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Jaguar F-Pace First Edition petrol 2016 review

EXPERT RATING
8
Peter Anderson road tests and reviews the 2016 Jaguar F-Pace 35t First Edition with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

Peter Anderson road tests and reviews the 2016 Jaguar F-Pace 35t First Edition with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

Rebooting a car brand is really hard, especially if you've spent four or five decades trading on Inspector Morse's Mark II Jag and peddling Enzo Ferrari's quote about the E-Type being the most beautiful car ever made. It took the genius of Ian Callum, an exit from the clutches of Ford and an Indian mega-company to undo all of that and make Jaguar look, and feel, like it's actually from this century. 

It has been 10 years of hard graft, which included two XFs, the XE, the incredible F Type and now, to complete the set, the oddly named F-Pace SUV. It’s fair to say it’s been a  difficult and expensive  process for all concerned. The F-Pace has much to live up to, investment to recoup and a point to prove, all at the same time.

Price and features

A normal F-Pace 35t S asks $103,136 of you, whereas this First Edition jacks that up to $117,164. That gets you adaptive dynamics, 22-inch alloys, huge panoramic sliding roof, adaptive LED headlights, auto headlights and wipers, colour-changing LED interior lighting, houndstooth-embossed leather trim, fake suede headlining, electric front seats, dual zone climate control, five 12V power points, power everything, electric reclining rear seats (yes, rear ones!), some advanced safety gear and a choice of two First Edition-exclusive colours

You absolutely can't move without someone asking you if a) that's really a Jag and b) would you like to swap with whatever they're driving.

There's also an 11-speaker Meridian sound system with 10-inch display, which has sat nav, a 60Gb hard drive and connects to your phone via USB or Bluetooth. 

Our car also had the $3660 Practicality Pack, which includes gesture tailgate, loadspace netting, air-quality sensor and keyless entry (!), a $2510 heads up display, $1120 for blind-spot monitoring (!!), $900 privacy glass, $800 heated front seats and the $640 Leisure Activity Key.

This little lot brought the total to a hefty $127,794. Keyless entry and blind-spot monitoring seem like they should be standard on a car like this, surely? You're also going to have to want that Practicality Pack for that price.

Design

When you've got an F-Pace, you absolutely can't move without someone asking you if a) that's really a Jag and b) would you like to swap with whatever they're driving? Even when it's painted lurid gold like the one we had, people just love it.

The fact that strangers didn't screw up their noses and shout obscenities at such a blingy colour means Jaguar is definitely onto something - I'd expected a lot of uncomplimentary attention, so Australia is either more tolerant of this sort of thing than I thought or the F-Pace is so pretty you're all willing to look past bad ideas like an automotive tribute to C-3PO or Goldfinger. 

Plenty of carmakers ditch practicality for style but somehow the F-Pace looks like a lifestyle SUV and yet still delivers a good sized interior and better-than-reasonable boot space.

This First Edition is also helped by the gigantic gunmetal grey matte 22-inch alloys, while possibly the only mis-steps are the "oyster" (silver) highlights on the front and rear bumpers. Looks a bit odd next to the gold, like a pocketful of change.

Inside would feel very familiar to XE and XF drivers, the First Edition benefiting from the houndstooth/Space Invaders pattern on the white leather, the bigger 10-inch InControl touch screen and the fully digital 12.3-inch instrument panel.

While that panel is very good - and the left third is configurable - it doesn't do anything particularly interesting, so I don't think anyone will be clamouring for it the way people do for Audi's cool-tech Virtual Cockpit. You can show the map but the layout isn't as good as the Audi effort and the big InControl screen, coupled with the heads-up display, is plenty. To be absolutely fair, the Virtual Cockpit is also a gimmick, it's just a better one.

Practicality

Passengers front and rear are treated to cupholders for a total of four and each door will hold a bottle of between 500ml and 1.25 litres, depending on the door.

Rear-seat passengers sit high so what looks like not very much legroom is actually more than ample for a six footer. Number one son, who is taller than that, lounged happily in the back on a long day trip. The seatbacks also recline electrically, which is classy and comfortable.

The boot on this one has a flat floor, owing to the space-saver spare (if you go for the full size replacement, you pay more and the boot floor looks like it has hit the all-you-can-eat buffet a bit hard) and will contain between 650 litres and 1740. Which is quite a lot.

Engine and transmission

The 35t S is powered by Jaguar's Ford-based 3.0-litre supercharged V6, developing 280kW and 460Nm. The eight-speed ZF transmission drives all four wheels and will sling the almost two-tonne F Pace to 100km/h in an impressive 5.5 seconds.

