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Used test: Jaguar F-Pace vs Porsche Macan

If you're looking for a plush SUV with a sporty edge then the Jaguar F-Pace and Porsche Macan both fit the bill. But which makes the better used buy?...

Jaguar F-Pace vs Porsche Macan

The Contenders

Jaguar F-Pace 3.0d V6 300 S AWD

List price when new £52,300
Price today £32,000*
Available from 2016-present

Jaguar’s large SUV is big and well equipped, but can the marque’s usual dynamic appeal help it beat the nifty Porsche?


Porsche Macan S Diesel

List price when new £46,182
Price today £35,000*
Available from 2014-2018

The Macan might not be as roomy or generously kitted out as the F-Pace, but it has the slickest handling of all the premium SUVs

*Price today is based on a 2016 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing.


Technically speaking, SUVs are not the best type of vehicle to use if you want to create a sporty driving experience, whatever their merits in many other areas.

By their nature, they're tall and heavy, which can have a negative effect on a car's ride and handling. To make them good to drive and comfortable to ride in can involve much engineering wizardry, which can be a difficult task.

If it is, no one seems to have told the manufacturers of the two cars we have on test here.

Jaguar F-Pace vs Porsche Macan

Take Porsche, for example. Its smallest SUV, the Porsche Macan, has won many plaudits over the years for being good to ride in and effortlessly brilliant to drive. It's also a great used buy, with prices that aren't unjustifiably high, and in the now-discontinued diesel form we've got on test here, it's even reasonably economical to run. 

The same can be said for the Jaguar F-Pace – it's always been noted for its upmarket interior and fine driving manners. Like the Macan, this version of the large SUV uses a 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine and has all-wheel drive, and it's actually more practical and, as tested here at five years old, more affordable to buy than its rival. 

Both rank highly in our books, so putting them head to head is likely to result in a close contest. Read on to find out which one comes out on top. 

Jaguar F-Pace vs Porsche Macan

Driving

Performance, ride, handling, refinement

Although the F-Pace is slightly lighter and more powerful, the Macan is 0.2sec quicker to 60mph, completing the dash in 6.6sec. Were it not for our test Macan’s launch control, which improves acceleration and assists gear changes from a standing start, it would have been even closer. In reality, both cars feel brisk, offering plentiful acceleration from a standstill and through the gears.

The Macan’s engine is more refined, though. It's whisper quiet at idle and exceptionally smooth for a diesel on the move, highlighting what might otherwise be acceptable gruffness from the F-Pace. Each pulls strongly from low revs, but the F-Pace’s engine hits its stride earlier, at around 1400rpm, while the Porsche needs at least 2000rpm before it really picks up the pace.

Jaguar F-Pace

Brisk yet smooth shifts are a hallmark of the Macan’s seven-speed automatic gearbox. The F-Pace’s eight-speed auto ’box changes gear more gently than the Macan’s in slow traffic, but it’s still snappy when accelerating hard. The steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles in each car respond swiftly when you want to take control.

The Macan has a couple of urban irritations, though: the brakes bring you to a jarring halt if you're not super-smooth when pressing the pedal, and once the engine stop-start system has re-engaged, you have to wait a moment before the car can pull away.

The F-Pace has the slightly comfier ride in town, even though our test car rode on huge, optional 22in wheels that add a hard edge over sharper bumps. Its advantage over the Macan would be greater on standard 20in wheels.

Porsche Macan

The Macan bounces about a little more, but it was still acceptably composed on our test car’s optional air suspension. The F-Pace has a more relaxed, loping gait on the motorway. It suffers from more engine, wind and road noise than the Macan, but you can cover plenty of high-speed miles in either car in comfort and reasonable isolation.

On country roads, the Macan is more focused, changing direction with sports car-like aggression. Body lean is well contained and there’s a huge amount of grip, so it feels really tied-down when driven hard. Its heavier steering is accurate and slick, but it can feel a little bit stiff mid-corner.

The F-Pace’s steering offers more weight variation, communicating clearly what the front wheels are doing. Its body rolls more, but good front-end grip means you can still attack corners hard. Although the F-Pace isn’t as agile as the Macan, it is still swift and enjoyable.