2015 Jaguar F-Pace revealed at Frankfurt motor show

Jaguar's first ever SUV model will go on sale early next year, priced from £34,000...

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Mark Tisshaw
14 Sep 2015 17:57 | Last updated: 14 Jun 2018 00:03

This is the Jaguar F-Pace, the long-awaited first SUV to come from the famous British marque after 60 years of building saloons and sports cars.

What is it?

The F-Pace SUV continues a busy year of launches for Jaguar, following the well-received XE and XF saloons (both four-star-rated cars) into showrooms.

The F-Pace is sized between this pair in length and shares similar technology and engines, as well as the acclaimed driving dynamics, according to Jaguar.

On sale now priced from £34,170, the F-Pace will reach UK dealers in spring 2016 with a choice of one petrol and two diesel engines, rear- or all-wheel drive, and five trim levels.

The large range of models offered in the F-Pace line-up from launch and abilities of the car makes it an alternative to a whole host of rival products and will appeal to a broad range of customers.

In its most frugal 57.7mpg/129g/km form, it is more efficient than the cleanest BMW X3, and at its most potent 375bhp flavour it is almost a match for the Porsche Macan Turbo. Its claimed cabin space and 650-litre boot capacity also eclipses key rivals'.

At the heart of the Jaguar F-Pace is ostensibly the same light, stiff aluminum chassis as underpins the XE and XF, albeit adapted to fit an SUV body. The F-Pace is 4731mm long with a 2874mm wheelbase, which places it between the XE (4672mm long, 2835mm wheelbase) and the XF (4954mm long, 2960mm wheelbase). It is of course taller than both those cars, and sits between them both of width.

The F-Pace is also a touch longer and wider than the BMW X3 with a longer wheelbase, although the two are practically the same height.

The exterior design of the F-Pace is instantly recognisable as a Jaguar despite being a bodystyle the company has never produced before, save for the C-X17 concept car of 2013 that closely previewed the F-Pace.

The body is one of the most aerodynamic in its class, in theory aiding fuel economy.

What engines can I choose from?

The engine range is borrowed from the XE and XF. This means the base diesel unit is the 2.0-litre from Jaguar’s ‘Ingenium’ family. It has 178bhp and 318lb ft, comes with a six-speed manual gearbox and rear-wheel drive as standard.

All-wheel drive can be fitted to this engine, at which point an eight-speed automatic gearbox also becomes optional.

The F-Pace therefore has the lowest CO2 emissions in its class, matching the Discovery Sport; the lowest CO2 emissions the Audi Q5 can manage is 147g/km, the X3 and X4 twins 142g/km, and the Porsche Macan 161g/km.

The F-Pace’s 129g/km puts it in the 23% company car tax bracket, and means it is exempt from VED in the first year. Further up the range are two 3.0-litre V6 engines, one petrol and one diesel, both offered with all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard.

The diesel is a 296bhp, 516lb ft unit with CO2 emissions of 159g/km and which does an average of 47.1mpg.

The petrol is a 375bhp, 332lb ft supercharged unit first seen in the F-type; it'll do 0-60mph in 5.1sec and go on to 155mph.

This pushes it close to Macan Turbo territory, a model that uses a turbo V6 with 395bhp and a 0-62mph time of 4.8sec.

What’s it like inside?

The spacious, luxurious interior of the F-Pace seats five adults in comfort, Jaguar claims. It points to the kneeroom for rear passengers as being class-leading, and the vast boot space of 650 litres also comfortably eclipses rivals including the X3, Q5 and Macan. With the rear seats folded flat, there are 1740 litres of space.

A 40:20:40 split of the rear seats is offered, along with optional four-zone climate control. The centerpiece of the interior is a standard 8in or optional 10.2in touchscreen that houses the standard InControl or optional InControl Pro infotainment system.

This has all the features you’d expect of a modern system, including navigation as standard, plus a wifi hotspot capability that allows up to eight devices to be connected at once. The cabin plays host to numerous USB ports and 12V charging points, along with plenty of cubbyholes for everything from large water bottles to smaller oddments.

The instrument binnacle is in fact a 12.3in HD screen that shows everything from the speed to 3D navigation.

A laser head-up display unit is also offered, which projects things including navigation instructions and speed limits onto the windscreen.

How much equipment does it come with?

From launch, five trim levels will be offered.The base level, Prestige (from £34,170), is very well specced as standard. It includes heated and electrically adjustable leather seats, 18in alloys, a powered tailgate, front and rear parking sensors, sat-nav, wifi, split folding rear seats, and Hill Launch Assist/Descent Control among numerous over comfort, safety and convenience features.

R-Sport trim (from £36,670) adds sports leather seats, 19in alloys, sporty trim inside and out, and Xenon headlamps.

The plush Portfolio trim (from £39,170) adds a more luxurious leather interior and features including an upgraded sound system and panoramic roof, while S trim (from £51,450) is the sporting range-topper with a host of associated upgrades. This is only offered on the V6 models.

Jaguar is also offering a special, fully-loaded First Edition models, equipped with the V6 diesel engine. This luxuriously appointed model is based on the S and includes reclining rear leather seats, 22in alloys and as top-of-the-range infotainment system among numerous plush features.

A whole host of safety features will be offered on the F-Pace, a car Jaguar will be seeking a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating with. A stereo camera controls self-explanatory safety functions including an Autonomous Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection, Lane-Departure Warning, Lane-Keep Assist, Traffic-Sign Recognition, Intelligent Speed Limiter, and Driver Condition Monitor.

Jaguar is promising a sporting drive in the new F-Pace akin to that of the XE and XF thanks to a range of chassis technology being offered, including sophisticated suspension (double wishbone front, Integral Link rear) and electric power steering systems borrowed from the two saloons.

Despite being all-wheel drive, the F-Pace is not considered a full off-road SUV akin to one produced by Land Rover.

Instead, the all-wheel drive technology is more used to boost the traction of the car on the road for greater performance, using technology derived from the four-wheel drive F-type called Intelligent Drive Dynamics.It does have ability on low-grip surfaces such as mud, gravel and snow however thanks to a system called Adaptive Surface Response, which is derived from the Terrain Response technology that underpins the off-road ability of Land Rover models.

Further tech in this department includes All Surface Progress Control and Low-Friction Launch systems, designed to make the car controllable in low-speed, low-grip situations.

How much will it cost?

The entry-level F-Pace Prestige model equipped with the 181bhp diesel engine, rear-wheel drive and a manual gearbox is £34,170. Exact pricing for other models and engines has yet to be announced, save for the starting price of the various trim levels listed in the equipment segment above.

How good are its rivals?

The F-Pace is aiming to take on the likes of the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Porsche Macan, all very accomplished high-end SUVs in their own right.

The Macan has a four-star rating on What Car? and offers plenty of performance for its price tag. The BMW X3 is rated even higher at five stars, while its sporting X4 offshoot has a four-star rating. Both have truly premium cabins.

The Audi Q5 is spacious and good quality, although the dynamics are not as strong as the other models listed here. It is a four-star car.

Anything else I need to know?

Offering an SUV, however controversial, is something Jaguar can no longer ignore as it seeks to significantly increase its sales. SUV sales in this country increased 63% between 2004 and 2014, and the rise shows no signs of slowing down.

Just look at the success of sister brand Land Rover: it recorded a 25% year-on-year increase in sales in the first half of 2015 on the back of the success of the new Land Rover Discovery Sport, a model not too dissimilar in size and price if different in execution to the F-Pace.