Jaguar F-Pace

The English au­tomaker’s new­est ad­di­tion to its fleet, the F-pace, may be a lit­tle late to the SUV party but it’s no doubt mak­ing up for lost time, says alethia tiang

Prestige (Singapore) - - CONTENTS -

the road ahead is nar­row, bumpy and wind­ing, as I climb up the moun­tain­ous course. Thank­fully, I’m not do­ing this on foot. But my right foot is get­ting a work­out, al­ter­nat­ing be­tween step­ping on the brake and ac­cel­er­a­tor pedal, as I sit be­hind the wheel of the all-new Jaguar F-pace, the Brit au­tomaker’s first foray into the fast-grow­ing Sports Util­ity Ve­hi­cle seg­ment.

Yes, you read it right. Jaguar has fi­nally wel­comed an SUV to its fleet. The new five-seater is ex­pected to hit Sin­ga­pore shores in July, but to­day, I’m in Mon­tene­gro to take the all-new Jag for a spin on the high­ways, coun­try roads and off-road ter­rains of the small Balkan coun­try, known for its nar­row beaches and me­dieval vil­lages.

The F-pace I’m in is the 3.0 S and I love how it’s tak­ing on the sharp turns eas­ily. The car is ag­ile and grippy, as it con­fi­dently climbs up the un­even moun­tain­ous roads and nar­row gravel paths to Lovćen Na­tional Park, lo­cated 1,800m above sea level. Sure, the road may be a bit bumpy but it’s noth­ing that this jun­gle cat can’t over­come eas­ily.

On the straighter stretches, I can’t re­strain my de­sire for speed and pick up pace. Power is guar­an­teed in this one, since it is fit­ted with the same ro­bust en­gine as Jaguar’s sports car, the F-type. The F-pace, though, weighs a hefty 1,800kg, but the Bri­tish car mar­que has some­how been able to mask that mass su­perbly, so the car hits 100km/h from a stand­still in only 5.5 sec­onds. As I dig the ac­cel­er­a­tor deeper into the floor, the SUV growls and picks up speed even more, al­beit slightly slower than I want. Maybe I’m just feel­ing a lit­tle im­pa­tient to­day, but no mat­ter. I play around with the pad­dle shifts to gear up and down to my lik­ing, push­ing the car fur­ther and faster.

SUVS are tra­di­tion­ally Land Rover’s turf, but Jaguar has picked up a thing or two. Its ground clear­ance of 213mm is sim­i­lar to the Dis­cov­ery Sport and it comes with the op­tion of fit­ting 22-inch wheels, but 20-inch ones work well enough to keep the ride smooth and the steer­ing com­fort­able. How­ever, the F-pace toes a slightly dif­fer­ent line, po­si­tion­ing it­self as a se­ri­ously stylish drive with off-road ca­pa­bil­i­ties, while its size puts it in be­tween Porsche’s Cayenne and Ma­can, and BMW’S X3 and X5.

In­side, leg and head room are more than de­cent, while boot ca­pac­ity is 650 litres with the rear seats up. Fold them down and the cargo space ex­pands to 1,740 litres. In com­par­i­son, the Porsche Cayenne of­fers 600 litres and 1,780 litres, while BMW X5’s are at 650 litres and 1,870 litres. Mind you, these cars are also big­ger than the F-pace so the Jag’s of­fer­ing matches up im­pres­sively.

Fi­nally, I reach Lovćen Na­tional Park but I’ve not reached the end. I’m told to drive ahead to where a Jaguar rep­re­sen­ta­tive is wait­ing for me at the bot­tom of a steep and bumpy slope. It is then I am told to climb up the hill with the help of the F-pace’s All Sur­face Progress Con­trol, a func­tion that en­ables it to drive up dif­fi­cult sur­faces while main­tain­ing an easy pace. All I have to do is steer it in the right di­rec­tion and let this in­tel­li­gent ride do all the dirty work. But what goes up must come down, right? So at the top, I en­gage the Jag’s Hill De­scent Con­trol sys­tem — one we’ve seen so of­ten in Land Rovers — and the F-pace steadily glides down the hill, while I sim­ply con­trol the speed by tap­ping on the brake pedal.

Af­ter a quick lunch, we head out again, this time in the diesel-run ver­sion with a ca­noe at­tached to the roof ( I’m sure I’ll find out what that’s for later). We drive to the fa­mously scenic — or fa­mously per­ilous — Cet­inje-ko­tor road, named one of the 25 most dan­ger­ous in the world for be­ing a nar­row sin­gle-lane, two-way road with over 30 hair­pin turns. But the 38-km route boasts an ex­tremely mag­nif­i­cent sight of this East­ern Euro­pean na­tion with awein­spir­ing views of coastal towns along the Adri­atic Sea. Thank­fully, the diesel F-pace is able to ma­noeu­vre these me­an­der­ing roads with im­pres­sive grip and sta­bil­ity, though it isn’t quite as pow­er­ful as the petrol vari­ant — its two-litre en­gine pro­duces a max­i­mum power of 180bhp, as com­pared to the three-litre petrol’s 380bhp.

At the coast of Perast, Jaguar fi­nally re­veals our next ac­tiv­ity:

A visit to Our Lady of the Rocks, but we each have to get into our ca­noes and pad­dle the short dis­tance over first. A man-made is­land built in the 15th cen­tury by two broth­ers, Our Lady of the Rocks’ only at­trac­tion is a Ro­man Catholic church, which at­tracts its fair share of sailors for wor­ship. Painted with mu­rals, the church also houses a mini mu­seum show­cas­ing the is­land and the church’s his­tory. It’s not lost on me how lucky I am to not only take Jag’s first-ever SUV for spin, but to also ex­pe­ri­ence the charms of this beau­ti­ful na­tion.

With the sun be­gin­ning to set over the hori­zon, we head back to our lux­u­ri­ous base: The Aman Sveti Ste­fan. But in­stead of driv­ing back around — which would take at least two hours, de­pend­ing on traf­fic — we take the Lep­etane-ka­me­nari Ferry across the straits of Verige. With the cars parked on deck, we all take a 10-minute breather to sim­ply en­joy the view.

The drive back from the jetty takes longer than ex­pected due to ma­jor road works. But even in the mas­sive traf­fic con­ges­tion, the F-pace inches ahead with­out so much as a jerk and jolts, as it moves off each time. It is dur­ing this wait that I fi­nally play around a bit with the new top-of-the-line in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem. Much im­proved from its pre­vi­ous edi­tion, the In­con­trol Touch sys­tem sports sharp graph­ics and op­er­ates as in­tu­itively as an ipad, with cool vis­ual themes and a fullscreen nav­i­ga­tion dis­play.

Fi­nally, I’m back at the Aman and thor­oughly spent from an en­tire day driv­ing around Mon­tene­gro. But it was nev­er­the­less a sat­is­fy­ing one with the F-pace. When this car fi­nally sets foot in Sin­ga­pore (we’ll be get­ting the 3.0 S and 2.0D Pres­tige vari­a­tions), I’m sure even petrol heads will be pumped enough to drive one home. Wearnes Au­to­mo­tive, 45 Leng Kee Road

From left: F- paces on board the lep­etane- ka­me­nari Ferry; a look at the tech­nol­ogy in­side the F- pace

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Singapore

© PressReader. All rights reserved.