It might be because the Jaguar F-PACE is that company’s first SUV… or simply that it is downright good looking, but, whatever it is, this car gets attention, lots of it, and even a few thumbs-up from admiring strangers.
Yes, it’s every bit a Jaguar, but in the unaccustomed form of a roomy five-seat SUV, a first from that company.
Clearly, much depends on the success of this model, given the current car sales trends.
The company’s engineers have done a thorough job, and car buyers seem to think so too, with hundreds of orders placed before it even reached our shores from the UK.
While the F-PACE comes from the conglomerate that also produces Land Rovers and the celebrated Range Rover line-up, this car is a Jaguar through and through.
From the unmistakable styling to the nicely finished interior, to the handling, which is certainly crisp, agile and sporty for a vehicle of this size.
Outside, there’s the familiar Big Cat face; the imposing grille above those large air scoops, set off by elegant headlights.
I know that style is a personal thing, but to me the car looks good at any angle.
The hips, taillights and rear design are eye-catching, and the powered tailgate provides easy access to the generous sized boot.
That cargo area comes complete with a reversible floor cover, which allows you to carry wet items without damaging the carpet.
Clever touches like that abound in the new Jaguar SUV.
The Activity Key for instance. A watch-like wearable waterproof device that means you can go to the beach and swim without having to cart the car keys with you. And lose them in the sand. Ingenious.
The aluminium alloy body surrounds a well-appointed cabin, with an infotainment system that’s simple to navigate.
Among many other things, the system displays what the drivetrain is up to, but finding some of the switches in a hurry takes a bit of getting used to.
I liked the seating, there’s plenty of room in the back, and although the cabin layout looks much like other Jaguars, that’s hardly a drawback, as they are so well thought out.
The model I tested, the 3.0 litre turbo-diesel V6 was teamed with an 8 speed automatic transmission, and produced 221kW and 700Nm of torque.
If you are planning to tow a trailer or boat, this F-PACE is the one for you, rated at 2400kg towing capacity.
You can take the F-PACE off-road as well, if you can bear to risk scratching the paintwork, or getting your pride and joy covered in mud.
There’s a water crossing depth capability of 525mm, and the Adaptive Surface Response which decides which wheels do the driving in a slippery off-road situation.
Swift and agile, the driving experience is thoroughly predictable, on road or off.
The company claims fuel consumption of 10.1L/100km, for me though, it was more like 12.0L/100km.
That might have been because I was pushing the vehicle along much of the time in all sorts of traffic conditions and road surfaces. Remember it is a Jaguar, and I just had to!
Everything you would expect came with the car… adaptive cruise control and a host of other driver-assist features. Blind spot monitoring, and reverse traffic detection.
A premium brand SUV… stylish, luxurious, and reasonably priced when compared with its competitors.
Starting around $74,000 for the entry level model, buyers in this category would be well advised to book a test drive and decide for themselves.
The 2016 Jaguar F-PACE is a car that should be good to live with, and besides, you will get plenty of looks!
NUTS and BOLTS – 2016 Jaguar F-PACE 30d
Engine: 3.0 litre turbo-diesel producing 221kW and 700Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Safety: Not tested
Warranty: Three years
Origin: United Kingdom
Price: from $84,545