Jaguar turns a sports car into a sports wagon

Cecil Whig - - & - By MAL­COLM GUNN

www.wheel­base­me­dia.com

Who would have thought that Jaguar’s scin­til­lat­ing F-Type coupe and road­ster could be the in­spi­ra­tion for an equally sharp-look­ing fam­ily wagon.

Yet that’s what the all-new F-Pace is about; be­ing a thor­oughly use­ful con­veyance that can com­fort­ably trans­port the fam­ily and at­ten­dant gear on the same twisty road­ways as its FType re­la­tion.

A look-see at the F-Pace con­firms that Jaguar chose to put style ahead of space and util­ity. Oth­er­wise the au­tomaker’s de­sign and en­gi­neer­ing teams would have cho­sen the much larger XF or XJ sedans as their start­ing point. From front to back the body­work is cur­va­ceous and de­void of any sem­blance of an­gu­lar­ity. Clearly this car is meant to ap­peal more to the heart than the head.

The fo­cus on shape­li­ness re­sults in less cargo space, whether the split 40:20:40 rear seat is up­right or folded flat. There’s less vol­ume than in the com­pet­ing Mercedes-Benz GLC, but more than in the Cadil­lac XT5 or Porsche Ma­can that also play in the same ball­park as the F-Pace.

The load floor comes with built-in cargo tie-downs and is low to the ground to al­low stowage of taller items. The carpeted floor can also be flipped over, re­veal­ing a mois­ture-re­pel­lent rub­ber back­ing.

Pas­sen­ger ac­com­mo­da­tions are equally spa­cious for up to five oc­cu­pants, al­though legroom for the per­son sit­ting in the cen­ter rear-seat po­si­tion isn’t as gen­er­ous. A wide floor con­sole that sep­a­rates the front seats is where you’ll find a gear se­lec­tor knob in­stead of a tra­di­tional shift lever.

The F-Pace uses the same ba­sic struc­ture as the FType, ex­cept the F-Pace’s dis­tance be­tween the front and rear wheels has been ex­tended by 10 inches. The plat­form uses co­pi­ous amounts of re­cy­cled alu­minum, from sus­pen­sion com­po­nents to body pan­els. This helps keep the weight down, al­though the com­pact Jaguar wagon tips the scales at about the same 4,000-pound base weight as its com­peti­tors.

Putting the F-Pace through its paces in­volves one of three avail­able pow­er­plants, start­ing with a 2.0-liter four-cylin­der tur­bod­iesel that pro­duces 180 horse­power and 317 pound­feet of torque. Its avail­abil­ity is a gutsy call con­sid­er­ing how gun shy buy­ers might be due to Volk­swa­gen’s em­bar­rass­ing diesel emis­sions cheat­ing scan­dal. How­ever this mem­ber of Jaguar’s “In­ge­nium” en­gine is said to be both clean and fuel ef­fi­cient, al­though fi­nal fuel rat­ings aren’t yet avail­able.

Op­tional is a su­per­charged 3.0-liter V-6 that makes ei­ther 340 or 380 horse­power de­pend­ing on the trim level se­lected.

Each en­gine is fit­ted with an eight-speed au­to­matic transmission with pad­dle shifters.

All-wheel-drive is stan­dard fare on the F-Pace. In nor­mal con­di­tions, the onde­mand unit di­rects 100 per­cent of the en­gine torque to the rear wheels. But when slip­page is de­tected, half of it is di­verted to the front wheels in mil­lisec­onds. The sys­tem also ap­plies brak­ing to the in­side rear wheel for more con­trolled and pre­cise cor­ner­ing.

All Sur­face Re­sponse ap­plies the ap­pro­pri­ate torque to the cor­rect tire(s) at low speeds, should you dare to take this beauty past the edge of the pave­ment.

F-Pace 20d (turbo-diesel) pric­ing starts at $42,000 and in­cludes dual-zone cli­mate con­trol, slid­ing panoramic sun­roof, power tail­gate, 11-speaker sound sys­tem and 18-inch wheels. Mov­ing up to the Pre­mium, Pres­tige and R-Sport trims will sig­nif­i­cantly en­hance the con­tent.

For those averse to diesels, step­ping up to the base F-Pace 35t gets you the same equip­ment plus the 340-horse su­per­charged V-6, but will take an ad­di­tional $1,400 to com­plete the trans­ac­tion, which seems more than fair.

Along with pre­mium leather seat cov­ers, nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem, over­sized dis­play screen and other com­fort­ing and prac­ti­cal niceties, the ul­ti­mate 380-horse­power F-Pace S comes with a va­ri­ety ac­tive crash-avoid­ing safety tech­nol­ogy and can be had with fen­der-fill­ing 22-inch wheels.

Re­gard­less of con­tent, the F-Pace’s style and swag­ger plus the grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity of all things wagon-like could soon make it Jaguar’s most pop­u­lar model.

What you should know: 2017 Jaguar F-Pace

Type: Four-door, all­wheel-drive com­pact wagon

En­gines (h.p.): 2.0-liter DOHC I-4, turbo-diesel (180)

3.0-liter DOHC V-6, su­per­charged (340-380)

Transmission: Eight­speed au­to­matic

Mar­ket po­si­tion: Jaguar is late to join other pre­mium au­tomak­ers in man­u­fac­tur­ing a tall wagon model. Re­gard­less, the F-Pace will pro­vide a huge shot in the arm for Jaguar sales and could lead to larger sev­en­pas­sen­ger model.

Points: Like other Jags in the fleet, this one is a real looker. • In­te­rior styling gets full marks for sporti­ness. • Base turbo-diesel en­gine might not be that pop­u­lar, given mod­est fee for up­grad­ing to su­per­charged V-6.

• Rea­son­able stowage space, but se­ri­ous pack rats should look else­where. • A class act that war­rants se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion.

Ac­tive safety: Blind-spot warn­ing with cross-traf­fic alert (opt.); ac­tive cruise con­trol (opt.); lane de­par­ture warn­ing (opt.); pedes­trian de­tec­tion (opt.)

MPG (city/hwy) 18/23 (base 3.0 V-6); Base price (incl. des­ti­na­tion) $42,000 By com­par­i­son Cadil­lac XT5 Base price: $40,000 XTS re­place­ment is more of a boule­vard cruiser that a sporty wagon. Mercedes-Benz GLC Base price: $40,100 For­mer GLK model now looks more main­stream. AMG model com­ing soon. Audi All­road Base price: $43,000 A real-deal up­scale wagon with all-wheel-drive, good power and fuel ef­fi­ciency.

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