Picking up the Pace

THEY ARE ALL AT IT: LAMBORGHINI, MASERATI & SOON EVEN ROLLS ROYCE & ALFA ROMEO ARE TO JOIN THE PARTY. WHAT ARE THEY ALL UP TO? BUILDING SUVS OF COURSE. THIS ISSUE OUR MOTORING CORRESPONDENT ANDY WRIGHT CHECKS OUT JAGUAR’S OFFERING; THE F-PACE


It is the fastest-growing sector in the industry and no longer can car companies afford to avoid making such desirable and lucrative models. Jaguar has broken its mould too and added the F-PACE, arguably one of the prettiest SUVs available. With such an evocative past linked to sports cars and fast saloons, does the magic still work when things go tall?

Jaguar makes much noise about the F-PACE sharing its DNA with the dainty little twoseater F-TYPE and there are clearly many common design themes; that said, there is possibly a greater family resemblance with the new XF and XE saloon models due to the sheer size of the F-PACE. It is certainly attractive with smooth large radius curves, the characteristic feline haunches and neat, familiar Jaguar light clusters. The recognisable Jaguar face is maintained with a deep valance beneath the grill. The photographs really don’t do the F-Pace full justice though; it looks much more handsome in the metal with a broad and imposing stance.

Inside, the family resemblance is stronger than ever and the fascia will feel familiar to anyone who has been in one of the comfortable saloons. It is neat and well-finished with smart, stitched leather all around. Seating is comfortable, supportive and extremely adjustable. The completely pointless yet delightfully pleasing rotary gear selection dial falls easily to hand and the dashboard layout is gently understated with a neat dials or optional digital screen ahead of the driver.

The F-PACE is available in four trim levels, broadly sitting within the two themes of luxury or sport. Each trim level is very well-equipped, and anything ticked on the options list will be chosen out of desire rather than necessity. The F-PACE is very much pitched as a performance SUV and when set up for bends really does deliver great levels of poise and control, due in part to the clever torque vectoring (braking of the inside rear wheel to pull the car round corners). The flip side is a slightly firm ride the rest of the time, particularly noticed as a passenger although less so behind the wheel. Both the 3.0 V6 and 2.0 diesels are very able yet the two-litre actually has the greater charisma from a driving experience. It makes more use of the slick eight-speed auto ‘box - sometimes changing down on the lightest of pedal pressures - but revs willingly. It is slightly slower than the V6 but carries a little less weight at the nose and seemed somehow more eager. From outside the car, it is the V6 which has the greater aural charm, delivering a deep, throaty roar.

So what does the F-PACE bring to the party? It may be labelled an SUV but it properly blurs the lines between SUV, sports and estate car and with its distinctive styling, sporting pretensions, and a generous load area the F-PACE really does deliver a practicality and desirability all of its own.

The Jaguar F-PACE starts at £35,020.


To read more from Andrew visit www.motorwriter.com