When it comes to fashionable Brits these days, the names David Beckham, Kate Middleton and Apple designer Jonathan Ive come to mind. Like fashion designers Burberry, Paul Smith, Victoria Beckham or Stella McCartney, each reinterprets classicism in a modern way. Add the Jaguar F-Pace to that list.
From the time Jaguar announced its plan build a crossover, buyers got in line, and the first deliveries were sold out even before they reached dealerships.
The F-Pace promised to blend popular crossover capability with the fun performance of the brand’s powerful engines and high level of luxury, as well as the unbeatable Jaguar promise of five years of covered maintenance and warranty. On paper it looked great and made the idea of owning the first of a brand new model acceptable. But would it hold up in real life?
- Singles, couples or small families
- Buyers who need room for four (though it seats 5)
- Buyers who want or need all wheel drive
- Drivers seeking a luxurious interior
- Drivers who want a performance engine and a powerful drive experience
- Buyers in the market for a luxury crossover or SUV
- Early adopters who want to be the first with a cool new thing
What It Costs
- Base model price starts at $41,990 (180 horsepower)
- Mid-level model starts at $43,390 (340 horsepower)
- Supercharged model starts at $57,700 (380 horsepower)
- Convenience package (heated seats, push button rear seat recline, motion sensitive lift gate) $1800
- Luxury Package (includes 4-zone climate, cooled glovebox, mood lighting, suede ceiling cover, air quality sensor $2,200
- Driver assistance package (surround view camera, park assist, traffic sign recognition, speed limiter, adaptive cruise) $3,200
- Technology package (upgraded touch screen and instrument panel, connected navigation, wifi, upgraded sound system) $3,200
- Price of the model we drove: About $70,000
See our walk through the Jaguar F-Pace here:
Design And Luxury are the Big Stories Here
One of the top reasons the F-Pace is in such high demand is that buyers looking at Jaguar recognized the dedication to design and luxury. Jaguar’s design has been refined in recent years by chief designer Ian Callum, and the brand now imparts a sense of elegance and power that might have been lacking in prior years.
Design-wise, Jaguar has hit its stride.
But the lineup lacked a crossover. Buyers could go to sister brands Land Rover and Range Rover, but it still wasn’t a Jaguar: Sleek, sexy, sublime.
The addition of the F-Pace to the Jag family was welcome—every luxury brand should have a crossover to complete the lineup. The F-Pace follows the Jaguar design language of elegance and aerodynamics first; the lines of the F-Pace will feel familiar to other luxury crossovers or SUVs, but its muscular lines on the hood, rear end and wheel wells give it a subtly distinct feel.
The luxury features we most appreciated in the F-Pace
- Gorgeous leather interior with textured seats: The seats are very comfortable and are heated but not perforated, like many heated seats. I liked this but found the heating option, even though it is a button on the climate cluster, to be a little cumbersome; it is set with controls on the touch screen, tough to use while driving.
- Panoramic sun roof: You can’t ever have enough natural light
- Roomy interior; lots of head and leg room for relaxing.
- Storage cubby under the center console: Perfect for my phone, keys or other small items. There was also a nice space inside the arm rest and two cup holders.
- Dial gear selector: I might put this in the technology category except it’s pretty and without a protruding gear shift, there’s more room in the center of the car. Dial gear selectors are controversial among car enthusiasts but not with us; we like them.
- Adaptive headlights: Push the turn signal stalk forward once and you’re done; your brights are illuminated when you need them but not when you don’t. These systems are good but need a little more work; I sometimes felt as if I needed more light on dark country roads.
- Rear seat control console: Climate control, heated seats and 2 12V cigarette lighter style power ports give rear seat passengers plenty of comfort and power.
Luxury Technology Completes the Package
Technology is one area where luxury brands lead in the car world—and where aspirational brands often make their mark before focusing on finish details or increasing a car’s performance. A luxury car should get the technology right and Jaguar does this well. The system, with a few exceptions, is easy to use, thorough and not overly complicated.
Some of the technology we found to be well done includes:
- Head up display: a must for luxury and performance cars (though we wish it were in every car); this projects key information on the windshield in front of the driver. The F-Pace system displays radio station and song, speed, speed limit and more.
- Simple, elegant infotainment system: Jaguar’s system is neatly organized in four sections; clicking each one opens up more options. Along the bottom of the screen are icons for functions you want at your fingertips, such as home, settings, self parking and heated seats. The radio was easy to scroll through to find my favorite stations and settings.
- Surround view camera: In a crossover it can be hard to see things right off the bumper or next to the car; this camera system lets you see it all (and I like how it notes the panoramic sun roof, too).
