headlights, perforated leather seats, interior mood lighting, and R-Sport styling cues; starting at $65,000. The Black Pack costs an extra $500, Adaptive Dynamics for the dampers is $1,100, a Comfort and Convenience Pack is $2,000, and a Luxury Interior Pack for $2,300 brings the total to $74,272 for this nearly loaded tester.
With the BMW X3 aging considerably, the F-Pace’s biggest rivals are the aforementioned GLC and Q5, with honorary mention going to its own cousin, the Land Rover Discovery Sport (reviewed here). The 2017 Jaguar F-Pace R-Sport delivers an exhilarating driving experience while offering a premium interior and sexy looks. It may not be the most practical or the roomiest, but the F-Pace offers dynamics that few rivals do, and makes the compromise of transitioning to a crossover much easier for many.