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Jaguar has announced that by 2025 it will only make and sell electric vehicles. That’s less than four years away and means the F-Pace you’re thinking about buying could be the last Jaguar with an actual engine that you ever own. Heck, it could be the last car with an engine you ever own.
Let’s help you pick the right one then, because Jaguar’s just called last drinks.
The latest-generation Land Rover Defender has won ample praise (even from die-hard fans of the old Defender), it’s garnered a stack of awards around the world, and it’s also managed to sell pretty bloody well, don’t worry about that.
To commemorate a huge Land Rover milestone – 75 years since the original Landie, the Series I, was released – JLR has made available 75 of its 75th anniversary Defenders in Australia – 25 Defender 90s and 50 Defender 110s.
Our test vehicle is a 110, but is this limited-edition Landie actually worth it’s more than $150 grand price-tag?
The F-Pace has been gifted new styling, new engines and more practicality making it an even better SUV than it already was. You could seriously pick any of the grades and be happy with your purchase. Then there’s the question of the engine…
Jaguar says there’s a few more years left in the combustion engine yet, but we know exactly how many years – four, because the company has gone on the record announcing it will go fully electric by 2025. The question for you is – how will you ring out the end of an era – with a four-cylinder petrol, a six-cylinder turbo diesel, an inline turbo six petrol or a cracking V8?
The sweetspot in the range is the R-Dynamic SE 400, with just enough luxury and more than enough grunt.
The Land Rover Defender in its current form is a revelation in terms of, well, everything. The 110 is refined, sure-footed and comfortable on-road and it’s more capable off-road than ever before – and assuredly so.
It’s wholeheartedly embraced positive change – in terms of creature comforts, driveability and safety – and has lost none of the traditional Defender spirit.
The new Defender has managed to satisfy (placate?) die-hard fans and it’s attracted a whole bunch of new ones at the same time.
The 75th anniversary treatment doesn’t add anything of substance to the Defender package, but it doesn’t need to – that’s not the point – and to Landie lovers it’s all cream on top.
The very first F-Pace arrived in Australia in 2016 and even after all these years and the arrival of more rivals I still think it’s the most beautiful SUV in its class. The new one seems to look a lot like the old one, but the styling updates have kept it cool.
If you want to see instantly how the design of the F-Pace has evolved from the original to the new one, be sure to watch my video above.
Short story is, this new F-Pace has been given a pretty major styling overhaul inside and out.
Gone is the old F-Pace’s plastic beak. That sounds weird but the previous F-Pace’s bonnet stopped short of the grille and a nose cone had been fitted to cover the rest of the distance. Now the new bonnet meets a larger, wider grille and its flow from the windscreen down isn’t disturbed by a large join line.
Also more pleasing to the eyes is the badge on the grille. The snarling jaguar head is now larger and no longer mounted on a terrible looking large plastic plate. The plate was for the adaptive cruise control radar sensor, but by making the Jaguar badge bigger, the plate was able to be house in the badge itself.
What hasn’t changed are the dimensions. The F-Pace is a mid-sized SUV measuring 4747mm end to end, standing 1664mm tall and with the mirrors out is 2175mm wide. That’s not huge, but make sure it’ll fit in your garage.
The new Defender manages to balance the distinctive shape and spirit of the old-school Defender with the new-generation’s style and presence – and the striking Grasmere Green exterior of this 75th anniversary variant and its interior touches all complement that blend.
This is unmistakably a Defender but one that’s been dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century, whacked in the face and torso by modern styling cues, while still retaining the heart of adventure these Landies have always been renowned for.
The F-Pace was always practical with a big 509-litre boot and great rear leg and head room for even me at 191cm tall, but the cabin re-design has added better storage and usability.
Parents will be happy to know that all F-Paces come with directional air vents in the second row as well. And there are ISOFIX outboard child-seat anchors and three top-tether restraints, too.
Beyond the subtle colour treatment, the interior remains as it is in the HSE variant on which this special edition is based.
In other words, the cabin has a premium look and feel about it, without sacrificing anything in terms of how practical everything is.
It’s a pleasant mix of durable life-friendly materials – carpet mats and soft-touch surfaces – and stylish touches, such as a metal Defender-stamped section in front of the front passenger.
The leather steering wheel and shifter are standard, but a premium non-leather wheel is a no-cost option.
