What Car? says...
Jaguar once ridiculed the idea of making an SUV, but all that changed with the Jaguar F-Pace – the brand's first entry into the world of higher-riding cars, and still the biggest model in its range.
The F-Pace is a large SUV and now sits above the E-Pace family SUV and the I-Pace electric SUV in the car maker's line-up. Since its launch in 2016, it's been Jaguar's best-seller, and a mid-life refresh to keep it competitive added super-slim front and rear LED lights, reprofiled bodywork, a larger grille and, best of all, a heavily revised interior.
The engine line-up includes a range of mild-hybrid petrols and diesels, along with a full plug-in hybrid (PHEV) that could save you a small fortune in company car tax. If you want the quickest version available, there's a V8-powered SVR performance variant.
The F-Pace might not win over die-hard fans of traditional Jaguar saloons, but branching out into SUVs made a lot of sense for the brand. After all, it's part of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), giving it access to tried-and-tested Land Rover know-how and components, including engines, four-wheel-drive systems and infotainment systems.
So, is all that enough to make the Jaguar F-Pace competitive among the many premium large SUVs it's in competition with? After all, there are plenty of rivals, with the Audi Q5, the Mercedes GLC and the Volvo XC60 at the luxurious end of the market, plus, at the sportier end, the BMW X3 and the Porsche Macan.
Well, we've driven them all, and over the next few pages of this comprehensive review we'll compare and contrast the Jaguar F-Pace with its rivals, and run you through which engine and trim are the best.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
All Jaguar F-Paces come with four-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The P400 Sport is a 395bhp 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol that’s impressively quick, with a 0-62mph time of just 5.4 seconds. It’s a worthy Porsche Macan S rival, but the Macan has a more linear accelerator response and a more responsive auto gearbox than the P400. If the 400 Sport is still not quick enough for you, there's a P550 543bhp 5.0 V8 SVR version – see our Jaguar F-Pace SVR review for more on that.
For company car drivers looking for a low tax rate, the 247bhp 2.0-litre P250 is somewhat overshadowed by the P400e plug-in hybrid (PHEV). With a 2.0-litre petrol engine and an electric motor, it has a combined 399bhp, with plenty of instant muscle thanks to the motor. It's officially capable of up to 40 miles of electric-only driving.
We suspect, though, that for most buyers the sweet spot in the range will be the D200. This 201bhp 2.0-litre diesel is impressively punchy from low revs and plenty quick enough (0-62mph in 8.2sec) to whisk you up to motorway speeds without any fuss. Then there’s the six-cylinder, 3.0-litre, 296bhp D300. It’s quite pricey, but if you fancy a quick turn of speed (0-62mph takes 6.4sec) and something truly gutsy to tow with, it’s cracking.
Suspension and ride comfort
If you're buying the F-Pace because it's a sportier SUV like the Macan, rather than for outright comfort, we reckon you'll find the ride quite appropriate.
The standard suspension set-up is firm around town and the larger alloy wheel options tend to exacerbate that, but it's not harsh. Things settle down and improve with speed, although the ride is still busier on motorways than a well-specified Audi Q5, BMW X3 or Volvo XC60. On the plus side, it's well controlled, so there's very little bounce or fidget along undulating country lanes.
There's also a more sophisticated adaptive set-up, called Adaptive Dynamics. It's available as an option with the D200 and P250 engines, and is standard if you go for the D300, the P400e or the 400 Sport. It's more supple than the passive suspension but has a firmer edge than the most comfortable rivals.
If you want your large SUV to scythe through bends more like a hot hatch on stilts than an old school 4x4, you’ll love the F-Pace. The way it flows through fast bends, feeling genuinely agile, is impressive for a 1.8-tonne SUV. The only other SUV that handles as well is the Macan.
It’s only through really tight corners and sudden direction changes that you remember you’re driving something a bit taller that has a tendency to lean more than lower-riding cars. Even then the steering is quick and precise, building weight at just the right level to feel consistent and predictable. It's certainly more wieldy than the XC60.
Versions with adaptive suspension have a stiffer Dynamic mode that tightens up the body so you get less lean in bends.
Noise and vibration
The F-Pace's six-cylinder 400 Sport petrol engine is smooth and subdued when you’re just pootling around, but when you put your foot down you’re treated to an intoxicating six-cylinder howl. It’s a more characterful soundtrack than the Macan S's six-cylinder engine.
The P250 and P400e use four-cylinder petrols that are a bit buzzier under load but, on the plus side, the P400e is able to run silently for prolonged periods in electric mode. The P400e also stops and starts up slickly, as do all the mild-hybrid engines (that's all of them except the P250). The diesels are relatively smooth-sounding, particularly the six-cylinder D300, but they’re not quite as silky as the Q5's diesels.
