Model: F-Pace R-Sport 25T
Cost as Tested: $110,637 (on-road costs extra)
As Bitesin5 focuses on Luxury Travel, we wanted to look at other modes of transport rather than just Planes & Hotels, hence - Luxury & Lifestyle Vehicle reviews.
Jaguar has predominantly been known as a luxury sedan maker, but the F-Pace marked their first entry into the SUV market (years behind their competitors) but it seems like they've progressed leaps and bounds since they first released the F-Pace back in 2016. We took the 2018 R-Sport 25T model for a week long 5 day drive to see how well it really did in a city environment. Aimed at families - we wanted to really take this review in a different direction that focused on essentially boiling it down to 4 key topics: Aesthetics & Styling, Comfort, Practicality, & Value. Why? Because most people we asked (friends, family, colleagues etc) didn't really car about the BHP of the car, the torque, engine size etc - they cared about thing's like 'How good it looks' 'Fuel Efficiency' 'Practicality of driving such a big car around Melbourne' 'How fast it goes' etc.
I know, I know - there ARE those who care about the true specs of the car (and so you should if that's what is important to you) - so let's get that our of the way first:
- Engine: 1997cc 2.0 Turbocharged Petrol
- Max Power: 184 @ 5500rpm
- Max Speed: 217kph
- 0-100 KPH Secs: 6.8
- Fuel Economy: 7.4 (L/100KM)
- Weight: From 1,760
If you're interested in the full specs and features, feel free to download the spec sheet here.
If the specs are anything to go by - it's a true beast of the AWD SUV's (All wheel drive -which is very similar to 4WD's). The first thing we noticed is that for a car of it's size: it really did take off - the acceleration has some power behind it - that was easily the first thing you notice as you started driving but we're probably getting ahead of ourselves here - let's look at how it looks.
Aesthetics & Styling
From an external view - it looks great - especially head on. A large grill emblazoned with a striking Jaguar logo sets it apart at the front - complemented by striking XENON headlights at the front. At the back, the well known Jaguar shaped logo is proudly displayed, dashed in Chrome to catch the eye of everyone who glances in the direction o the Jag. Even painted in black (or Santorini Black to be more accurate) the car really stood out, especially during the day as it really glistened in the sun, purring along through the streets. The odd thing about the car however, is that from certain photo angles the design looks very normal (someone even mentioned from a corner/side profile - it reminded them of a standard Kia) but you get no such sense of this when the car is standing right in front of you. For an SUV, it's certainly a very pretty car - set in between the grand luxurious styling of the Range Rover line and the slightly more stylish F-type where they certainly took the tail light design from - though from certain angles I couldn't help thinking about the Kia comment. Overall though, we were quite satisfied - but I can understand this isn't a car which appeals to everyone at first.
The inside wasn't too bad either:
Leather grained sports seats were the focus of the interiors, which felt high in quality - and comfortable to sit on - and more importantly came as a standard in the car. However, being as this was a review unit - it came with a lot of extra's which you wouldn't get with the basic model - some which really enhanced the style of the car such as the 10.2-inch nav touch screen, sliding panoramic roof (which was and easy to operate - it's been a big pain point in certain competitor SUV's). The dashboard was covered in 'hard leather' with stitching details to show how much effort was put into the car, and a friend put it nicely "It's luxurious but not too luxurious".
The buttons under the touch screen were a little disappointing however - as they didn't exactly feel of high quality and it looked quite low in quality (at least not as per a $110,000 car standard) - it's one of the few complaints I had with the interiors really - which were otherwise very stylish. The dashboard of the car was also a giant screen (speedometer) - albeit not a touch screen, which was very nice to look at - and simple to read and easy to understand.
I mentioned earlier that the car could really move for a car of it's size - and it really was a breeze to drive this car. I was initially worried it would take me a bit of time to adjust to the car - but it was so smooth and easy to drive that I adjusted almost instantly. Size wise, it falls in smaller than a large Range Rover SUV, but it's still larger than a RR Evoque - which means two adults could comfortable sit at the front, with 2-3 more at the back without feeling too cramped in. The back middle seat isn't exactly the most comfortable - but it's certainly better than some other option's I've seen in the market - it could be a bit tight for a full sized adult though. This is probably due to the incredibly generous boot size - which is perfect for families on their trips or weekends away.