There’s a Jaguar F-Pace for every budget as long as your budget is somewhere in between $80K and $150K. That’s quite a large range in price.
Now, I’m about to take you through the grade names and I need to warn you that it’s going to be messy and confusing a little bit like white water rafting, but not as wet. Life jacket on?
There are four grades: the S, SE, HSE and top-of-the-range SVR.
They all come standard with the R-Dynamic pack.
There are four engines: the P250, D300, P400 and P550. I’ll explain what this means in the engine section down below, but all you need to know is 'D' stands for diesel and 'P' for petrol and the higher the number the more grunt it has.
Paint prices? Narvik Black and Fuji White are standard at no extra cost for the S, SE and HSE. The SVR has its own standard palette and includes Santorini Black, Yulonhg White, Firenze Red, Bluefire Blue and Hakuba Silver. If you don’t have the SVR but want these colours it’ll be $1890, thank you.
The limited-edition Defenders are based on the high-spec HSE variant and are available in the three-door 90 body style, or the five-door 110 body style.
Our test vehicle is the 110 and has a recommended retail price of $156,157, excluding on-road costs.
Jaguar’s engine names sound like forms you have to fill in when you apply for a home loan.
The P250 is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine making 184kW and 365Nm; the D300 is a 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo diesel producing 221kW and 650Nm; while the P400 is a 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo petrol with outputs of 294kW and 550Nm.
The P550 is a supercharged 5.0-litre V8 producing a colossal 405kW and 700Nm.
The SE grade gives you the choice of the P250, D300 and P400, while the S only comes with the P250 and the SVR of course is powered only by the P550.
The D300 and D400 are new engines, both are straight sixes and replace the V6 engines in the old F-Pace. Superb engines, they are also found in the Defender and Range Rover.
Jaguar calls the D300 and P400 mild hybrids, but don’t be misled by the terminology. These engines are not hybrids in the sense that an electric motor is working to drive the wheels along with a combustion engine. Instead, a mild hybrid uses a 48-volt electrical system to help take the load off the engine by helping it start and running the electronics such as climate control. And yes, it does help save fuel, but not stacks.
There’s plenty of grunt from all these engines no matter which you choose, they all have eight-speed automatics and all-wheel drive.
You are also very likely looking at the last combustion engines to go into an F-Pace. See Jaguar has announced that it will only sell electric vehicles beyond 2025.
Four years and that’s it. Choose wisely.
As mentioned earlier, this Defender is a P400 MHEV (mild hybrid electric vehicle), so it has a 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder turbo-petrol engine, supported by a small electric motor.
The P400 MHEV has a 48-volt lithium-ion battery, aimed at reducing engine load and fuel consumption, and it has a 7.0kW electric supercharger aimed at minimising turbo lag.
The Defender has permanent all-wheel drive and a dual-range transfer case with high- and low-range 4WD.
It doesn’t make sense that Jaguar has announced that it will be going all electric by 2025 yet doesn’t offer a plug-in hybrid in its Australian line-up, especially when there is one available overseas.
Jaguar says it doesn’t make sense either, but by that they mean business sense, in bringing one to Australia.
So, for fuel economy I’m marking the F-Pace down. Yes, the D300 and P400 use clever mild-hybrid tech, but it doesn’t go far enough to reducing fuel use.
So the fuel consumptions, then. The official fuel consumption for the petrol P250 is 7.8L/100km, the diesel D300 will use 7.0L/100km, the P400 is stated to sip 8.7L/100km and the P550 V8 petrol will drink 11.7L/100km. Those figures are "combined cycle" numbers, after a combination of open and urban driving.
Fuel consumption is a claimed 9.9L/100km (on the combined cycle), and we recorded actual fuel consumption on test of 11L/100km.
The Defender has a 90-litre tank so, going by that fuel-consumption figure, you could reasonably expect a driving range of just under 800km on a full tank, factoring in a safe-distance buffer of 20km; 818km without the buffer.
My two test cars at the Australian launch of the new F-Pace were the R-Dynamic SE P400 and the R-Dynamic S P250. Both were fitted with the road noise cancellation system which comes with the optional $1560 Meridian stereo and reduces the level of road noise coming into the cabin.
