JAGUAR GETS IT RIGHT
WITH 2017 F-PACE, ITS FIRST SUV
When you are doing something for the first time, it behooves you to do it right because, as most any good salesman will tell you, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Well, Jaguar has entered the fray with its very first SUV, the 2017 Jaguar F-Pace, and the first impression is that the famed British marque most certainly did it right.
Oh, sure, there are a couple of little nits I might pick at (and will get to later), but overall, this is hit right out of the box. It looks great, performs like you would expect from a Jaguar, and easily fulfills the basic mission of an SUV, which is hauling people in comfort with all their stuff.
A good reason for all that could be that could be, according to a company news release, the F-Pace’s appearance was influenced by the highly success Jaguar F-Type coupe and convertible. Jaguar PR types even refer to the F-Pace as a “practical sports car,” and it should be noted the company clocked the F-Pace S model with its supercharged V6 engine (380 horsepower, 332 pound-feet of torque) at 5.1 seconds for getting from zero to 60 mph.
Designer Ian Callum says that “every Jaguar car should draw your eye from 200 meters away,” and I would have to say the F-Pace does that. It certainly caught the eye of one of my neighbors, though I must confess I never asked how far away she was standing away when she gushed about it.
The F-Pace seats five passengers and is offered in five trim levels (base, Premium, Prestige, R-Sport and S) with three engine options (in addition to the aforementioned 380 hp V6, there is a a 340 hp supercharged V6 and a 4-cylinder diesel) all mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with Jaguar’s rotary dial selector and paddle shifters, and all-wheel drive configuration.
We’ll concentrate on the 2017 F-Pace S version here.
It carries a base MSRP of $56,700, and options like a comfort and convenience package (heated and cooled front seats and heated rear, a “gesture” tailgate that allows you to operate the tailgate by waving your foot under the rear flanks, power reclining rear seats, and remote release for the second row), a technology package (InControl Touch Pro with a 10.2-inch touchscreen for operation of infotainment systems, SSD-based navigation for quick refreshes, premium sound, and WiFi), and a couple of other options and destination and delivery ran the total up to $65,745. (The base model starts at around $41,000.)
Standard equipment on the 2017 Jaguar F-Pace S includes adaptive driving dynamics which allows you to put the car in “dynamic” mode for enhanced performance (or you can go from Standard to Eco if you prefer), 20-inch wheels, LED headlights with auto high beam (it seemed to work more effectively than some past takes on this feature), 14-way adjustable sport front seats with leather surfaces and driver memory, keyless entry and push-button start, rear-view camera and blind-spot monitor, lane-keeping assist, and navigation.
The 380 hp V6 version in the F-Pace S offers fuel mileage ratings of 18 miles-per-gallon city, 23 highway, and 20 combined, which falls on the low end of its class. But the performance makes up for it. Throttle response is instant, and its eagerness to take off is clearly evident when the transmission is set in Sport mode. The feeling is that of being aboard a thoroughbred race horse who wants to get the jump on his competitors so he can be first back to the barn for oats.
The interior is refined but fairly simplistic in design. It’s also quite roomy, except for maybe the middle rider in the back who has to contend with the hump from the driveshaft. With an overall length of 186.3 inches, it offers front-seat riders what Jaguar calls “effective” legroom of 40.3 inches and those in the back 37.2 inches while still providing a roomy 33.5 cubic feet of storage space behind the second row. Fold the second-row seats and you get another 30 cubic feet.
That’s a lot of storage space for those on the go.
Here’s where I pick the nits:
— The front doors have kind of a weird design with the upper half swooping toward the back. I actually banged my head on an open driver’s side door (yes, that is kind of klutzy), and it takes a while to get used to bending correctly to get in up front because of the sloping A pillar.
—The InControl Touch system is not all that complicated to operate and response to voice commands was pretty good, but I never could figure out how to correctly adjust the various scales for the navigation map. The map seemed to jump around from very close up to a much broader overall look, and there were a couple of numbers at the upper left that defied explanation.
Thought they might be elevation numbers at first, but nothing in South Florida is 400 feet in elevation except for some buildings in downtown Miami. Diving into the owner’s manual provided no solution, and the car jockey who picked up the F-Pace at the end of my week couldn’t figure it out either. (An update: I have been told that the number represents kind of a fine-tuning regarding your location and a point somewhere else on the map. I must have touched somewhere on the screen and that's what the system was telling me. Sounds good to me!)
Also, the nav system kept asking me to log in to my account, which, of course, I didn’t have. Fortunately, it was easy enough to clear that from the touchscreen.
But neither of those nits would be considered deal breakers in my book.
What I liked about the 2017 Jaguar F-Pace S: This is an SUV that really does handle more like a sport sedan. I prefer a firm ride over a cushy one, and the F-Pace came through there as well. But it is not overly stiff and seemed to handle ordinary street bumps quite well.
What I didn’t like about the 2017 Jaguar F-Pace S: Bumping my head on the driver’s side door when I simply leaned forward while standing next to it with the door open. You have to learn to duck your head just so to get in up front as well.
Would I buy the 2017 Jaguar F-Pace S: Yes. In its analysis of reviews, U.S. News & World Report rates the F-Pace No. 2 in its class behind only the new Porsche Macan, which is a bit more expensive. I also found infotainment and other technological functions in the F-Pace more user-friendly than is often the case in the luxury class.