Bringing an entirely new model to market could be considered a bit risky but the experts at Jaguar are pretty confident their first ever SUV is strong enough to tempt more than a few buyers over from the Germans.
Duncan & Ebbett Tauranga’s sales executive John Hancock says the all new F-Pace was actually inspired by the F-TYPE.
“It is a performance SUV that has the DNA of a sports car,” says John.
It certainly did look the business when Bay Driver took it for a test spin.
It was distinctively Jaguar and had head-turning road presence. But how did it drive?
The Jag fanatic
Selecting this week’s Bay Driver, I was delighted to discover Tauranga has its very own Jaguar fanatic Max Martin.
Max, who owns Harcourts Tauranga and Mount Maunganui with his sons Simon and Nigel, bought his first Jaguar at age 23.
The Jaguar Mark 1 is a British saloon car that was produced by Jaguar between 1955 and 1959.
Max purchased his on his 23rd birthday.
“It was a beautiful black one with red leather upholstery,” Max recalls fondly.
Max says he went on to buy a Mark 2 followed by an XJS Daimler Jaguar in 1974 before giving up his obsession for a few years while his family was young, opting instead for the practicality of non-British-built station wagons.
These days, with his boys all grown up, Max is back behind the wheel of a Jaguar again – this time owning a Jaguar F-Type, the successor to the legendary E-Type Jaguar which was launched at the Paris Motor Show in 2012.
“I love it,” says Max. “It’s got a real characteristic bark when you turn the ignition that lets you know it’s a Jag. It takes 20 years off my life every time I start it up.”
Initially looking for a replacement for his F-Type, Max says the thing he liked first about the F-Pace was its size. “It’s just not too big like other SUVs I have owned,” says Max.
“But the thing I love most is it’s got great performance too – much better than I expected actually.”
Obviously passionate about his Jaguars, Max went on to say that not only had he decided to keep his F-Type he’s also placed an order for the F-Pace as well.
Good on you Max! It sounds like you’ve worked pretty hard over the years mate – you deserve it!
Nothing quite like it
The dimensions of the F-Pace place it somewhere between the mid-size set – like the BMW X3, Audi Q5, Mercedes GLC, Porsche Macan – and their larger stablemates – BMW X5, Audi Q7, Mercedes GLE, Porsche Cayenne.
Those looks alone are likely to sell more than a few cars before anyone’s even driven the F-Pace. There are some attractive sporty-premium SUVs on the market but there is genuinely nothing on the road that looks like an F-Pace. And we reckon that is a good thing!
Despite the sleek shape, there is plenty of headroom in the second row, as well as ample legroom. It is much roomier than its exterior dimensions suggest. It might have the DNA of a sports car but this is a solid family SUV. And in terms of practicality, the F-Pace has an impressive 508 litres of boot space. When the F-Pace is up and running the 280kW/450Nm supercharged V6 engine was really impressive. With this powertrain, the all-wheel drive – which is standard across the range – F-Pace can race from 0-100km/h in 5.5 seconds.
Taking off from a standing start is a joy as the F-Pace reaches speed in no time at all.
The eight-speed auto is a smooth shifter, so much so that the gear changes were barely registered. It is worth noting there are three spec levels available, starting at Prestige, R-Sport, and then the top of the range S models –petrol and diesel.
If you want to take this vehicle offroad, don’t be fooled by its big city looks.
It comes with an All Surface Progress Control system, which assists the F-Pace when pulling away on surfaces such as ice, snow and wet grass.
It’s sort of like an autonomous off-road system. You set it and take your foot off the pedals and it wades, climbs or traverses for you. It’s a rather clever system and could avert an awkward bogging situation.
Jaguar is expecting big things from the F-Pace and it is anticipating a lot of buyers coming across from other brands. From a purely design perspective, we don’t think they will have any trouble there.
But thankfully there is more to the F-Pace than its handsome looks. There is genuine practicality and flexibility to the cabin, meaning the F-Pace can easily handle family holidays as well as school runs, and it will look fabulous in the process.
If the XE announced Jaguar’s intentions to the world as a serious contender in the premium segment, the F-Pace shows the British marque means business. The Germans have been warned.
Highlighted specifications as standard:
• 3-litre Supercharged V6 producing 280 KW mated to an 8 speed auto with sequential shift.
• Autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning.
• 8 inch touch screen display, Meridian 11 speaker sound system.
• 10-Way Electric Heated Front Seats with Driver Memory.
RRP: From $95,000 plus on road costs
(2.0L Diesel Turbo Prestige Model)
Dealer: Duncan & Ebbett Tauranga,
115 Hewletts Rd, Mount Maunganui.
Ph: (07) 928 1280.