Strong, sporty and handsome

K Shivraj
Saturday, 5 August 2017

Jaguar F-Pace SUV impresses with its dynamic ability and good balance between ride and handling, but is more costlier than many other SUVs

The F-Pace marks a departure from Jaguar’s image as a maker of beautiful cars. The F-Pace is an SUV, and in-line with the rising preference for SUVs. Sharing the platform with XE and XF, the SUV, true to the Jaguar way of working, uses good amount of aluminium. Close to 80 per cent of the vehicle’s body construction consists of aluminium. The result is a light yet stiff structure. A touch smaller than the BMW X5 and Audi Q7, and longer than the BMW X3 and Audi Q5, the F-Pace flaunts an unmistakable Jaguar chrome mesh business grille.

On either side are the sleek LED head lights with DRLs. If the bulge on the bonnet hints at a sporty demeanour, the SUV looks beefed-up. The sides are marked by a high shoulder line that flows nicely to the rear. The 19-inch dia alloys add to the stance. The tail lights look inspired by those of the F-Type, and are sporty too. The steeply raked rear pillars from an SUV’s stand-point are a little unusual though, and the twin mufflers fail to impress as much.

Cabin is bright and airy
The well-crafted interior looks similar to that of the XE and XF. The dash (the design and layout) looks quite similar to that of the XE. The trim, for example, spills over to the door pads. The multi-functional steering wheel feels good to hold, and is crowded with buttons of the digital instrument cluster. The Meridian audio system sounds premium. Displaying good quality of build, the cabin of the F-Pace is bright and airy with the ample glass area, and the panoramic sunroof contributing a good deal. The power window switches located on the window sill rather than near the armrest, however, may take time getting used to.

That said, the F-Pace is well equipped with individually-controlled AC at the rear, all-wheel drive and a host of safety features including park-assist, which helps steer the SUV into a parallel or perpendicular parking slot. Park-assist also helps steer out of a parallel slot. Equipped with a full-size spare wheel, the vehicle has supportive and comfortable seats at front. The rear seats recline electrically, and provide good under-thigh support, and knee room is in good supply.

Impressive 3-litre model
Available with the choice of a 177 bhp 2-litre four-cylinder diesel engine, and a 296 bhp 3-litre six-cylinder diesel engine (on R-Sport), the F-Pace comes with an eight-speed auto transmission. The performance of the 3-litre model is impressive. It emanates a deep growl as the revs rise. Exerting a strong pull at 2000 rpm, and way up till 4500 rpm, the vehicle offers a strong mid-range. Overtaking manoeuvres are easily accomplished.

The 700 Nm of torque available from 2,000 rpm does not demand downshift too often. The auto transmission does a good job. However, there are paddle shifts as well. In the manual mode, the transmission holds the gear. Throttle, transmission and steering response change when either of the four driving modes are chosen. The stiffness of the adaptive dampers equipped model are electrically controlled. The refined engine, with a light foot, upshifts early. This makes it efficient and easy.

Ride gets better with speed
Ride and handling of the F-Pace are impressive. There is surprisingly no stiff edge to the ride. Irregularities are well taken care of, and the ride gets better with speed. Sporty and enthusiastic around corners, the SUV flaunts high level of grip. If this all sounds unlike an SUV, the F-Pace, with a combination of finely tuned suspension, 255 section tyres, and an all-wheel drive system does an impressive job of a twisty mountain stretch. Begging to be pushed, the F-Pace is equipped with torque vectoring system that independently applies brakes to either or both inside wheels. The SUV is thus able to carry good speeds around corners. Body roll is well controlled and the steering is sharp and precise.

Costly  
Dynamically brilliant, the F-Pace is costly, the 3-litre R-Sport variant is priced at Rs1.02 crore. The 2.0-litre variant price starts at Rs 68.40 lakh ex-showroom Delhi approximately. At home in the city, and out on the highway, the SUV impresses with its dynamic ability and a good balance between handling and ride. Comfortable as well as enthusiastic, the F-Pace is a capable premium SUV, but significantly costlier than many other German SUVs.

Pros: Performance of 3-litre F-Pace, comfort, ride and handling
Cons: Price

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