Motormouth: Jaguar F-Pace
Pace-setting crossover: Jaguar F-Pace R-Sport 2.0d
Jaguar, like most others, realised that if you want to keep the sales graphs climbing, you’d better have SUVs in your product lineup. And when your sister company builds rather tasty off- and soft-roaders, you’d be nuts to ignore what it can offer by way of expertise. Just one question: “Why call F-pace a crossover when it’s much more SUV than many others that call themselves that?”
We in South Africa have ten of them – all with awd and in four trim levels (Pure, R-Sport, S and First Edition) – powered by two- and three-litre diesel engines and two versions of a 3.0 petrol motor. Prices range from under R800 000 to a shade over R1.3-million. Our test car was an R-Sport with the two-litre Ingenium diesel and sporting 255/55 R19 rubber.
Reinforcing the all-road image is ground clearance of 213 mm, approach and departure angles of 25.5 and 26.0 degrees and wading depth of 525 mm. Dirt credibility is supplied by Jaguar’s torque-on-demand awd system that was introduced on F-Type and goes by Intelligent Driveline Dynamics (IDD). It preserves Jaguar’s famed rwd agility and character but transfers torque forward as needed. The changeover is very sensitive, so the car actually spends little time in purely rear-wheel drive mode.
Its default drive split is 100:00 (rear to front); but can switch over to just the opposite at the spin of a couple of wheels. Unlike other awd systems, IDD claims to be able to predict traction loss rather than simply react to it. The moment it detects slippage, it pre-emptively transfers torque to the wheels with best grip.
If that still doesn’t convince you, a R16 600 option pack adds Adaptive Surface Response or AdSR. Put simply, this gives you the Automatic mode from Range Rover Sport’s Terrain Response System – the part that lets the computer decide what works best for what’s happening right now.
It was fitted to the test vehicle. With AdSR engaged the car easily negotiated our tenderfoot trail – one that’s proved challenging to a couple of well-regarded 4×2 pickups we know – without hesitation. We would definitely tick that option box first.
Back on asphalt we found the car’s all-steel suspension firm; set up for sporty blacktop handling rather than rough country roads, but it remained compliant and absorbed bumps well. It’s not unpleasant. Call it liveable, but not as comfy as some other crossovers, if you will.
In Jaguar road-burner guise with lots of manual gear shifting (S mode on the rotary drive selector, plus paddles) the F-Pace performed and handled brilliantly. A “Dynamic” setting on the mode selector tab (Dynamic, Normal, Eco and Snow, if AdSR hasn’t been fitted) tightens up suspension and adds urgency to throttle and steering.
F-Paces in Plain Jane guise, if one hasn’t gone crazy with the German-car-like options list, provide manually adjustable leather seats and steering wheel; push-button starting; manual hatch operation; analogue instruments; a plain version of the entertainment and navigation system with an eight-inch touchscreen, and most of the usual modern conveniences including six airbags, front and rear parking aids and a reversing camera.
Upgrading to the R32 800 InControl Touch Pro pack, with 10.2” screen and virtual instruments, adds a faster and more powerful processor, more sophisticated navigation aids and on-board music storage on a hard disc drive. It also provides access to a wider range of assistance apps; like the one that calls for help if you need any and another that helps you keep tabs on your vehicle.
Accessed via cellphone, it monitors current location, security status, fuel level and recent trips – good for keeping an eye on the asset while away. Let other family members be aware, is all we’re saying.
On a practical note, the spare wheel is a fully sized alloy, the boot is big, back seat head- and knee room is generous and there are enough recharge points to satisfy a whole thumblur of teenagers. Storage space is plentiful too. The car is big, solid and quiet (despite the diesel), runs like a racehorse and looks more modern inside than most of its high-end competitors.
Footnote: Dear Santa, I have been really good this year and I truly deserve one of these. In Yuletide Red. Could you toss in a set of all-terrain tyres and the AdSR option, please? Ignore the rest. Thank you.
Test unit from Jaguar-Land Rover SA press fleet
Base price: R871 266 incl. CO2 tax
Engine: 1999 cc DOHC, 16-valve, four-cylinder, common rail diesel with single VGT ♦ Power: 132 kW at 4000 rpm
Torque: 430 Nm between 1750 and 2500 rpm ♦ Gearbox: ZF 8HP45 eight-speed automatic
Zero to 100 km/h: 8.7 seconds ♦ Maximum speed: 208 km/h
Real life fuel consumption: About 8.1 l / 100 km ♦ Tank: 60 litres
Luggage: 463 – 1553 litres
Warranty and maintenance: 5 years / 100 000 km