Jaguar turns a sports car into a sports wagon
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.