Fuel consumption

Jaguar claims 8.9L/100km on the combined cycle, which is closer than usual to the 11.5L/100km average we achieved. The gap between manufacturer and actual figures tends to be wider than that. We spent most of our time in the city, with a weekend Blue Mountains blast down the M4. The slightly lean 63-litre fuel tank could do with being a bit bigger, though, in  a car you’d think is designed for long journeys. 

Fuel economy is helped along by a responsive stop-start system.

Driving

There's no getting away from a gold Jaguar - you can see it three postcodes away - and there's no getting away from it being a very big car. You sit quite high - something Audi has moved away from in the similarly sized Q7 - so it does feel old-school chunky. 

Once you start chucking it around, however, it starts to shrink around you a bit. It's not exactly shrink-wrap tight, more one of those silly suitcase-wrappers at the airport, but given the weight, wheel size and general heft of the car, it's quite easy to drive and fun to corner quickly. 

The forced-induction V6 is responsive and smooth and refreshingly different in this segment. The supercharger means there's less lag than a comparable turbo six and the power delivery is very linear. Although it is a bit boring to listen to. Jaguar can make this same engine sound spectacular in the F-Type so you have to wonder why, even in Dynamic mode, its fun quotient is restricted to a bit of Germanic popping. It’s also a pity you can't hear the supercharger whine. Okay, I'll stop complaining now. 

Most F-Pace owners probably won't care, and you can bet one of their big houses on an F-Pace R being a proper earth-shaker.

The only real problem with the First Edition is the ride is a tad rugged on the big rims. Staying away from  Dynamic mode keeps things under control - and if anything, the suspension is biased towards control rather than comfort - but the mild push towards firmer damping in the sportier setting means some of the poorer road surfaces will be keenly felt in the cabin. The good news is, that mode doesn't really do much, so you won't have to touch the button unless you want to step down to Eco (yeah, right) or what should probably be called Snow mode. We couldn't test that one, sadly, as we were fresh out of snow in sub-tropical Sydney.

Safety

Six airbags, ABS, stability and traction controls, autonomous emergency braking, lane-departure warning, trailer-stability assist, tyre-pressure monitoring.

The lack of blind-spot monitoring is curious given the standard AEB and lane-departure warning. Given the car's size, knowing what's lurking beside you would be a more useful day-to-day inclusion.

There is no EuroNCAP or ANCAP rating as of October 2016.

Ownership

Jaguar offers a three-year/unlimited kilometre warranty and all Jags (apart from the XF) also get three years free scheduled servicing, which doesn't include wear and tear items. There's also free roadside assist for the first 12 months. 

You can buy a service plan for the F-Pace, which covers a further two years of servicing, for $1500. Servicing is yearly or every 26,000km, whichever comes first. 

Verdict

The F-Pace isn't the super-smooth Q7 or sporty-but-nice X5, but it's cheaper than both in this sort of specification and isn't really about the same things. Jaguar is chasing buyers who up until now probably looked wistfully at a Range Rover's price tag, or the Cayenne's looks, and pouted and/or wanted something genuinely pretty. In a way, it doesn't really matter which F-Pace you choose, the job is done once you set eyes on the exterior. The Germans should be worried, given the style-conscious buyer profile of these sorts of cars.

The big question I get is, "Is it really a Jaguar?" What people mean is, "Does it match up to what I now expect from Coventry?" Given what's happened to the brand in the last decade, that answer is a resounding yes. There's still some work to do to match the Germans on dynamics, but the F-Pace is an excellent all-rounder with style, substance and sophistication.

Does the F-Pace have your kind of style? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Click here to see more 2016 Jaguar F-Pace 35t First Edition pricing and spec info.

Pricing Guides

$65,900
Based on 45 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$45,990
Highest Price
$84,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
20D Prestige 2.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $45,990 – 56,990 2016 Jaguar F-Pace 2016 20D Prestige Pricing and Specs
20D R-Sport 2.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $53,990 – 58,990 2016 Jaguar F-Pace 2016 20D R-Sport Pricing and Specs
30D First Edition 3.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $85,140 – 97,900 2016 Jaguar F-Pace 2016 30D First Edition Pricing and Specs
30D Portfolio 3.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $66,440 – 76,340 2016 Jaguar F-Pace 2016 30D Portfolio Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8
Peter Anderson
Contributing journalist

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