The F-Pace may have jumped on the SUV bandwagon a bit late but has become the storied brand’s top seller. We spend a week with the 180-hp 2017 Jaguar F-Pace R-Sport crossover SUV

Jaguar came late to the utility game, but with the recent introduction of their stunning F-Pace CUV, the Anglo-Indian auto manufacturer has created quite a stir in both showrooms, and a very crowded marketplace. Available in four flavours – Premium, Prestige, R-Sport, and S, the stylish F-Pace offers Jaguar buyers an all-weather chariot large enough to cater to the needs and demands of the modern family as well as all the luxury and safety features one expects from an iconic premium brand the likes of Jaguar.

Under the Hood: supercharged V6 or diesel

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Three engines are currently available. Buyers of Premium, Prestige, or R-Sport models can choose to equip their vehicles with either an Ingenium two-litre, inline, four-cylinder diesel or a supercharged V6 engine sourced from the F-Type program. Enthusiast types looking for additional motivation will demand the keys to the top-of-the-line F-Pace S which features a supercharged V6 rated at 380-horsepower. Jaguar just announced that a fourth unit will be arriving as the entry level engine for 2018 models in the form of an  Ingenium two-liter, turbocharged, gasoline fed four-cylinder engine. All Canadian market F-Pace models employ an eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-biased torque-on-demand all-wheel-drive system.

Also check out: 2017 Jaguar F-Pace Company’s First SUV Unveiled

Styling and Size

The F-Pace is much larger than it looks. Ian Callum’s latest design features low-cut windows and an outstretched and gently sloping hood which gives it an aggressive, but very aerodynamic profile. Surprisingly, when I parked it beside a friend’s first generation Audi Q7, it was immediately evident that the F-Pace is closer in size to that vehicle than the more diminutive Q5 it is marketed against. In fact, upon closer inspection, our quick and dirty measurements suggest that the F-Pace even had more interior cargo room than the Q7.

The designers have done an exceptional job at giving the F-Pace many of the same styling cues as its passenger car stable mates, which is a good thing, as the company’s current lineup of offerings are among the most visually appealing automobiles on the road today.  The most obvious elements are the bold grille, complete with corporate “Growler” icon, and the sculpted lighting units front and rear.   

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R-Sport package

The R-Sport package equips the vehicle with a number of exterior styling enhancements. These include a special ‘R-Sport’ body kit which includes R-sport front and rear bumpers, special fender vents, body-coloured door claddings with  grained black finishers, metal tread plates with R-Sport badging, and 20-inch alloy wheels. The package also adds adaptive Xenon headlights (with Intelligent high beam), LED ‘J’ blade Daytime Running Lights, and front fog lamps.

Inside the F-Pace

The F-Pace interior is classy, uncluttered, and very modern. Jaguar has always excelled when it comes to cabin design, as all the materials are pleasant to view as well as touch. Jaguar’s innovative telescoping rotary shift knob is present and accounted for, while a compact instrument clustre (incorporating traditional analogue instruments and a high visibility TFT display) and thick-rimmed multi-function steering wheel give the driver all the tools required to operate the vehicle with ease.

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Jaguar also offers a technology Package upgrade which outfits the car with a vibrant 12.3-inch virtual instrument cluster that features four distinct themes and full-screen navigation.

All switchgear and controls are within easy reach of both hand and eye, and there are plenty of bins and compartments distributed throughout the cabin for storage of small items like maps, handheld devices, charging cables and gloves.

Seating

The F-Pace offers seating for five adults, although the occupant in the middle position of the second row will find themselves wanting more leg room due to the intrusion of the transmission tunnel. The rear seats fold (40/20/40-split design) to create an almost flat floor to allow the user to transport longer or bulkier items. Access is via a power-assisted upswing tailgate.

The R-Sport features seemingly infinitely adjustable sport-style seats which offer the perfect mix of comfort and support. Front seats are both heated and chilled, while rear units are heated.

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Cabin safety features

Safety advancements are in abundance and include Lane Keep Assist & Driver Condition Monitor, Blind Spot Monitor with Closing Vehicle Sensing, and Reverse Traffic Detection. The vehicle also benefits from Autonomous Emergency Braking capabilities.