Whichever engine you choose, the standard eight-speed automatic gearbox shifts smoothly. Road noise is pretty good when judged against all but the whisper-quiet Q5. There's quite a bit of wind noise in the F-Pace at 70mph, but it’s the suspension thumping away over poorly surfaced roads that is the most intrusive aspect at lower speeds.
The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
Getting comfortable behind the wheel of the Jaguar F-Pace is a breeze. Even the entry-level R-Dynamic S trim gets you 12-way electric adjustment and driver memory, while R-Dynamic HSE Black comes with 16-way adjustment, passenger memory seats and an electrically adjustable steering column (it's manually adjustable on lesser trims but still has a great range of movement).
The 12.3in digital instrument panel offers a range of layouts for the speedometer, including one that shows a full-screen sat-nav map, and comes as standard on all trim levels bar entry-level R-Dynamic S. A head-up display is available as an option, but it's a worthwhile extra rather than an absolute must because the digital screen is easy to read anyway.
The rest of the controls are well laid out and easy to use, with more physical buttons (as opposed to fiddlier digital controls) than in the Volvo XC60.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
You might imagine that its swooping styling would make seeing out of the F-Pace quite tricky. Thankfully, the view forwards is pretty good and you sit relatively high up – just not as high as you do in the tallest large SUVs such as the Land Rover Defender.
Over-the-shoulder visibility is hampered by the small rear screen, but it's not as difficult to see out of the rear of as you might imagine. Besides, all trims come with front and rear sensors, and a rear-view camera to help you out when you're parking. A 360-degree camera system is available as an option, as is a self-park system.
LED headlights with high-beam assist are standard on all versions. Matrix LED headlights, which allow you to stay on main beam and automatically adjust the light output to avoid dazzling other road users, are not available at the time of writing due to semiconductor issues (they're standard on the S-Line trim Audi Q5).
Sat nav and infotainment
The F-Pace features the Jaguar Pivi Pro infotainment system. It responds swiftly and the large 11.4in touchscreen's graphics and resolution are impressive. You also get lots of functionality, including built-in sat-nav, wireless phone-charging and wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay phone integration.
As touchscreen systems go, it's one of the better ones in the class. It has intuitive menus that are relatively easy to operate on the move, with a line of conveniently placed shortcut buttons for switching between the main functions. Even the home screen is configurable, so you can stick the tabs you use the most where you want them. The reason we say "as touchscreen systems go", though, is that we prefer the option of using a physical rotary controller. You get one of those in the BMW X3 and it's less distracting to use while driving.
The standard sound system is perfectly acceptable, but music lovers can pick from two optional upgrades: a 400W Meridian sound system with 12 speakers (standard on R-Dynamic SE Black models) or a more powerful surround-sound version with a 600W amplifier and 16 speakers is available as an option. So far we’ve only sampled the 400W set-up and it's utterly fantastic, with weighty bass notes balanced by a crisp, precisely drawn treble.
The F-Pace’s interior was overhauled as part of its mid-life update – and what a transformation it is over the original models. The interior looks and feels genuinely upmarket with next to no scratchy plastics anywhere.
You get a mix of plush, softly finished surfaces, punctuated with classy wood veneers (depending on the trim) and nicely damped switches. Only some slightly flimsy electric seat controls let the side down.
It's solidly screwed together and feels closer to the sharp end of this class, making it a worthy alternative to a Q5 or an X3. It's also miles better than the Alfa Romeo Stelvio interior.
Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
You’re unlikely to have any problems with the amount of space in the front of the Jaguar F-Pace. There’s enough head room, even if you’re well over six feet tall and there's a panoramic glass roof fitted. The seats slide back far enough to accommodate long legs.
There's also lots of storage space, including large front door pockets, a decent glovebox and further cubbies in the centre console and under the front armrest.
The F-Pace isn't the biggest large SUV you can buy but it's a lot bigger in the back than the Porsche Macan. It's spacious enough for a family of four even if the kids have passed the six-foot mark, although they won't have oodles of room to spare. If you need more space, the Hyundai Santa Fe, the Kia Sorento and the Land Rover Discovery Sport have roomier back seats.
There are a couple of points worth noting. The optional panoramic glass roof reduces head room in the back to the extent that tall passengers might feel their hair brushing the roof, and sports front seats have hard plastic rear shells, which are uncomfortable against rear passengers' shins.
A third rear-seat passenger will find it a bit of squeeze compared with the Discovery Sport.
Seat folding and flexibility
Conveniently positioned handles on the inside of the boot are a reasonably priced option. They allow you to drop the 40/20/40 split rear seats from the boot, rather than using the buttons on the rear seats.
Another reasonably priced option is electrically reclining rear seats, which are great when your rear passengers fancy an impromptu snooze. There's no option for sliding rear seats, though, which come as standard with a number of rivals, including the Discovery Sport.
