Vehicle: 2020 Jaguar F-Pace 25t R-Sport
MSRP as tested: $71,785
Specs: 'Ingenium' turbocharged 2.0 litre 4-cylinder @ 247 hp, 269 lb-ft torque
0-100kmh as tested: 6.8 seconds (7.0 seconds claimed)
There was a time when Jaguar wouldn’t have even dreamt of building an SUV, but injecting the Jaguar DNA into a crossover has actually worked surprisingly well… As Jaguar’s best seller, F-Pace packs all the practicality and space buyers expect from their a luxury crossover nowadays, all while maintaining a unique and stylish feel, as well as being genuinely fun to drive. It’s not necessarily the best-value nor the most luxurious among its peers, but its combination of style a sportiness offers a flair that might just entice buyers looking for something less ubiquitous than the ever commonplace German and Japanese offerings.
The compact luxury crossover segment is full of cushy SUVs that are all show but no go, so it’s a relief that the Jaguar F-Pace is one of the exceptions, driving as good as it looks. With sharp responsive steering, a firm suspension that minimizes body roll, and range of potent engine options (topping out at 550 horsepower in the fire-breathing SVR), it stays true to Jaguar’s sporty DNA, handling like a higher-sitting sports sedan. Just be sure to avoid the F-Pace’s 247 hp base engine if excitement is your thing, because while it’s on par with the competition on paper, in real life it feels quite sluggish, leisurely strolling to 100kmh in a disappointing 7 seconds. The up-tuned 296 hp turbo-4 is the least we’d go with and offers far more satisfying power, but if you don’t mind shelling out a bit more, it’s the ’S’ variant’s 380hp 3.0L V6 that hits the sweet spot, with its ability to juggle between silky smooth power delivery and exhilarating acceleration.
All this performance in an SUV body does result in some compromises though. While most of the Jaguar sedan lineup is exceptional at combining sporty performance with a luxurious ride, F-Pace’s firmly sprung setup seems to lean more towards sport. It certainly isn’t uncomfortable by any means, but it does ride a bit harsher than your average luxury crossover (especially when optioned with the 22 inch wheels like our tester), which could turn off some buyers. But then again if comfort and style is your priority, you’d be better off looking at the F-Pace’s ‘Range Rover Velar’ cousin in the first place, with which it shares many of its underpinnings.
Like its flashy exterior, the F-Pace’s cabin has a distinctive design that makes it feel unique, even if its not the most well-built or luxurious. Even though it’s not the most luxurious or solidly-built, the F-Pace’s cabin has a distinctive design that makes it feel uniquely Jaguar. Buttons are organized neatly under the large infotainment screen, and a retractable cupholder lid along with the signature rising gear selector (which sits flush when powered off) add to the clean yet functional design. One odd detail are the window switches, which sit on the upper door sill right next to the windows much like its Range Rover cousins; a bit unusual for a sport-focused crossover. Low points include materials feeling a bit lacklustre especially in lower trim levels, and build quality still lags behind the Germans, but overall its still a very respectable cabin, and one that will looks even more distinctive and stylish when it adopts the dual-screen ‘touch-pro’ system with its upcoming 2021 refresh.
Tech is a mixed bag; the digital instrument cluster is easy to use thanks to its colourful eye-popping UI, customizability, and ability to display a large navigation map, but the centre screen itself (while beautiful to look at) can be buggy and frustrating to use at times. On the bright side, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard to offer an alternative to the bug-riddled infotainment system. And with the upcoming refresh revamping the interior with modernized styling and adopting the Pivi Pro infotainment system, things are looking bright for the F-Pace's interior.
As one of the larger and wider SUVs in its class, F-Pace's interior is also one of the most spacious. Front seats feel just roomy enough to be comfortable without losing its sporty feel, and rear seats are quite wide and roomy, even though the smaller windows make it feel less open than others. As a result, F-Pace should be able to comfortably fit 5 large adults without much fuss, and more comfortably than most rivals. Trunk is also very impressive at over 33 cubic feet, and that combined with the 40-20-40 split seats, flush floor when seats are folded down, and optional hands-free automatic trunk, make it one of the most practical options among compact luxury crossovers despite its stylish slopping roofline.
Ask any Jaguar owner why they bought their car, and many of them will cite its stylish design and uniqueness as a huge determining factor. There’s no denying that F-Pace simply looks more unique and special than the mainstream Q5/X3/GLC offerings, and that combined with the fact that it’s not on the driveway of every middle-upper class household, certainly helps it stand out from the crowd.
Up front, Jaguar’s signature J-shaped LEDs flank the iconic oval grille, complimented by some additional large air vents on the lower bumpers. The side profile looks sporty yet substantial, tapering off slightly at the tail to give it an illusion of a lower sloping coupe-like roofline. Thin horizontal taillights that looks nearly identical to the F-Type finish off the rear, giving it a sleek and sporty look that blends very well with its muscular-looking body. Our tester's also adds 22-inch wheels and the R-Sport trim, which adds an R-Sport body kit + badging, satin metal accents, and LED fog lights.
Recommended Build: Jaguar F-Pace 30t Prestige ($62,220 CAD)
Jaguar F-Pace starts at a very reasonable $52,500 CAD, but can get pricey really fast if you don’t watch what option boxes you’re ticking. Our 25t R-Sport tester came pretty well loaded with the Driver Assist Package, Luxury Interior Package, Technology package, a few standalone options including a heated windshield, upgraded including 22-inch wheels, and Caesium Blue metallic paint. Grand total? A whopping $71,785 for an F-Pace with the base 247 hp engine, which happens to be just about the price of the far more exciting ’S’ model with its 380hp Supercharged V6. If it were up to us, we’d take the more powerful engine over some of the fancy options, especially considering the ’S’ model comes with a lot of these added options standard.
Even if power isn’t your priority, we’d recommend at least going for the 30t’s upgraded 296 hp engine (starting at $59,500), as anything less frankly doesn’t do the F-Pace’s handling chops justice. The Prestige trim offers the best value adding leather seats, interior mood lighting, and LED daytime running lights, and we’d also consider adding on the Technology Package for $1020 (giving you Navigation Pro w/ Meridian Surround Sound System and a 12.3 inch digital instrument display), as well as the Drive Package for $1700 (blind spot assist, emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control for those longer journeys). Specced our way, F-Pace sits at a modest $62,220, making it quite an enticing option and surprisingly good value.