On the road: Handling and Driving Impressions

The F-Pace exhibits handling more akin to that of a sports sedan than an SUV; a characteristic that will help it stand out from the crowd, and make your daily commute a little more enjoyable.  It features electric assist power-assisted steering that is communicative enough to transmit to the driver what the double-wishbone front suspension is doing, while the integral-link rear setup keeps the rear from floating around during cornering. The potent combination of a low centre of gravity and near perfect 50-50 weight distribution translate into precise and predictable handling, with very little body lean exhibited when operating at the limit.

The vehicle feels agile and fleet-of-foot due to the extensive use of lightweight aluminum alloy in the chassis. In fact,  roughly one-third of the F-Pace is comprised of aluminum, most of which is derived from recycled material. Aluminum alloy is lightweight, but also very strong, so the structural rigidity of the F-Pace is exceptional.

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Acceleration is strong and linear, and the R Sport will hustle to 100 km/h in a mere 5.8 seconds. The standard all-wheel-drive system has been designed to direct 100-percent of the torque to the rear wheels giving it enthusiast-friendly driving dynamics, but when required, it will seamlessly transfer as much as 50-percent of the power to the front wheels to assist with traction. 

The 8speed automatic transmission helps keep the engine operating as efficiently as possible, but it also responds quickly during acceleration and overtaking maneuvers, especially when the driver elects to make his own gear changes using the steering-wheel mounted paddles. 

The F-Pace offers seating for five adults, although the occupant in the middle position of the second row will find themselves wanting more leg room due to the intrusion of the transmission tunnel.

While the F-Pace excels on the pavement, it’s also no slouch when the going gets rough. The all-wheel-drive system is enhanced by two clever systems designed to help the driver maintain optimal traction no matter what the road conditions- All Surface Progress Control (ASPC) and Adaptive Surface Response (AdSR). This potent duo work automatically to make adjustments to the throttle, transmission and stability control systems to maintain maximum grip and allow you to maintain optimum control. The F-Pace will no doubt become popular with those individuals looking for a safe and comfortable means to shuttle the family to the cottage or ski hill.

Also on board you will find Jaguar Drive Control. This driver selectable system offers three distinct operating modes – Dynamic Mode, Eco Mode, and Rain/Ice/Snow Mode, and allows the driver to set up the vehicle to suit driving conditions, meet performance demands, or maximize fuel efficiency.

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Takeaway

Jaguar’s F-Pace represents a new direction for the iconic brand, and for a first foray into the utility vehicle segment this premium crossover is well positioned to compete with its more established rivals. It has been blessed with massive curb appeal, competent handling, invigorating performance, and all the latest safety and comfort gear one expects in a premium product. Judging by the impressive sales numbers already coming in, Jaguar’s latest offering should help the company attract many new buyers as well as retain its current client base.    

Learn more – 2017 Jaguar F-Pace R-Sport

2017 Jaguar F-Pace R-Sport Specs:

Base price (MSRP): $59,900

Price as tested: $69,325

Type: All-wheel-drive sport utility

Engine: 3.0-litre Supercharged DOHC 24-valve V6                          

Transmission: 8-Speed ZF automatic with sequential shift

Horsepower: 340 @ 6,000 rpm 

Torque (lb.ft): 332 @ 3,500 – 5,000 rpm 

0-100 km/h: 5.8 seconds

Brakes: Four-wheel disc

Suspension: Double-wishbone front / integral-link rear

Cargo room: 33.5 cu.ft (seats up); 63.5cu.ft (seats folded)

Towing capacity: 2,400 kg

Fuel economy (L/100km): City 13.3; Highway 10.0   

2017 Jaguar F-Pace R-Sport Gallery


Russell Purcell is an award-winning automotive journalist and photographer based in Vancouver, B.C. His passion for automobiles was sparked at the tender age of six, when a family friend gave the wide-eyed first grader a ride to school in a track prepared Porsche 911 RSR. He continues to fan the flames by building an impressive library of automotive related books as well as a vast collection of interesting automobilia and motoring artefacts. Russell is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada, and is active on Twitter as RoadTestRuss.