Like the driver’s seat, the front passenger has electrically operated lumbar, height and backrest angle adjustment as standard. Higher trims add full passenger-seat electric adjustment for easier fine-tuning.
Jaguar says the F-Pace's boot is bigger than any of its key rivals – 650 litres with the rear seats in place. In terms of usable space, though, it is actually comparable with the BMW X3 and the Discovery Sport, fitting up to eight carry-on suitcases below the tonneau cover. The Audi Q5 boot fits nine cases and the Sorento and the Peugeot 5008 fit up to 10.
The P400e loses a couple of carry-on suitcases of overall capacity due to the bulky hybrid battery pack that lives under the floor. This reduces the overall height, but a set of golf clubs or a buggy will still fit easily, as will a couple of larger suitcases. Under the floor there's a bit of additional storage for the charging cable.
If you fold down the rear seats, you’re left with a virtually flat extended load bay that makes it easier to slide longer items on board. A powered tailgate is standard, while a gesture tailgate (the boot opens automatically when you wave your foot under the rear bumper) is on the options list. A load space partition net is available as an option, as are luggage rails for the floor.
Buying & owning
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
The Jaguar F-Pace undercuts most of its premium large SUV rivals if you opt for the cheapest version. Our favourite engine, the D200, in popular R-Dynamic S trim, is slightly more than the equivalent Audi Q5 40 TDI S line, but costs less than a BMW X3 xDive20d M Sport and Mercedes GLC 220d AMG Line. If you want the 400 Sport, that's more expensive than the X3 M40i and the Porsche Macan S but it is better equipped.
Few cars in the class hold on to their value as well as the Macan, but the F-Pace is the next best thing, with slower predicted depreciation than the Q5 and X3. Those strong resale values help to keep the F-Pace’s PCP finance payments low. For the latest prices, see our New Car Deals pages.
If you're a company car driver, every model in the range is in the highest benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax bracket apart from the P400e plug-in hybrid (PHEV). That makes it the obvious choice for tax savings, but keep in mind that you'll need to charge its battery regularly to avoid expensive petrol bills. At least a fast-charging 50kW socket is standard to minimise those charging times at a suitably quick public charger, with a 0-80% charge taking around 30 mins. The D200 diesel, which officially averages around 45mpg, could be cheaper to run if you have nowhere to charge up.
Equipment, options and extras
The entry-level R-Dynamic S F-Pace is not stingy on standard kit. It comes with the items we've discussed already, such as LED headlights, 12-way electrically adjustable front seats, front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera, but you also get adaptive cruise control, heated front seats, a heated front windscreen, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, two-zone climate control, power-folding door mirrors and 19in alloy wheels. That's way more than the entry-level Macan.
Higher trims, such as R-Dynamic SE Black, add luxuries such as a fixed panoramic roof, privacy glass, keyless entry, 20in alloy wheels, and more safety tech. Meanwhile, R-Dynamic HSE Black adds 21in alloy wheels, ventilated and massaging front seats and fancier Windsor leather.
Jaguar as a brand finished a disappointing 26th out of the 32 manufacturers surveyed in the 2022 What Car? Reliability Survey – below key rivals including Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Porsche. The F-Pace came a middling 15th out of 32 large SUVs, behind the X3 and the Lexus NX. It beat diesel versions of the Q5 as well as all models of the Land Rover Discovery Sport and the Volvo XC60 though.
Every new Jaguar comes with a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty as standard. That can be extended if you’re prepared to pay extra, and you can add MOT cover for a small fee. The battery in the P400e PHEV is covered for eight years and is valid for up to 100,000 miles.
Safety and security
The F-Pace scored a maximum five stars in Euro NCAP safety tests. Looking more closely at its adult, child and pedestrian safety scores shows that the XC60 did better for adult and child crash protection.
To stop you having a crash in the first place, there's automatic emergency braking (AEB), a driver attention monitoring system and a lane-departure warning system. Stepping up to R-Dynamic SE Black trim brings blind-spot monitoring, a clear exit monitor and reverse traffic detection, while range-topping R-Dynamic HSE Black features a rear collision monitor. Those safety systems are also available on lesser trims as part of a Driver Assist Pack.
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The F-Pace is 1664mm in height, 4747mm in length, and 2071mm (2175mm including door mirrors) in width.
Well, it has its strengths, but we have given it three stars out of five because there are better large SUVs out there.
|RRP price range||£48,770 - £87,090|
|Number of trims (see all)||5|
|Number of engines (see all)||6|
|Available fuel types (which is best for you?)||petrol, diesel, hybrid|
|MPG range across all versions||172 - 44.6|
|Available doors options||5|
|Warranty||3 years / No mileage cap|
|Company car tax at 20% (min/max)||£854 / £6,248|
|Company car tax at 40% (min/max)||£1,707 / £12,496|