What about that name: F-Pace? It’s a little on the quirky side, but not quite as odd as Bentley’s ritzy new SUV, the Bentayga.
Bent-tiger, what’s that about?
There is some Jaguar history repeating itself here: Back in the swinging ’60s, Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons described his cars as having “grace, space, and pace.” It became Jaguar’s advertising mantra for more than a decade.
Once you’ve worked out the “pace” part, the “F” is easy. This dynamic new Jag 4×4 shares much of its componentry with Jaguar’s racy two-seater, the F-Type. It has the same supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine, 8-speed transmission, well-judged suspension, and beefy brakes. And, not surprisingly, the same fun-to-drive character, which can be attributed to the F-Pace’s lightweight-aluminum construction. Less bulk translates into zippier acceleration, tighter cornering, and faster stopping. Just ask Usain Bolt.
We’re not talking about a couple of pounds here. On average, a new F-Pace tips the scales at 372 pounds under, say, a Lexus RX 350, or 339 pounds fewer than Audi’s Q5.
How does this slimmer structure benefit performance? Outfit your F-Pace with the 380-horsepower supercharged V-6 motor—there’s a 340-horse version, but why would you bother?—and you’ll rush from standstill to 60 mph in a mere 5.1 seconds. That’s fast.
And this isn’t some manic, hard-edged, raucous speed demon. It has that “grace” part of Sir William’s catchphrase by the boatload. Here is a refined, elegant, dynamic cruiser that rides smoothly with a tinge of Euro firmness. It precisely steers with just the right amount of heft in the helm and feels alive when tackling any journey.
It can also handle any kind of inclement weather. With standard all-wheel drive, dynamic stability control, torque vectoring, and decent ground clearance, it can withstand even the sloppiest Florida monsoons.
But what really sets this new F-Pace apart from the crowd is the way it looks. While so many luxury SUVs seem overdesigned and cliché—yes, we’re talking about you, Mr. Lexus RX 350—the Jaguar is taut and muscular, with sublime curves and broad shoulders. We’ve seen that gaping mouth and air-gulping intakes on the flagship XJ and latest XF, but the added height that comes with an SUV showcases Jaguar’s new family face.
Open the door, climb aboard, and the final word in Sir William’s triumvirate, “space,” is laid out before you. The rear-seat area is downright cavernous, with room for three adults to stretch out in unbridled comfort. Now try that in a Porsche Macan.
While the F-Pace’s cabin is thankfully free of gimmicky bells and whistles—it’s all handsome double-stitched leather, wood, or aluminum trim with shiny black lacquer—it offers some cool technology. The optional (read: must-have) InControl Touch Pro system, composed of two customizable screens, is a revelation in terms of its clarity and user-friendliness.
As for the cost, the F-Pace is hugely competitive. Pricing kicks off at just $41,985, but that’s for the four-cylinder turbo diesel version that absolutely no one will buy. The real range starts with the F-Pace 35t at $43,385 and the 35t Prestige at $51,095. A tricked-out F-Pace S, with 22-inch rims and lots of toys, will set you back roughly $65,000.
Make no mistake: Jaguar has hit a major home run with this new F-Pace. It has all the grace, space, and, yes, pace that was the hallmark of those Jags of yesteryear. With no end in sight to America’s love affair with SUVs, the F-Pace is bound to be the best-selling Jag ever. Get in line now.
PRICE: F-Pace S $57,695
ENGINE: Supercharged 3.0-liter V-6
POWER: 380 hp
TORQUE: 332 pound-feet
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic
0-60: 5.1 seconds
TOP SPEED: 155 mph
LENGTH/WIDTH: 186.3/81.5 inches
WHY WE LIKE IT: Because it offers true grace, space, and pace.