Car review: Jaguar F-Pace

Any GP wanting a premium SUV to suit themselves and to serve their family will not be disappointed by Jaguar's F-Pace, says Dr Tony Rimmer.

As car-buyers, we have never had it so good. There has never before been the amount choice across all types and classes of vehicle.

All modern cars are safe, well built and have standard features that would be have been considered expensive luxuries only a few years ago. There are also a myriad of purchasing options. So how do we, as medics, focus our buying decisions?

Appeal to GPs

Well, there are some new cars that hit just the right note in their potential appeal to many GPs. The combination of high quality, practicality and an established and well-respected brand gave Jaguar’s F-Pace a huge anticipatory following leading up to its launch in 2016.

The latest member of the increasingly popular premium SUV segment has a lot to prove to potential buyers, particularly our discerning group of medical professionals.

Just as other new models in the Jaguar Land Rover stable have benefitted, there has been huge investment in development of the F-pace by the giant Indian owning company, Tata. The engineers at Jaguar, rather than relying on their colleagues at Land-Rover, developed the chassis of this four-wheel drive machine themselves using the existing platform used in the XE and XF models as a starting point. The available engines are also the ones already found in the Jaguar saloons.

Smart and distinctive

The styling is smart and distinctive for such a big car and is instantly recognisable as a member of the iconic Coventry brand. The coupe-like roofline and the distinctive rear lights complete the family picture.

The F-Pace is available in four trim levels; Prestige, R-Sport, Portfolio and S-trim, the   engine options include 2.0-litre four-cylinder or 3.0-litre V6 diesels and 2.0-litre four-cylinder or 3.0-litre V6 petrols.

My test car was the 2.0-litre diesel Portfolio model. Although this engine is predicted to be the biggest seller, I just wonder if the petrol models will gain ground on the back of the negative press that diesel engines have been suffering in recent months with regard to their particulate emissions. Just think about your COPD patients and the effect on them.

You step up into the F-Pace and, although it is not quite Discovery or Range Rover sized, it feels bigger than an Audi Q5.

Interior space

The interior space backs this up. Three adults can comfortably sit across the rear bench and the boot, accessed by a powered hatch, is vast. Certainly if useable room is your priority, you will not be disappointed.

The dashboard and controls are pure Jaguar and even the distinctive rising rotary gear selector is present which lends a sense of occasion to every journey.

The infotainment system has a touch screen control and all the usual Bluetooth, sat-nav and DAB radio features are easily found. It is just a shame that the standard screen is only 8 inches wide: the clearer 12.3 inch screen is a hefty £1,200 option.

The full length sunroof, standard on the Portfolio model certainly gives the cabin a lighter airy quality but there is no opening facility. Like other SUVs, you sit high off the road and white vans become less intimidating when they are at the same eye level.

How does it drive?

What I really wanted to do, more than anything, was to get the F-Pace out on the road. Marketed as a sporty SUV, could this Jaguar provide some fun behind the wheel?

First impressions were good; the new lightweight construction means that , for the most part, the 2.0-litre 180bhp diesel engine copes well with a car of this size. Acceleration is brisk but not fast. Cruising on the motorway is a really comfortable experience. The ride is nicely smooth and controlled allied to really low noise levels. The miles fly by.

On the twisty bits, the F-Pace behaves well – up to a point. The steering is direct but not perhaps as sharp as it could be.

If you push on a bit, the tall body starts rolling a bit too much for a sporty feel and this is even with the variable damper controls set to ‘Sport’. The F-Pace is no sports car. Perhaps the more powerful V6 petrol and diesel models with better chassis control would give the driver more of a thrill but you will pay Porsche level money for those.

This new Jaguar is a really impressive car. I love the styling both inside and out. I love the quality, the impressive passenger space and the comfort.

Any GP wanting a premium SUV to suit themselves and to serve their family will not be disappointed. Just don’t expect it to drive like a sports-car, certainly not in the guise as tested. However, if you compare it more natural rivals like the Mercedes GLC and Audi’s new Q5, it wins hands down.

Jaguar F-Pace Portfolio 2.0d 180PS AWD
Body Five-seat SUV. Four wheel drive
Engine 2.0- litre four-cylinder  turbo-diesel
Power 180 bhp
Torque 430 Nm
Top speed 129 mph
Acceleration 0-60mph in 8.2 secs
Claimed economy Combined 53.3 mpg
CO2 emissions 139g/km
On-the-road price £ 42,860

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