- Valet Mode: The Jaguar has ‘Valet Mode,’ which after putting in a PIN number, lets you lock the touch screen, glove box and cargo area so the they can’t be accessed, protecting your things and your information.
- Self parking feature: for a crossover that sits high off the ground, this is a very helpful feature. Here’s how it works:
That Engine: Luxury in its Own Right
Parking the F-Pace at a restaurant one day, the valet was excited to see it; it’s nice when a valet, who drives a lot of cars, is impressed by yours! The valet was excited by the engine, denoted by the “S” on the back of the lift gate which designates that ‘Supercharged.’
And he was right to be impressed; the F-Pace’s 380 horsepower engine is powerful and responsive. Even in eco mode it’s stronger and more aggressive than most cars this size.
But this car is all about sport mode and paddle shifters. Again, the dial gear selector comes into play; turning the dial over to ’S’ puts the engine in sport mode allowing you to use the paddle shifters. I loved that I didn’t risk accidentally popping it into manual mode and then having to figure out how to get back into auto (for most cars, simply hold the right paddle for three seconds and it shifts back to automatic). Sport mode allows you to drive in automatic or shift with the paddle shifters.
In sport mode, the F-Pace feels and sounds more aggressive, great for highway on ramps and winding country roads. But sadly, I found myself mostly driving in eco mode around town where speed limits are set for safety, not performance driving.
I also appreciated the snow/ice setting, which kicks in the F-Pace’s all wheel drive for bad weather, and the ASC, or adaptive speed control, which when engaged, regulates your speed on difficult terrain such as snow or a rocky slope.
The Steering Wheel: Commands at Your Fingertips
The F-Pace’s steering wheel is well designed with music, voice controls and instrument cluster screen options on the left, adaptive cruise and speed limiter on the right.
Yes, speed limiter. And, it’s a good thing, lest you be tempted to drive too fast. Just set the speed limiter and you get a reminder when you’re about to exceed the speed you set. On the highway, set cruise control and the adaptive system kicks in, letting you relax while it keeps pace with the traffic around you.
On the left side of the steering wheel the volume and station selection buttons were easy to use; when my phone was connected I could push the talk button to make a call, and clicking the Menu button allowed me to scroll through information displays to see the distance left on the gas tank, the current radio station or to adjust the information on the head up display.
Keeping Posh Spice Happy: Rear Seats Fit For A Celeb
While my kids aren’t quite the Beckhams, they can be both demanding and fashionable. They loved the rear seat in the F-Pace. The panoramic sun roof allowed plenty of natural light for lipstick touch-ups, they could plug in their phones (via the two 12V cigarette adapter style power ports), connect to the infotainment system with Bluetooth and they had plenty of room to relax. I loved that the rear seats passed the one-hand test: even without the push-button recline option, I could put them up or down with one hand via a tab on the seat’s shoulder (and a tab in the cargo area that released them to fold flat).
Getting in and out was easy, too; the F-Pace’s hip point, or height of the seats from the ground, is comfortably high and was very natural for me (at 5’8”) and my daughters (5’5” and 5’10”).
Where I Put My Handbag
The nice thing about a mid-size crossover like the F-Pace is that the rear seat isn’t all that far away, and that’s where I found it most convenient to put my handbag. My daughters also put their backpacks on the rear seat; they, nestled in comfortably there. The rear floor proved less convenient because a hump in the floor that accommodates the rear wheel drive system; I don’t mind putting my purse in the center of the rear floor but I don’t like to have it in the footwell where it may get dirty.
This new Brit will be a bit of a surprise to those who may have known (and constantly repaired) a Jag in the past. But it should be a good surprise: Jaguar retains its classic dedication to style and has amped up its focus on performance and creature comforts, including the 5 year warranty and maintenance, which should also reassure buyers wary of buying a car in its first model year.
What We Loved
- The fresh, muscular look of the F-Pace
- The gorgeous leather interior
- The panoramic sun roof
- Jaguar’s infotainment system
- Head up display
- Easy fold rear seats
- Drive modes including Eco, Sport and Snow/Ice
What you Need to Know
- Seats 5 but more comfortable for 4
- 2 USB ports in the center arm rest, as well as a 12V power port and an HDMI port; two more 12V ports are on the rear of the center console for passenger and a 6th power port (a 12V) is in the cargo space
- Push button rear seat fold is available (but not on the model we tested)
- Premium fuel recommended
- 5 year/60,000 mile warranty
- 5 year/60,000 mile scheduled maintenance
- 5 year/60,000 roadside assistance
What we listened to in the Jaguar F-Pace: A stylish, bespoke playlist.
Disclosure: Jaguar provided the F-Pace for my test drive; all opinions are my own.