Preview by Justin Pritchard, photos courtesy Jaguar

Not so very long ago, the marketing folks working for numerous premium automakers realized something: many owners of their posh and pricey sedans, coupes and roadsters parked it next to an SUV from another manufacturer in the garage. Mercedes, Porsche, BMW and others quickly caught on and the premium SUV segment exploded – giving luxury enthusiasts an added dose of capability, space and versatility.

The segment has become a crowded and fiercely competitive battleground – and it’s about to get even more crowded if and when Jaguar releases the production version of a new concept crossover they’ve just revealed at the Frankfurt Auto Show.

Jaguar C-X17 Concept
Jaguar C-X17 Concept
Jaguar C-X17 Concept
Jaguar C-X17 Concept
Jaguar C-X17 Concept. Click image to enlarge

Was it pure coincidence that the British automaker chose the home country of would-be competitors like the ML, X5 and Q7 to debut their latest work? We think not.

It’s called the C-X17 – a very concept-sounding name that’s applied to what, from the outside, looks like a largely production-ready vehicle.

Showgoers commented on the C-X17’s blocky and athletic look, which Jaguar says was honed to incorporate trademark design elements while creating a body and stature that’s pure sports ute. Thin-slit taillamps call the recently introduced F-Type to mind, while the prominent grille opening and large air ducts, flanked by thin, piercing headlamps and set off with chrome, strongly nod towards the Jaguar XF and XJ luxury sedans.

Some folks in the crowd noted that the width, size and stance of the C-X17 call to mind models like the BMW X5 and Mazda CX-9.

Though this British posh-ute concept looks sales-ready from the outside, the cabin is pure concept through and through. Jaguar’s interior designers created an onboard environment that’s bright, energetic and classy. They favoured simple black and white color contrast between materials to generate depth without taking away from the slick new touch-activated interfaces and futuristic displays. The cluster, for instance, consists of two round digital instrument displays sitting by their lonesome under a low-profile shroud. To reduce information overload and encourage drivers to take in the view of the world around them, most other displays are mounted low, beneath the driver’s line of sight.

Much of the centre console is a large touchscreen that flows from the dashboard down and rearwards. Other than the shift dial and four ‘hard’ buttons flanking it, the C-X17’s console is like one great big iPad with touch controls for climate, audio and other functions built in.

Rear-seat passengers benefit from similar functionality, as the slick console flows rearwards between the second-row perches. With touchscreen multimedia access in both seating rows, Jaguar says occupants can ‘flick’ selected reading, multimedia or images back and forth between front and rear. Sharing is caring, after all.

In back? A set of folding aluminum seats can be flipped out of the floor to rest over the rear bumper for tailgate parties, er business meetings. The seats are, of course, lined in Connolly leather.

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