The Jaguar F-Pace is a smart-looking SUV that is fun to drive and very practical, although its stiff suspension means it isn’t as comfortable as alternative models
If you want a practical SUV that looks brilliant and is fun to drive, then the Jaguar F-Pace should be right at the top of your shopping list.
It was launched in 2016 and updated in 2017 with three new engines: two 2.0-litre diesels – with 163 and 240hp – and a 2.0-litre petrol with up to 300hp. New colours were also introduced as was the option to upgrade the infotainment screen with Jaguar’s dual-view display, which means the front passenger can watch a DVD while the same screen gives the driver satellite-navigation directions.
The F-Pace has loads of room inside despite being as handsome as some low-slung coupes. You should be able to get comfortable in both the front and the back whether you’re thin and tall, or wide and small, and it only starts feeling cramped if you squeeze three people onto the rear bench.
The boot is also very practical. It has a squarer shape than a conventional, low-slung Jaguar saloon, so it’s easy to load and can swallow a week’s worth of luggage for a family of four without flinching. It’s a great car for house moves, trips to the dump and those sorts of things.
Trouble is, while it’s nice to look at, the interior is let down by flimsy build quality in places – the Jaguar’s cabin feels a little less sturdy than that in an Audi Q5 or Mercedes GLC – forgivable in a cheap car, but not in an expensive SUV like the F-Pace.
The Jaguar F-Pace is so good it makes you feel proud to be British
The F-Pace drives more like a sporty saloon than a tall SUV. There’s very little body lean in corners and its wide tyres mean it has plenty of grip. The main drawback is that the stiff suspension highlights bumps that would be smoothed out in the Audi Q5.
The basic diesel engine gets the best fuel economy of all. If you can afford it, though, treat yourself to the S model’s V6 diesel. It is quick enough to make the most of the F-Pace’s excellent handling and as standard you get adaptive dampers – that smooth out bumps better than the regular suspension – and Jaguar’s smooth-shifting, eight-speed automatic gearbox.
The F-Pace has yet to be tested for safety by Euro NCAP, but it shares lots of parts with the XE and XF saloons – both of which were awarded top marks when they were evaluated under 2015’s tough testing regime.
Whichever F-Pace you choose, you’ll get a car that looks great and is extremely practical. Its bouncy suspension means it’s not quite as comfortable as similar cars, but the trade-off is that it is more fun to drive.
Watch our SUV group test video to see how the Jaguar compares to the Audi Q5 and Mercedes GLC and for an in-depth analysis of the F-Pace, read our following interior, driving and specification review sections.