By Richard Homan
The 2017 F-Pace compact is the first-ever Jaguar SUV. This all-wheel-drive (AWD) crossover SUV lives happily on-road, and it can play well off-road too when the need arises. Best of all, the F-Pace carries the spirit of Jaguar around with it wherever it goes. Precisely executed, the Jaguar F-Pace offers generous seating for five, excellent engines, solid road manners, strong all-wheel drive (standard), stronger in-car tech (available as you move up the price ladder), and plenty of luxury and sport variation. The new F-Pace is a worthy luxury contender, facing off against such compact SUV stalwarts as the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC, and it even offers a 5.1-seconds-to-60 mph version at a price that could almost make you think twice about a Porsche Macan.
If you're an early adopter, or if you've been waiting for a smart new SUV from your favorite British carmaker, dive in. This Jag has the chops to challenge the BMW X3 and the new Mercedes GLC, along with enough product variation to go up against the venerable Audi SQ5.
The graph on Jaguar quality is rising steeply, but it has yet to gain the high reputation German luxury vehicles enjoy. That said, our new F-Pace test cars impressed. Also, if you want Apple CarPlay or Android Auto in your Jag SUV, you'll have to wait.
The 2017 Jaguar F-Pace is an all-new model, and it benchmarks as the first Jaguar SUV ever. We expect that it will have a strong role to play when voting for the 2017 North American Car of the Year and 2017 World Car Awards begins.
The first thing to note about the 2017 Jaguar F-Pace is that it is a very wheel/tire-size-dependent vehicle. The standard 19-inch wheels and tires on the $45,200 Premium and $49,700...
... Prestige models provide the best balance of road feel and response with a comfortable ride, and the Prestige's driving personality plus features-for-price make it our recommendation. If you want more sport in your SUV, we recommend the F-Pace S, even though it tips the scales at $57,700.
It feels very good to be able to sit high in the F-Pace's driver's seat and confidently aim that bulging hood down the road. The turbocharged "Ingenium" diesel 4-cylinder engine provides deep torque for superb low-speed acceleration, while the supercharged gasoline V6 effortlessly donates power from anywhere on the rev band. The 8-speed ZF transmission provides the perfect salt to the pepper of the F-Pace engines, shifting precisely and quickly with no "hunting" back and forth for the right gear. No amateur on rugged roads and even moderate off-roads, the F-Pace's full-time all-wheel-drive system defaults to a rear-drive bias, but can seamlessly assign torque to the front wheels as needed.
A SUPERB FOUNDATION OF FEATURES
Every 2017 F-Pace, whether you choose the $42,000 base model or the loaded $70,000 First Edition version, offers first-class powerplants, a silken transmission, lightweight aluminum used throughout the SUV's body, suspension and underlying architecture, as well as a seamless all-wheel-drive system and an interior precision-designed for roominess and cargo carrying.
JAGUAR InControl TOUCH PRO
As part of the $3,200 Technology Pack option on F-Pace Prestige and above models, Jag's InControl Touch Pro infotainment/navigation system is a must-have for anybody who can afford it. Among other gems, Touch Pro includes a widely configurable 12.3-inch high-definition touch screen, an ultra-quick solid-state-drive navigation system, and a 17-speaker Meridian digital surround-sound system.
The quiet F-Pace quiet interior feels new-Jag familiar, with good workmanship and materials, and the space offered -- especially in the just-right stadium-seating second row and immense rear cargo area -- feels calculated to an exact algorithm to fit five adults comfortably. This feeling of roominess is enhanced by one of the biggest panorama roofs in the business, but it is compromised for the driver by a thick B-pillar and a narrow view through the rear window. The standard power rear tailgate opens wide to offer a best-in-class, 33.5-cubic-foot capacity (almost twice that with the rear seatbacks folded down).
Wayne Burgess, Jaguar Land Rover's production studio director, assured us that Jag SUVs will be "much more flamboyant" than the sedans. Wayne was also justifiably proud that the company had finally resolved -- done away with -- the styling schizophrenia in Jaguar vehicles, especially in the faces. The clean lines of the 2017 F-Pace are Jag's first step in that direction. That shape and the styling details call for bold colors like the magnificent Caesium Blue available only on the limited-edition 2017 F-Pace First Edition models, 275 of which are bound for the U.S. We'll take ours in British Racing Green.
Beyond essentials like strong engine/transmission combinations, every Jaguar F-Pace includes all-wheel drive, weight-saving aluminum used throughout (a light vehicle is a nimble, fuel-saving vehicle), an epic sliding panorama roof, and a 5,290-pound towing capacity. Also worth paying attention to are the SUV's power front seats and rear liftgate, 11-speaker Meridian sound system, and Jaguar EliteCare which includes:
- 5-year/60,000-mile warranty
- 5-year/60,000-mile free scheduled maintenance
- 5-year/60,000-mile 24/7 roadside assistance program
- 5-year/unlimited-mileage subscription to Jaguar InControl Remote & Protect services like a smartphone app that lets you remotely lock/unlock the doors, start the engine and heat or cool the cabin, plus automatic notification of emergency services if an airbag deploys.
The base 2017 F-Pace model offers an SD-card navigation system and a rearview camera option, but moving up the ladder gives you plenty of places to spend extra. F-Pace option packages offer the expected (you know -- heated seats and steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, head-up display, blind-spot monitoring), the techno-interesting (Wi-Fi hotspot capability, 360 degrees of outside camera coverage, automatic parking assistance), and the comfort/sport enhancers (adaptive suspension dynamics for better ride and handling, Adaptive Surface Response to maximize grip at any speed, and Configurable Dynamics allowing the driver to manually set up how the F-Pace drives).
Powerhouse heritage is already a big part of the 2017 Jaguar F-Pace. At its May 2016 launch, the F-Pace will come with the same 3.0-liter supercharged V6 that's making a legend out of Jag's F-Type sports car. That sweetheart of an engine comes at two levels of boost: 340-horsepower for the non-S models and 380-horsepower for S versions. In September 2016, the F-Pace will add a potent and fuel-miserly 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel 4-cylinder available on all but the S models. Fear it not: This Ingenium diesel engine's 318 lb-ft of torque -- produced from just off idle to 2,500 rpm -- pulls the F-Pace off the line and into traffic easily for hours with barely a dent to the fuel gauge. The superb ZF 8-speed automatic comes standard on all models.
2.0-liter turbocharged diesel inline-4
180 horsepower @ 4,000 rpm
318 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-2,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A
3.0-liter supercharged V6
340 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
332 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/23 mpg
3.0-liter supercharged V6 (F-Pace S & First Edition models)
380 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
332 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/23 mpg
2017 Jaguar F-Pace SUV start with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $42,000 for the F-Pace 20d (diesel). Pricing and feature sets move up from there, and you can add $1,400 to almost any F-Pace to get the "35t" supercharged V6 gasoline engine. The F-Pace S models (starting about $57,700) come with a 380-horsepower engine. Things you won't always find as standard equipment on compact-luxury SUVs -- like all-wheel drive and a panorama roof -- come on every F-Pace which keeps the Jag reasonably price-competitive with the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes GLC. For a stronger sense of real-world F-Pace transaction prices in your area, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price. And while Jag holds no historical precedent for strength in the resale-value market, the 2017 F-Pace is an all-new Jaguar SUV with good odds of holding its value better than past cats.