Jaguar F Pace

Jaguar F Pace lr

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By Tim Saunders

When revolutionary motorised transport was introduced in the late 19th century a whole industry was created that continues in the UK to this day. Throughout its history change has been a key factor in order to progress ranging from design and performance to emissions. There continue to be challenges, too. The current key ones being the joys of Brexit and concerns about diesel emissions.
Since the turn of the millennium the SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) has become increasingly popular thanks mainly to the hugely popular BMW X5; the only luxury SUV for years – the 4x4 Range Rover is in an altogether different league as testified by the Royal Family’s reliance on them.
It was therefore time for a new challenger. Enter the Jaguar F Pace.
Think of a standard Jaguar XF saloon, raise it to the height of a Land Rover add a slightly revised backend and All Wheel Drive. A crossover in more than one sense of the word.
Head on it is striking thanks mainly to its massive grille. It is a good looking well-rounded, futuristic vehicle and there are some neat touches, shared with other Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) siblings including the rising dial of the 8-speed automatic gearbox and the electrically operated tow bar.
Inside it is fitted with cream leather and brown wood effect making for pleasant surroundings. An electric cover reveals the panoramic tilting glass roof, which lets huge amounts of light into the cabin; a real difference on a dull day. The 10-way electrically operated front seats are comfortable and my wife does like the fact that the front ones are heated, too. However, once the engine is switched off it forgets that you have put them on and you have to do it again using the touchscreen on the dash. On parking the Jag I forget that I have left the roof tilted and the roofline hides the fact that it is open so I think I’ve shut it until the following morning. It takes me a couple of days to realise that this sunroof also slides. Because everything is electrically operated, if the engine is not running, the battery will not allow the radio to be on for more than 15 minutes, much to the annoyance of my young son. This occurs in many a modern vehicle in contrast to the whole hour I can listen to the radio for with the engine off, in my ageing yet practical Ford Fiesta.
Little Henry (2) does however, thoroughly enjoy the juice sucking touchscreen and in fact I let him show me how to operate it. It does seem that we cannot use the sat nav without inputting a pin which is very frustrating as I don’t know it.
The model tested is the 2-litre diesel which is delivering around 38mpg. It costs a shade under £50,000. There is plenty of space throughout including a very well sized boot making it a practical proposition for executives and their families. The layout of the electronic speedometer and rev counter is confusing with the rev counter generally taking centre stage – it seems to change places with the speedo – not sure if my children are to blame for this – I feel as if I’m losing my marbles.
The head up display, in common with a growing number of vehicles including Peugeot projects the speed with speed limit onto the windscreen so less attention is paid to the dials on the dash. The cruise control is one of the easiest to use and it is an intelligent system, braking and accelerating with the speed of the traffic ahead. Those seeking a more engaging experience will be pleased to see paddleshifts either side of the steering wheel. The low profile tyres give the Jaguar a sportier feel but do highlight bumps.
A qualm I have, in common with the Nissan Qashqai, is the heated front windscreen which includes thin black electrical wires throughout, more visible on a dull day, I find. It seems that this is the only way to manufacture a heated screen and it does clear mist very quickly. However, my preference is a simple unheated windscreen because for me these wires are distracting and uncomfortable to look through over a long period. 
I like the raised ride height which gives a good view of the road ahead but no matter how many cameras are fitted to this vehicle and there are quite a few including one that looks at it from up above – how did they do that? - it is cumbersome. Smaller cars allow for quicker more decisive moves, larger ones like this Jaguar force the driver to be far more cautious regardless of whether there is a reversing camera or not. Just reversing off my driveway is a case in point.
In common with other automatics there is a slight delay between kicking down on the accelerator and the vehicle actually moving, even with sports mode. Then on the last day of my test Heidi (5) is fiddling about with the various switches and buttons to reveal that there is one that actually improves the torque on pulling away and it is very effective.
Highways England parks a van on a bend as operatives unload it, causing long tailbacks. When it is finally clear sports mode is selected and the accelerator pushed right down. Nought to 60 in just over eight seconds, just enough to get round the bend in safety. Bearing in mind it is only a 2-litre diesel, this is pretty impressive. But sports mode makes less difference than anticipated.
For street cred there are few vehicles that have as much cache as this big cat. It is nice to see that Porsche Cayenne drivers can’t resist double taking as they savour its more attractive looks.

Facts at a glance

F PACE Portfolio 2.0D AWD
Price: £47,115 On The Road
Top speed: 129mph
0-60mph: 8.2secs
Power: 180bhp
Economy: 38mpg
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