Jaguar’s Big New Cat is Out of the Bag

Before the 2017 F-Pace went on sale, it was already Jaguar’s fastest selling vehicle with about 10,000 customers pre-ordering the sleek SUV before they even stepped foot inside to drive it. Following in the footsteps of other automotive companies that started as sports car makers (a la Porsche, Maserati, Lamborghini), Jaguar knows that in order to expand and maintain their current luxury car offerings, they needed an SUV of their own. For their first time out of the gate, has Jaguar nailed the formula?

In one word: yes. Based on the presales of the F-Pace, there’s a huge market for a Jaguar SUV, especially one with a starting price well within the reach of new customers—and Jaguar wants a whole lot of them—and existing customers to think about Jaguars in a new light. With an incredibly attractive base MSRP of $40,990, the F-Pace already seems like a well-dialed car with way more years of experience than its currently providing when we test-drove one around the gorgeous scenery of Aspen, Colorado. It’s dynamic, beautiful (for an SUV), and fully capable of being a stronghold in the market with an extremely attractive price point.

Coming standard with all-wheel-drive, a massive panoramic sunroof, and a host of other features, the F-Pace is already in front of the pack with qualities that are usually options with other luxury companies.

Built on an aluminum intensive platform, 80-percent the F-Pace’s construction is made out of the lightweight metal. This means it’s lighter, more fuel efficient, agile, and able to pack in more cargo space than its competition. With a 40:20:40 configuration for the rear seats, the F-Pace is able to hold a class-leading 63.5 cubic-feet of stuff with the seats folded.

And even though it’s class leading in the cargo department, it’s no secret that Jaguar modeled the driving dynamics after the Porsche Macan, as they praise its high values of performance. There are three engine choices: a 2.0-liter diesel (that we didn’t get to evaluate), a 3.0-liter supercharged 340 horsepower V6, and a tarted up top spec 3.0-liter V6 with 380 horsepower. On the road, the F-Pace handles more like a sports car rather than a traditional SUV, and you can thank the Jaguar engineers for staying true to the limits set out by them. Double-wishbone suspension in the front and a bias of power towards rear-wheel drive, the F-Pace will outperform a majority of its owners’ abilities, but maintains the comfort required when cruising around town. There’s comfort in knowing this cat can claw while still being sedate at everyday speeds. And even though Jaguar shares technology with their Land Rover stable mates, the road-going software was fully developed in-house at Jaguar. Nice one, Jaguar.

With the bias towards the rear, the F-Pace handles as fluid as a sports car and at no time were we searching for more grip. The 8-speed automatic does a wonderful job of selecting the correct gear depending on the situation. It will also allow you to shift yourself, inducing lovely exhaust notes from the V6 engine. In fact, the F-Pace surprised us with how well its road manners performed. If the Porsche Macan was their goal, they are extremely close to their target; fully locked and loaded.

The newly designed interior is quiet, functional, and full of little design touches that offer luxurious appointments but also fun, quirky, and beautiful details on the higher spec models such as the ‘First Edition’ with its houndstooth design tidbits. There’s a new 10.2-inch InControl Touch optional navigation screen that is beautiful to look at, but we wish there were a few more physical buttons. The software also needs to be dialed in a bit to work out some bugs, but with the ability to showcase the map in the instrument cluster, it adds a supremely slick and easy to use interface right in your line of sight.

Out of the gate, Jaguar has managed to become competitive in one of the most cutthroat segments in the automotive industry. Not only does Jaguar have a solid and beautiful automobile on its hands, but it could soon become the top selling luxury SUV in the world. And we have no doubts about that 1because it’s aggressively priced, looks stunning, and well, it drives like a Jaguar.

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