I put in around 300 km's of driving in this car over the course of the 5 days - some of it stuck in traffic to really test the comfort levels of the car - and for the most part - it passed. The suspension on the car was hard - but adaptive suspension meant that it adjusted quite well to the bumps in the road and doesn't throw passengers around as you go over them. The only complaint I felt is that the seat wasn't ergonomically designed for long driving - after spending about 5 to 6 hours straight in the car - my back did start to get a little sore, which is understandable, but I did expect a little more from the back support of the front seat. The other issue was how the seats automatically moved themselves back to get out of the suns view when parked (appreciated here) but for some reason didn't seem to revert back to the original settings when the car started - meaning I had to spend the first 2 minutes getting back into a comfortable position. Somehow, I don't think Jaguar would mess this up this bad, so I presume I haven't really worked out the seat memory settings well - but it was still an issue that annoyed me.
Passengers in the back said they had no issues with comfort however - which leads me to think the front is the only issue when it comes to comfort, but it's certainly not the worst I've had to deal with. Driving it over the highway from Melbourne to Werribee was also quite pleasant as it glided across the highway - accelerating quickly when it needed to, and the breaking smoothness was quite impressive as well (aka not jerking wildly when breaking).
It's not a small car - that's the first thing to keep in mind. It's definitely family and city focused, with the ability to go off road if you really need to. The one thing that really impressed me was the good turning radius for a car of this size, especially at those tight u-turns and sharp turns - I honestly expected it to be a little more challenging there.
Despite it being a SUV - I also had no issue driving it around the Melbourne CBD and getting it into parking lots - which is where I was worried it would actually struggle. Rather - it was quite the opposite as it was a breeze to do so, and the auto parking features didn't hurt either. Driving through the city in the Jag felt quite comfortable, and I didn't notice any considerable issues there. The aforementioned touch screen on the dash was also one of the better ones I've used in a car - it connected to my phone easily and was very responsive. Using a touch screen also makes things much easier than using a knob to input letters or directions - which leads me to my biggest gripe with the car: The Navigation system. Occasionally, the nav seemed to take me through a slightly longer route in order to get to my destination (completely differently to Google Maps) - and you could tell it would struggle in providing the best route occasionally. Once, when I was trying to get from the CBD to Richmond station, it took me through the underground burnley tunnel - and proudly claimed I was at my destination, even though I was pretty much underground (the train station goes above the tunnel) - it wasn't a pleasant experience using it at times.
Further to that, I previously mentioned the big boot - incredibly practical for packing large suitcases, picnic/camping gear and even your pets if you so choose. My one wish was if they had reduced the boot size a little to have a little more leg space for the back seat passengers - but it's not a big issue either way.
The unfortunate part of the practicality is all the options Jaguar gives customers, and it can be summed up in one word - overwhelming. While Jaguar is extremely generous in the customizability aspect of the car - the sheer number of options could potentially be overwhelming for customers who may not know why they have so many features to choose from - it's something Jaguar really needs to try and simply into packages rather than individual options. Car enthusiasts would be happy with this, but the majority may not - so it's just something worth considering.
The base model starts at around $82,000 - which is a great starting point and well priced. It doesn't however, come with many of the features that I really enjoyed in the Jaguar - the touch screen dash, the openable sunroof, the navigation which projected onto the windscreen, the jaguar logo which projected onto the ground when you turned the car on as so on. I mentioned the number of customizable options there were - and they quickly add up to about $111,000 or higher. That's a around a 35% increase in costs on options, which isn't unusual in itself - but surely those options could be packaged better in the long run.
Aside from that - the car itself has been a remarkable entry into the SUV market by Jaguar and I came away very impressed with the car overall. With the price range, Jaguar has also managed to come below direct competitors from BMW and Mercedes - making it a very attractive option for the Australian family - and an increase in F-Pace sightings has only confirmed this. It's not perfect, but it's a very good option - and it's priced attractively too (even with the additional options). If I were in the market for a SUV below $100k - I'd certainly consider this - but I'd be keen to see what 2018 + 2019 improvements bring as well.
Otherwise - well done Jaguar for the most part!