Cat’s pretty on the outside
Sibonelo Myeni finds the sweet spot in Jaguar F-Pace S, but also some scratchy interior bits
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