Cat’s pretty on the out­side

Si­bonelo Myeni finds the sweet spot in Jaguar F-Pace S, but also some scratchy in­te­rior bits

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - • Catch Si­bonelo Myeni talk­ing cars on Ukhozi FM every Thurs­day morn­ing at 7.45 am.

LOOK­ING at our front page, Jaguar’s en­try into the SUV seg­ment with the F-Pace with a diesel was ei­ther go­ing to be a mas­ter­stroke — or sac­ri­le­gious to the Bri­tish brand, on test we had the range­top­ping diesel F-Pace S.

Judg­ing the whole F-Pace by its de­sign, rest as­sured, Jaguar have hit the sweet spot in de­sign as this Cat draws at­ten­tion ev­ery­where. It cer­tainly has a pres­ence on the road that does not show in pho­to­graphs.

The F-Pace mixes Jaguar DNA with trendy de­sign touches to make an eye catcher from the slim LED head­lights, large ra­di­a­tor grille, slop­ing roof and sig­na­ture LED rear lights.

Fin­ished in white, our test unit could have done with the op­tional panoramic glass roof.

In S trim it gains sports bumpers, S door claddings with Satin Chrome fin­ishes; 20-inch fivespoke wheels come stan­dard.

On the de­sign alone, the F-Pace has its main com­peti­tors (Porsche Ma­can, Merc GLC Coupe, BMW X4) well cov­ered.

The in­te­rior lay­out is func­tional and al­lows easy con­trol of all func­tions. Elec­tric leather sports seats come stan­dard. Some of the in­te­rior fin­ishes do not do jus­tice to the Jaguar pre­mium brand and are a let­down. The new In­fo­tain­ment Touch­screen is a mas­sive im­prove­ment over the pre­vi­ous Jag unit.

Nav­i­ga­tion, an ex­cel­lent Merid­ian Sound Sys­tem, al­can­tara roof lin­ing, cruise con­trol, speed lim­iter, re­vers­ing cam­era with park as­sist, two-zone cli­mate con­trol, satin chrome gearshift pad­dles also come stan­dard.

The F-Pace seats five adults com­fort­ably and cos­sets them in lux­ury even on long jour­neys. The boot space is good, how­ever, the much-needed full-size spare wheel (20-inch, five-spoke as well) does in­hibit some space, but I would still rather have this than the dan­ger­ous run-flats of­fered by com­pe­ti­tion.

Pow­er­ing the Diesel S F-Pace is Jaguar’s 3-litre Twin Turbo diesel V6 cred­ited with 221 kW/700 Nm driv­ing all wheels via an 8-speed auto trans­mis­sion.

The S Diesel sprints from 0100 km/h in 6,2 sec­onds top­ping at 241 km/h. Dur­ing the test re­view we av­er­aged 9,5l/100 km in city driv­ing whilst we got as low as 8,2l/100 km on the open road, im­pres­sive fig­ures in­deed, how­ever, the 66-litre fuel tank does limit range.

The V6 Diesel is an ex­cel­lent cruiser with lit­tle or no lag on pulloffs and that tree stump-pulling torque means the trans­mis­sion rarely needs to change down on in­clines.

On the road the F-Pace has ex­cel­lent dy­namic man­ners with road hold­ing and agility re­served for sports cars.

The light­weight alu­minium ar­chi­tec­ture ex­cels in change of di­rec­tion. This is not sur­pris­ing con­sid­er­ing the F-Pace tar­gets the also ex­cel­lent Porsche Ma­can. On bumpy roads, the F-Pace can be­come un­set­tled but over­all, it’s an ex­cel­lent dy­namic weapon on twisty roads. Com­fort and low noise in­tru­sion in the cabin mean oc­cu­pants can travel long dis­tances with lit­tle fa­tigue.

The F-Pace comes stan­dard with an ex­ten­sive five-year/ 100 000 km main­te­nance plan with road­side as­sis­tance.

At R1 125 700, the F-Pace Diesel S does come stan­dard with a lot of kit, es­pe­cially if you con­sider its main ri­val Porsche Ma­can S Diesel costs R1 148 000 but needs buy­ers to pay ex­tra for 20inch wheels, Sports leather seats, LED head­lights ... fea­tures that will sig­nif­i­cantly in­crease the Porsche’s price.

As a dy­namic SUV pack­age, the F-Pace ticks all the boxes but the in­te­rior qual­ity is a let­down.

The F-Pace V6 diesel is an ex­cel­lent cruiser and han­dles as ex­pected from a pre­mium price SUV, but the in­te­rior qual­ity needs work. PHOTO: JAGUAR

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