The Dad takes Jaguar F-Pace for a spin
“Jules?” I call my youngest son as I enter the front door. “Jules!” With a mild caution he pops his head over the top of the stairs, as I tend to pull a prank on him on a very regular basis. “You need to come downstairs, I want to show you something pretty neat”. His reaction doesn’t mirror my enthusiasm, and I can’t blame him. I have taken a little too much pleasure from him falling for my stupid jokes. “No, really, you’ll like this, come on downstairs, I’m not going to scare you or anything”. As he is almost at the door I look over my shoulder. The light in our garage is almost completely gone, taken up by a red beast that now houses there.
“Wooowww”. That’s as much as my son can say. For him the Jaguar F-Pace must be even more impressive, as he’s only 5 years old and is just over 110 cm tall. The giant grill, the pitch black 20” wheels and the high doors, all equally impressive and a world apart from our normal ride.
He’s literally jumping up and down for joy as he walks to the rear door and I realise he already has an eye for great cars. “Can I enter? Is this my seat?” He climbs inside, not a giant climb, but he does have to put an effort into it. I can see he wants to go for a ride so I get his kiddy seat. If he was much younger I would use one of the two isofix’s that are installed in the back, pretty handy if you need to take your twins for a ride. However, also cool daddies without kids can take twins in this car ;).
Jules points at the rear view mirror where he sees a camera now showing what’s behind us. A twist of the Jaguar DriveControl at the centre of my cockpit and it switches to Drive and I feel the ease with which the car accelerates, not pushy at all to show off the force of the engine. Yet.
Starting the car is a real pleasure: you don’t need a key to open the door, your choice of ambient light is on when you get in, it automatically connects with your phone and starts the song you were listening to most recently. A push on the button and the steering wheel comes down to your pre-set height, the Jaguar DriveControl button comes up and the engine starts to roar. You can set the F-Pace in one of the 4 settings: Eco, Standard, Dynamic and Rain, Ice & Snow. From there, the car will let you know how you are supposed to drive. If you set in to Eco, it will move up a gear rather early, responding to the kickdown reluctantly and giving you 3 rewarding green meters, showing how eco-friendly your driving is. I assume you understand what happens when you set it in Rain, Ice & Snow modus.
If you set it to Dynamic, it will respond faster to your foot on the throttle, and respond much sharper at your steering. Pulling up slowly in Dynamic and Sport is just an agony for the car. It’s almost like it tells you to put the pedal on the floor, waiting for you to shift gear until it disappointedly moves up as late as possible. If you use this combination well, especially in combination with manual control, it will reward you with a strong acceleration, sharp steering and that feeling when you drive a Jaguar. This combination is not very compatible with cruising with your family as I managed to get a rather panicky look from my wife at one point, while pushing the car through some tight curves at full speed. I learned that the Torque Vectoring Technology is responsible for this greater control in cornering. Jules, however, was very happy to experience this sporty driving style.
To really get an idea of what makes this, well, a real Jaguar, I took it to some smaller roads, without the wife and kid. Here the combination of ‘Sport’ and ‘Dynamic’ can be used to its full potential in combination with the manual control. The dashboard even changes in layout to give the tachometer the central spot. This is where you want to switch to manual, turn off the music and listen to the roar of the engine. The car is very well isolated and shifting up and down based on your hearing is hard with your favourite music turned up high. You really feel the G-Forces pressing you against the comfortable Jet/Red Taurus leather sports seats. Even though I drive the entry level car which still manages to give an impressive 180 bhp out of the 2.0 litre diesel engine. Moving up one model will get you a V6 3.0 litre diesel engine with a whopping 300 bhp, or the petrol engine, also 3.0 litre V6, that gives 380 bhp. The 3.0 V6 Turbocharged engines both get you from 0 – 100 km/h in under 6 seconds, vs just under 9 seconds for the model I drove, which is pretty nice for a car this size!
The suspension of the F-Pace is quite firm, especially in combination with the 20” wheels (mine had shiny black Blade 5 Spoke). My version didn’t have the adjustable (‘dynamic’) suspension, but it is recommendable to get this option as it will make it even more suitable as a family car (or stick to smaller wheels). It’s a clear indication on the aspirations of the designers on making a sportive SUV that’s competing with the Mercedes GLX and BMW X3 with its entry model, and against the Porsche Macan with its bigger engines.
The Jaguar F-Pace is car with two faces, hidden behind a stunning design that guarantees admiring looks from fellow road users. On one hand it is a great family car: spacious, comfortable, practical and with a great overview of traffic. On the other hand, it’s a bit of a sports car, if you like to take it for a spin by yourself or with friends. The power of the engine is impressive, the handling makes you feel like an elevated race driver at times with a car that’s just glued to the road and you look damn stylish in it. With this first ever SUV, Jaguar passes this test effortlessly.
The Jaguar F-Pace is available from € 54.880.
The version I tested was the 2.0 D 180bhp R-Sport Automatic transmission AWD for € 85.250
Coats by Hackett London
Watch by Jaeger-LeCoultre
Photo credits: Kiki Kouthoofd for Mister Cocktail