Which would I rather? Look, I’d be fibbing if I didn’t say the SE P400 with its smooth inline six that has seemingly endless shove, but it’s $20K more than the S P250 and neither engine is low on grunt and both handle and ride almost identically.
That ride has been improved in this new F-Pace with the rear suspension being retuned so that it’s not so firm.
Steering is still on the sharp side, but body control feels better and more composed in this updated F-Pace.
On the twisty and quick country roads I tested the S P250 and SE 400, both performed superbly, with responsive engines, great handling, and serene cabins (thanks to the help of the noise cancelling tech).
The second part of the test was driving both in city traffic for the best part of an hour each which isn’t pleasant in any car. The now wider F-Pace seats were comfortable and supportive, however, the transmission seamlessly swapped gears and even rolling on 22-inch wheels in the SE and 20-inch alloys in the S the ride was excellent.
The Defender’s 75th anniversary touches are all cosmetic which is fine because, as is, this Landie is surprisingly impressive on-road, and supremely effective off-road.
This 110 variant is 5018mm long (including the rear-mounted spare tyre), 2008mm wide and 1972mm high with a 3022mm-long wheelbase.
It has a turning circle of 12.8m and a kerb weight is 2297kg.
So, it’s not a small vehicle, but it never feels unwieldy to drive and it even manages to consistently feel lively and dynamic.
The Defender has a real planted feel on the road; it’s composed and very comfortable, no matter how hard you drive it.
It’s also quiet. Very quiet, and oh-so-refined, with noise, vibration and harshness levels having been subdued to almost nothing.
The new Defender’s cabin is a pleasantly cocooned space, in which you feel insulated from the world around you. There is a bit of wind rush around the Defender’s wing mirrors, but nothing atrocious.
Throttle response is crisp, and the 3.0-litre petrol’s 294kW and 550Nm are readily available for a punchy standing-start, or to safely and smoothly overtake another vehicle on the highway – or during low-range 4WDing, but more about that later*.
Wheel travel is decent with the Defender able to get useable flex out of that multi-link set-up and air suspension combo.
Another of my very few gripes about the Defender is the fact that while all of the off-road-focussed driver-assist tech, especially terrain response, is so seamlessly effective – it’s almost too good for its own good.
As the driver I almost feel removed from the experience of tackling the terrain I’m on.
Driving this doesn't feel like such a visceral experience as it does in the Defenders of old, or even as hands-on as it does when driving off-road in rebooted old-school 4WDs, such as the Suzuki Jimny, or the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon.
The new Defender is very capable, and comfortably so, but it feels a little bit too clinical and calculated in its execution.
It has a maximum roof load of 300kg. GVM (gross vehicle mass) is 3165kg and GCM (gross combined mass) is 6665kg.
The F-Pace scored the maximum five-star ANCAP rating when it was tested in 2017. Coming standard is advanced safety tech such as forward auto emergency braking (AEB), blind-spot assist, lane keeping assistance and rear cross-traffic alert.
This tech is great, but in the five years since the F-Pace first arrived safety equipment has moved on even further. So, while the AEB can detect pedestrians, it’s not designed to work for cyclists, there’s no reverse AEB, nor evasive manoeuvre systems, nor a centre airbag. All are items which weren’t common in 2017 but are now on most 2021 five-star rated cars.
The Defender range has the maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating from testing conducted in 2020.
It has a stack of safety gear as standard and driver-assist tech includes AEB, adaptive cruise control, driver condition monitor, blind spot assist, lane keep assist, forward traffic detection, a 3D surround camera, 360-degree parking aid, traffic sign recognition and adaptive speed limiter, and more.
It also has tech that comes in useful for on- and off-road tourers including its ‘transparent’ bonnet view, wade sensing, tyre pressure monitoring system, and tow hitch assist.
At the launch of the new F-Pace Jaguar announced that all of its vehicles would be covered by a five-year unlimited/kilometre warranty, a step up from the three-year coverage it used to offer.
Service intervals? What are they? The F-Pace will tell you when it needs maintenance. But you should sign up for a five-year service plan which costs $1950 for the P250 engine, $2650 for the D300, $2250 for the P400 and $3750 for the P550.
Service intervals are set for every five years or 102,000km (maximum), whichever occurs first – and that’s for a total cost of $2250, or an annual average of $450, which is pretty handy.