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Jaguar F-Pace 2016 review

EXPERT RATING
8
Joshua Dowling road tests and reviews the Jaguar F-Pace with specs, fuel consumption and verdict at its Australian launch.

Joshua Dowling road tests and reviews the Jaguar F-Pace with specs, fuel consumption and verdict at its Australian launch.

Better late than never, British brand Jaguar has finally arrived in the booming SUV segment.

If it seems like Jaguar may have been faffing about, they have.

For the better part of the last decade there was a feeling within the company that Jaguar didn't need an SUV because the Land Rover part of the business had it covered.

But the global swing to "faux-wheel-drives" was too strong to ignore, and so here, finally, we have Jaguar's first ever SUV.

It's made on the same Solihull UK production line as the latest Range Rover Sport and Land Rover Discovery -- and the Jaguar XE sedan with which it shares its underpinnings.

By Jaguar's own admission, the F-Pace is hard to pigeonhole.

The body is all aluminium, making it significantly lighter than similarly sized SUVs. It's almost as big as a Porsche Cayenne but weighs less than a Holden Commodore.

By Jaguar's own admission, the F-Pace is hard to pigeonhole.

It's bigger than a Porsche Macan, Audi Q5 and Range Rover Evoque, and slightly smaller than a BMW X5, Audi Q7 or Range Rover Sport.

Jaguar built the SUV it wanted to -- in the hope of stumbling on a new niche.

The early signs are good. More than 150 customers placed deposits before they had even sat in one or seen the price. Order one today and the wait is up to four months, unless one of the handful of unsold pre-ordered cars is to your liking.

One group of customers it has eliminated for now, however, is large families. There is no seven-seat version of the Jaguar F-Pace, and no plan for one. This is strictly a five-seater.

Priced from $74,340 plus on-road costs for the 2.0-litre turbo diesel, $84,544 plus on-road costs for the twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 diesel, and stretching to $120,415 plus on-road costs for the flagship 3.0-litre supercharged V6 petrol First Edition, the Jaguar F-Face undercuts much of its competition when like for like engines are compared.

On first impressions the size feels just right. Not too big and not too small.

Standard equipment includes automatic emergency braking, front and rear sensors, rear camera, powered tailgate and premium audio.

However, part of the reason the price is so sharp is because the options list is rather lengthy.

Popular options which are standard in many rivals include a 360-degree surround view camera ($2050), radar cruise control with traffic jam assistance ($3200), a sliding panoramic sunroof ($4200), an electrically adjustable steering column ($850), and digital radio ($900). The list goes on.

But it has possibly the coolest car accessory this century: a weatherproof rubber wrist band ($640) that enables you to lock the original car key inside the vehicle.

Simply hold the wrist band near the ‘J' on the Jaguar badge on the tailgate and it locks the car. Repeat the process to unlock it after you've finished surfing/sky diving/bush walking etc. If someone breaks into the car, the original key you've left behind is useless until the wristband unlocks it.

Helpfully, a full-size spare is an affordable $1000 option (across the range of 19-inch to 22-inch wheels and tyres) and comes with a carpeted hard cover which raises the boot floor.

On the road

On first impressions the size feels just right. Not too big and not too small.

The F-Pace tips the scales just 100kg heavier than its Jaguar sedan sibling and at least 200kg lighter than its larger peers.

This goes some way to explaining the remarkably low claimed fuel consumption average for the 2.0-litre turbo diesel (5.3L/100km) and 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel (6.0L/100km).

We are yet to test the consumption claim of these models in the real world because we sampled the flagship of the fleet, the supercharged 3.0-litre V6 First Edition.

Riding on massive 22-inch wheels and tyres we were expecting a bumpy ride, but were shocked to discover Jaguar has managed to iron out the bumps even on such big rims.

It's a cliché to say an SUV drives like a car, but that really is the only way to describe it.

The eight-speed auto (standard across all engine variants) shifts smoothly and decisively.

The only clues that you're in an SUV are the tall driving position and slightly more lean in the corners as physics takes over when driving enthusiastically.

But for the most part the Jaguar F-Pace feels incredibly secure on the road and steers with the precision of a small hatchback. It's quite remarkable for such a large vehicle.

The supercharged engine is perky and makes light work of the F-Pace's sub-two-tonne body, but it sounds a little nasally.

The eight-speed auto (standard across all engine variants) shifts smoothly and decisively.

There are tap shift levers on the steering wheel if you think you can do better or want to select a gear manually, up or down.

The digital widescreen instruments in the centre of the dash and for the speed display give the car a hi-tech feel.

At the press of a button you can transform the speedo and tacho displays to a widescreen navigation map (with the speed in the corner, or in the heads-up display on applicable models). Just like the latest Audis. And there are up to 10 colour choices for ambient lighting.

Verdict

First impressions are that Jaguar has a winner on its hands. This car alone will likely double its sales in Australia. The only complaint is that it took so long to get here.

Would you prefer an F-Pace to an Audi or BMW SUV? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Click here to see more 2016 Jaguar F-Pace pricing and spec info.

Pricing Guides

$66,990
Based on 41 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$53,488
Highest Price
$84,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
20D Prestige 2.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $54,555 – 56,990 2016 Jaguar F-Pace 2016 20D Prestige Pricing and Specs
20D R-Sport 2.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $53,488 – 64,985 2016 Jaguar F-Pace 2016 20D R-Sport Pricing and Specs
30D First Edition 3.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $87,450 – 100,540 2016 Jaguar F-Pace 2016 30D First Edition Pricing and Specs
30D Portfolio 3.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $68,090 – 78,320 2016 Jaguar F-Pace 2016 30D Portfolio Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8