This is Jaguar’s first ever SUV. Called the F-Pace, it has less in common with Land Rovers, and in fact shares its underpinnings with the XE and XF saloons. So, with monocoque-based SUVs being the ongoing fad thanks to their inherent ability to attack the worst of terrain while also being comfortable and practical on road, Jaguar couldn’t have forayed into this segment at a better time. What we have here is the F-Pace R-Sport in diesel guise and here’s what it is like.
The Jaguar F-Pace is a beautiful looking vehicle with just the right proportions and a tapering roofline that emphasises aerodynamic design and a sporty attitude. It features Jaguar’s signature ‘J’ blade DRLs with adaptive LED head lamps, a grand grille, and the unmistakeable Jaguar stance.
In fact, the sporty rear section with the haunches and high intensity LED tail lamps, mirror the F-Type’s characteristic look which inadvertently lends the elevated F-Pace a more dynamic posture, regardless of the angle it is viewed from.
This is a premium cabin and one will find lots of chrome trim highlighting the bits along with some of the finest leather complemented by red stitching over the dash, centre console and seats. A three spoke steering that’s chunky and nice to hold adorns the dash, which holds a fully digital instrument cluster. We especially liked the wide central display screen and the digital aircon temperature display with the thick curved glass surrounding it.
The front seats look extravagant in the black and red contrast leather with red seams, and offer electric adjustments even for the lumbar support. Front passengers will immediately feel comfortable once seated thanks to the superior contours, cushioning, kneeroom and loads of back and thigh support.
At the rear, the seats with its contours are comfy for two despite being slightly short on thigh support. Occupants will also find lots of headroom, adequate legroom and the best possible backrest angle thanks to it being electrically adjustable. Though the use of a full size spare alloy wheel is commendable, it has eaten into the boot space.
With the R-Sport version one gets features like the LED 'J' blade DRLs, 10-way electric front seats with memory, panoramic sunroof, Meridian sound system, leather seats, surround and rear-view camera, and 19-inch alloys. There’s also the R-Sport body kit that includes R-Sport front and rear bumpers, body coloured door claddings, the R-Sport branding, and interior mood lighting.
Start the motor and you’ll be surprised with the refinement levels from this diesel 3-litre 296bhp unit that churns out a massive 700Nm of torque, and is mated to a quick shifting eight-speed transmission in this R-Sport form. It is only when you rev it hard that the engine can be heard inside the cabin. There are preset modes that can be selected via buttons below the gear shifter which vary the responses from the engine and steering, and are called Dynamic, Normal, Eco, and Eco (Rain, Sand, Snow). Off the mark, there’s hardly any turbo lag and the motor pulls in a very linear fashion all the way to the 4100rpm redline.
Though there’s enough performance throughout the rev band even in the ‘Normal’ and ‘Eco’ modes, the response from the motor is unhurried and not as spontaneous as ‘Dynamic’. It meets slight throttle inputs by retaining the same gear and gaining momentum, but punch the accelerator pedal further and the gears downshift to aid the performance requirement. Once one backs off the throttle, the transmission quickly upshifts to save fuel. ‘Eco’ and ‘Normal’ modes are basically meant for the gearbox, and one wouldn’t be able to make out from behind the wheel.
Tap on the ‘Dynamic’ mode and the responses get quicker through the rev range. If performance is the only objective, then actuating the ‘Sport’ mode (located next to D on the gear shifter) will allow a lower gear to be active for instant response, and when any extra throttle input is noticed, it will kickdown immediately to push the car crisply ahead. Our Vbox recorded the 0-100kmph sprint in 7.45sec. Once the paddle shifters are in use, manual mode will kick in where the gears will not upshift until manually slotted.
With a stiff suspension setup overall, one can hear the suspension working at slow speeds when the roads turn worse, and bigger bumps can be felt within the cabin. However, as speeds rise, the suspension flattens the road undulations much better until the bumps get worse which is when it translates into some bobbing. Nevertheless the F-Pace makes for a great mile muncher and long distances can be despatched easily in great comfort.
With the preset modes, the electric power steering system also weighs up accordingly. We noticed exceptional feedback from the steering while lending great assistance by being light at low speeds and weighing up accurately as speeds rise. It also enables this SUV to brilliantly stick to the intended line even as the bends get tighter. What also helps is the immense grip, all-wheel-drive, and torque vectoring that controls braking on the individual wheels to reduce understeer. With brakes that have a sharp bite, we would have loved better feedback but unfortunately the pedal feels a bit wooden.
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||296 @ 4000|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||700 @ 2000|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||66|
|Tyre size||255/55 R19|
|Xenon headlights with LED 'J' blade DRLs||Yes|
|10-way electric front seats with memory||Yes|
|Meridian sound system||Yes|
|Surround and rear-view camera||Yes|
|R-Sport front and rear bumpers||Yes|
|Interior mood lighting||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Max. Power (bhp)||296 @ 4000||245 @ 4000|
|Max. torque (Nm)||700 @ 2000||580 @ 1750|
|Gears||Eight-speed automatic||Seven-speed PDK|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||66||60|
|Tyre size||255/55 R19||235/60R18 (Front) & 255/55R18 (Rear)|
Jaguar’s first SUV may have more or less the same ground clearance and wading depth as some of the Land Rovers, but it focuses more on being a fun and practical vehicle that can turn heads, rather than a tool to attack the Dakar with. With the R-Sport retailing for 1.26 crore (ex-showroom Mumbai), this version takes on the Porsche Macan, but the latter tilts more on being a performance oriented SUV unlike the Jaguar F-Pace which feels like a practical choice overall. A splendid effort!
Pictures: Kapil Angane