Packed with state-of-the-art technology and advanced driving aids, Jaguar’s new F-Pace performance SUV is expected to become the British brand’s top selling model once it arrives in showrooms.
Jaguar has cast aside tradition and decided to make a Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV), which is currently being rolled out around the world.
Jaguar joins Porsche, Maserati and even Bentley, Rolls Royce, Lamborghini and Maybach, famous sporty and luxury upmarket brands forced to admit that to survive and make money they must grit their collective teeth and make what the public wants; utility vehicles that can go anywhere, albeit quickly and in some style.
Jaguar calls its SUV the F-Pace, reflecting its link to design cues in the F-type sports car, and company founder William Lyons, who once said that every Jaguar must combine Grace, Space and Pace. Jaguar is now owned by Tata Motors of India, which along with stable mate Land Rover, was bought from Ford Motor Co. in 2008.
Jaguar launched the F-Pace in Montenegro, a tiny country across the Adriatic from Italy and once part of communist Yugoslavia. This was probably because it gave test drivers the chance to drive more off-road than on and demonstrate its 4×4 abilities, never under much doubt because of the in-house expertise of Land Rover. Montenegro lacks modern roads, and the ones it has are often pot-holed and narrow. The inexperience of many Montenegro drivers might also have been a factor because often almost suicidal attempts at over-taking gave the F-Pace many opportunities to demonstrate its nimble handling, fantastic braking ability and last-ditch, state of the art safety technology.
When Jaguar announced it was making an SUV, critics wondered if it was likely to cannibalise sales of stable-mate Range Rover’s Sport, or more expensive versions of the smaller Range Rover Evoque, and Land Rover Discovery Sport. Jaguar believes this won’t happen because the F-Pace will appeal to more sporty SUV buyers. Jaguar reckons the F-Pace will face competition from the Porsche Macan, Audi Q5, BMW X3 and X4, Mercedes GLC, Volvo XC60 and Lexus NX.
The range-topper, powered by a 3.0 litre, 380hp twin supercharged petrol engine, can scoot from rest to 100km/h (60mph) in 5.4 seconds and is priced above, often way above, £50,000 (€64,095, $72,200). The base model, priced from £34,170 (€43,800, $49,415), is powered by a 180hp, 4-cylinder 2.0 litre diesel. All have four-wheel drive and eight-speed automatic gearboxes. Jaguar says it uses a high proportion of aluminium in the construction for strength and lightness.
Inevitably, it will be looks which catch the attention of potential buyers, and the Jaguar can definitely hold its head up high in this part of the race. The Porsche Macan is the car to beat in this segment, and Jaguar says it has the edge in interior space, while its dynamics are very competitive too. The demand for connectivity looks to be well covered both in infotainment and safety.
Jaguar proudly unveiled what it believes to be a unique gizmo, a so-called “Activity Key”. This is a rubber wrist-band which carries an embedded electronic virtual key, so you can park the car on the beach, lock it up with the key inside and when you return from surfing or swimming, the wrist-band will unlock the car.
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