Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
The 2.0-litre diesel is no firebrand. But for most people, most of the time, it’s gutsy enough, whether you stick with rear-wheel drive or pay a bit extra for four-wheel drive. The optional eight-speed automatic is worth the premium over the standard six-speed manual.
The pick of the engine range, however, is the V6 diesel. It allows for a more relaxing driving experience because it has much more low-down pulling power. And it also better complements the F-Pace’s sporting credentials because it’s ultimately much faster than the 2.0-litre when you put your foot down.
A less powerful 247bhp four-cylinder petrol is also available. It’s a punchy performer and remains smooth at high revs, but the eight-speed automatic gearbox can be a little hesitant. However, with less low down grunt than the diesels, quick progress demands plenty of revs. We have yet to try the twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol, but it should have enough power to make a worthy understudy for the V8 SVR.
Suspension and ride comfort
We've tried both the standard 'passive' suspension and the more sophisticated adaptive set-up. The latter comes as standard on the V6 engines, but costs extra on the entry-level 2.0-litre diesel.
The passive set-up is firm around town – with larger-than-standard alloy wheels exacerbating the problem – and while things improve with speed, the ride is still a bit busy on the motorway. On the plus side, there's very little of the wallowy body bounce you might associate with old-school 4x4s along undulating country lanes.
The adaptive set-up is still better, though. Switch it to its most comfortable setting and it's noticeably more supple than the passive suspension, although there’s still a firm edge over battered city streets.
If you want your SUV to scythe through bends more like a hot hatch on stilts than an old school 4x4 you’ll love the Jaguar F-Pace. It’s the way it flows through fast bends that impresses most; it may be lighter than most of its rivals, but this is still a 1.8-tonne SUV, and yet it genuinely feels as agile as many hatchbacks.
It’s only through really tight corners and sudden direction changes that you remember you’re driving something a bit taller. Even then the steering is always precise, building weight at just the right time and with the right consistency to reward you for your efforts. The only other SUV that handles this well is the pricier Porsche Macan.
Noise and vibration
The 2.0-litre diesel is the noisiest of the engines, but it’s never overly intrusive. There’s a gentle chug at tickover and an obvious clatter as the revs rise, although you could level the same criticisms at the equivalent engines in the BMW X3 and Mercedes GLC.
The V6 diesel is smoother and quieter when you’re accelerating, partly because it doesn’t need to work as hard to deliver the same burst of pace, but also because it’s an altogether more refined engine. Meanwhile, the supercharged V6 petrol howls away like a slightly less rebellious F-Type, which is great when you’re in the mood but can be annoying at other times.
There’s quite a bit of road noise and the odd clonk from the suspension along poorly surfaced roads, but wind noise isn’t a problem at 70mph. The eight-speed automatic shifts smoothly in most situations.