With its combination of performance, refinement and practicability, Jaguar has produced an ace SUV with the brand new F-PACE.

Jaguar F-Pace

Jaguar has arrived late to the Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) game. With brands like BMW, VW, Audi and Mercedes Benz bringing out model after model to satisfy the growing SUV appetite of customers, the British marque has taken bewilderingly long to bring out the very first SUV in its line-up. The first BMW X3 was released 13 years ago.

What is Jaguar’s first SUV like? Does it make the cut? How does it compare with its rivals?

First, the F-Pace is certainly looks better in the metal than in pictures. With its sleek lines, aggressive front end and sloping coupe-like roofline, the F-PACE is a sight to behold. Its squat dimensions give it a mean demeanour, very much like an F-TYPE. It is huge road presence and yet is not bulky like most SUVs.

The F-Pace is also big on the inside. The 2,874mm wheelbase translates to ample legroom for passengers, and the panoramic roof adds to the sense of airy spaciousness. It also boasts all of the practicality of a family SUV. The 650-litres can be expanded to 1,740-litres with the rear bench flooded flat.

The quality in the interior is what you would expect from the British marque; high-quality materials are lathered throughout the well-built and comfortable interior.

The British luxuries on board include lovely decorative materials (such as soft-grain leather and warm-tone wood), classy and comfortable seats, precisely controlled air-conditioning and 10-colour ambient lighting. The infotainment centre and instrumentation of the F-Pace are excellent. It is in the small details that you discover the wealth of quality engineering. For example, the rear seats can be electrically reclined for added lounging comfort.

Our test car is the 3.0-litre V6 AWD Twin turbocharged diesel. Let’s get one thing straight – the F-PACE is fast. Put your foot down, and the shove from the V6 AWD drive twin turbocharged diesel V6 engine is shocking and exciting every single time. With 221kW of power and 700Nm of torque at your disposal, the F-PACE will go with absolute ease, despite its 1,884kg weight.

Preferred styles of gear shifting and acceleration are accommodated by Driving Mode selection from Dynamic, Rain/Snow/Ice, Eco or Manual Paddle operation.

Put your foot on the right pedal and the Jag emits a low, threatening growl, hinting at the power that awaits. Prod it, and the car immediately leaps forward. Let the revs pile on and that growl crescendos to a vicious howl.

Throw the SUV into a couple of corners and you experience the admiration for the work the Jaguar engineers have put into the car’s suspension system. The SUV remains firmly planted to the tarmac with little detectable body roll.

The V6 is intoxicatingly fun, but the fear of traffic cameras and speed fines will eventually kick in. When I finally decide to stop mashing throttle, the F-PACE is fully capable of being a docile. Ride quality is always on the firm side but is nonetheless comfortable enough, with the suspension soaking up most bumps in the road.

Admittedly, the F-PACE is not the biggest fan of slow traffic, as the engine is always on the edge of wanting to unleash itself. Also, the whine of the V6 twin turbocharged and steady exhaust growl sits ominously in the background at all times and while we may love that, some drivers may want slightly more peace and quiet.

Unlike most luxury SUVs, the F-PACE manages a delicate yet precise balancing act between having the practicality of the family SUV, the refinement and comfort of an executive sedan and the performance of a sports coupe.

Singular in Jaguar’s lineup, the F-PACE will likely occupy a similar niche and singular place in the local luxury SUV market and I reckon it is better off this way. Personally, this is a car for the discerning driver who knows what he wants, a “driver’s car” in the purest sense of the term.

In its first go at making an SUV, Jaguar has undoubtedly nailed it. The F-PACE is an absolute ace of a car!

Priced from $74,340 plus on road costs for the F-Pace Prestige 20d, $83,745 (+ORC) for the Prestige 35t (250kW) and stretching to $120,415 (+ORC) for the top-of-the-range 3.0-litre petrol First Edition.

powered tailgate, electric assisted power steering
Dimensions mm: L 4731 W 1936 H 1652 WB 2874, Ground Clearance 213

20d - 2 Litre 4 Cylinder AWD Turbo Diesel (132kW 4000, 430Nm 1750-2500)
30d - 3 Litre V6 AWD Turbo Diesel (221kW 4000, 700Nm 2000)
35t - 3 Litre V6 AWD Supercharged petrol (250kW 6500, 450Nm 4500, S is 280kW)
Eight speed Automatic Transmission
Diesel Derivatives RRP
  • F-PACE Prestige 20d - $74 340 plus on-road costs
  • F-PACE R-Sport 20d - $80 044 (+ ORC)
  • F-PACE Prestige 30d - $84 544 (+ ORC)
  • F-PACE R-Sport 30d - $90 304 (+ ORC)
  • F-PACE Portfolio 30d - $91 304 (+ ORC)
  • F-PACE S 30d - $99 894 (+ ORC)
  • F-PACE First Edition S 30d - $117 164 (+ ORC)
Petrol Derivatives RRP
  • F-PACE 35t Prestige 35t - $83 745 (+ ORC)
  • F-PACE 35t R-Sport 35t - $88 505 (+ORC)
  • F-PACE 35t Portfolio 35t - $90 515 (+ORC)
  • F-PACE S 35t (280kW) - $103 135 (+ORC)
  • F-PACE First Edition S 35t (280kW) - $120 415 (+ORC)
Warranty: 3 years/unlimited Km Capped Servicing: $1,100 to $1,750 over 5 years