The F-Pace is fun to drive for an SUV, and has a good range of engines – but it can be uncomfortable on bumpy roads
The smooth 3.0-litre 300hp diesel is the pick of the F-Pace’s engine range because it provides effortless performance and is much quicker than either the 180 or the 240hp diesel. After all, if you’re spending a lot of money on an F-Pace, it’s worth investing a little extra cash to get the absolute best out of it.
The big diesel surges smoothly from 0-62mph in just 6.2 seconds, so you’ll always have a healthy dollop of overtaking power in reserve if you need it, plus grippy four-wheel drive is standard as is Jaguar’s smooth-shifting, eight-speed automatic gearbox. It’s worth going for the S model because you also get adaptive dampers, which make the car more comfortable on bumpy roads than the standard non-adjustable suspension.
Jaguar reckons the 3.0-litre diesel will get 47.1mpg, which isn’t too far off the 53.3mpg an identically specified 180hp 2.0-litre model gets.
Want an F-Pace that’s cheap to run? Go for the basic 163hp 2.0-litre diesel, which returns fuel economy of 58.9mpg and CO2 emissions of 126g/km. But it can’t offer the performance the F-Pace deserves, gets a six-speed manual gearbox and no grippy four-wheel drive.
The F-Pace drives like a hot hatch on stilts
You have two choices of petrol engine – a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 petrol engine which is hair-raisingly fast but not economical, or a 2.0-litre. This 2.0-litre, introduced in 2017, isn’t as thirsty (38mpg in 250hp form) and is still reasonably quick – getting from 0-62mph in 6.0 seconds (300hp version), but it doesn’t feel as effortless as either of the 3.0-litre models.
If you want an SUV that feels like a hot hatch in the corners, and have ruled out the pricier Porsche Macan, then the F-Pace is the car for you. It doesn’t suffer from the excessive leaning in corners you might expect from a traditional SUV and its quick steering makes it feel agile.
Comfort suffers, though. You’ll find the Jaguar’s suspension is stiffer than that in a Mercedes GLC or Audi Q5 – particularly if you go for R-Sport or Portfolio models that come with 19-inch alloy wheels and low-profile tyres. Sporty S cars have 20-inch wheels but come with adaptive dampers, which smooth out bumps. They’re an £875 option across the rest of the range.
The big wheels also generate a fair drone although wind noise is well contained. That said, an Audi Q5 is quieter at a cruise.
Euro NCAP has yet to test the F-Pace for safety but you can be confident it is safe. It comes with lots of standard kit, such as automatic emergency braking, a lane departure warning system and a traffic sign recognition system that displays the current speed limit on the infotainment screen. Adaptive cruise control – which can brake and accelerate autonomously to match the speed of the car in front – is a £1,460 option.
The F-Pace’s height means you get a good forward view in town, but the bonnet drops from sight which can make it hard to judge the corners of the car, and visibility out the back is atrocious – it’s just as well it comes with all-round parking sensors. Park assist – which can automatically park the F-Pace into perpendicular and parallel spaces – is a £470 option, while all-round cameras, which give a bird’s eye view of the car, are £990.
You’re unlikely to risk damaging the F-Pace off-road (a Discovery Sport would be much better suited to such activities) but all F-Paces – except for the basic 163hp diesel – are available with four-wheel drive.