The Jag wagon

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Prestige -

alu­minium. But de­spite the wide­spread use of a me­tal renowned for be­ing lighter than steel, the var­i­ous mod­els aren’t es­pe­cially light.

For the F-Pace’s in­tro­duc­tion to in­ter­na­tional me­dia, Jaguar chose Mon­tene­gro. This small Balkan coun­try, part of what used to be Yu­goslavia, has spec­tac­u­lar tra­verses by roads that range from awe­some to aw­ful. Some are so poorly main­tained they make an Aus­tralian feel right at home.

Han­dling and ride com­fort — at least in the high-end six­cylin­der mod­els Jaguar brought to Mon­tene­gro — are clearly a cut above class av­er­age.

The F-Pace has su­perb steer­ing and strong brakes. Its sus­pen­sion deals very well with bumps and bends alike.

En­gine op­tions are a 2.0litre turbo diesel four (132kW), 3.0-litre turbo diesel V6 (221kW) and high-tuned ver­sions of the com­pany’s su­per­charged 3.0-litre petrol V6 (250kW and 280kW).

All are teamed with an eight-speed au­to­matic and all­wheel-drive (there will be reardrive F-Paces in some other mar­kets). Most Aus­tralian buy­ers will choose the diesel.

Carsguide sam­pled the V6 turbo diesel and the high-power su­per­charged petrol V6.

Both are pow­er­ful, smooth and sat­is­fy­ing to drive. Both made over­tak­ing slow-mov­ing Mon­tene­grins — which is most of them — very easy.

The in­te­rior is spa­cious, with a roomier rear seat than its com­peti­tors. The large 650L cargo com­part­ment is also class-lead­ing, Jaguar claims. Up­front, the F-Pace’s high and wide cen­tre con­sole helps cre­ate a snug, car-like am­bi­ence, per­haps too snug for those with long legs.

The F-Pace’s pre­mium in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem fea­tures a wide 10.2-inch touch­screen, thought­not all of its tricks — such as Google Earth route dis­play when us­ing sat­nav and the mo­bile Wi-Fi hotspot — will work in Aus­tralia at the time of launch.

The in­stru­ment panel uses the same ba­sic tiered lay­out as seen in Jaguar’s sedans. If the F-Pace has a weak­ness rel­a­tive to the com­pe­ti­tion, it’s that de­sign and qual­ity in this area aren’t a match for the Ger­mans.

But there’s noth­ing im­por­tant miss­ing from the F-Pace’s list of stan­dard safety equip­ment. It’s the first Jaguar to in­clude pedes­trian de­tec­tion in its au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing tech. The F-Pace will slam on its brakes for peo­ple as well as parked cars when there’s the dan­ger of a col­li­sion.

Pric­ing is fairly com­pet­i­tive. The cheap­est F-Pace will be the $74,340 four-cylin­der turbo diesel 20d in ba­sic Pres­tige equip­ment grade. Prices rise from this point through the more pow­er­ful en­gine op­tions and the more highly equipped R-Sport, Port­fo­lio and S grades, top­ping out with the $103,420 S, pack­ing the 280kW su­per­charged V6.

Tem­po­rar­ily, how­ever, the most ex­pen­sive F-Pace mod­els will be the First Edi­tion ver­sions. Jaguar will pro­duce only 2000 ex­am­ples, fit­ted with ev­ery op­tion in the book, plus spe­cial 22-inch wheels and in a choice of two cus­tom paint colours (in­clud­ing the Cae­sium Blue seen in the pho­to­graphs).

They will sell on a first­come, first-served ba­sis. Aus­tralian prices will be $117,210 for a First Edi­tion with the 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel and $120,700 with the su­per­charged V6.

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