Jaguar officially joins the SUV fray now that it has pulled the wraps off the F-Pace, a vehicle they frame as “the world’s most practical sports car”. This crossover is all about on-road dynamics, which makes sense as Jaguar certainly doesn’t want to be stepping on any toes down the hall at Land Rover.
There’s no doubting this SUV is a Jag – all curves, haunches and taut surfaces. From the front, the LED headlights leer and the big grille gapes. The wheels are pushed to corners so there is minimal overhang. Down the side are inverted creases and the taillights hint of those on the F-Type sports car. Design director Ian Callum says they spent a lot of time on the F-Pace, as it was completely different from anything they’d done before. They put much of the F-Type feel into it, and he seems happy that “this is a Jaguar shaped like a crossover, and not a crossover pushed into the shape of a Jaguar.”
Indeed, it’s a sexy thing, and will likely jump right to the top of the Jaguar sales chart. They’re probably wishing they had done this years ago. The F-Pace will be available in Canada spring of 2016.
The F-Pace’s aluminum skin sits on Jaguar’s new expandable alloy-intensive platform that underpins the new XE and XF sedans. At launch, Canadians will have a choice of 340-hp or 380-hp 3.0L supercharged V6, both mated to an eight-speed ZF transmission. Later in 2016 a 180-hp/317 lb-ft 2.0L Ingenium diesel four comes on board.
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The AWD system defaults to rear-wheel drive under normal driving conditions but can transition to a 50:50 torque split in just 165 milliseconds. Aluminum is used almost exclusively to make the front double-wishbone and rear multilink suspension as light as possible. Wheel sizes range from 19 to 22 inches. Torque vectoring is standard and Adaptive Dynamics suspension is available. Jaguar claims this four-wheel-drive feline handles better than a Porsche Macan – a bold statement that bodes well for the enthusiast, as the Macan is pretty much the benchmark at this point.
The F-Pace is not huge – sized “somewhere between the Audi Q5 and Q7” [Why not just say Cayenne sized? –Ed.]. Sitting in the snugly supportive front seats, the driving environment feels intimate, as we have come to expect from Jaguar. All the controls look familiar, with the rising rotary shift knob sitting in centre console. The F-Pace is equipped with the new Jaguar InControl Touch infotainment system with eight-inch touchscreen as standard. Upgrade to InControl Touch Pro and we see fully digital and configurable 12.3-inch HD instrument cluster, a 10.2-inch central touchscreen and laser head-up display.