Jaguar F-Pace SUV - Engines, drive & performance
The Jaguar F-Pace is a great car to drive and the 2.0-litre diesel engine will be powerful enough for most
The Jaguar F-Pace is a thoroughly involving and rewarding car to drive. Its steering is accurate and inspires confidence, responding intuitively to your inputs. The development work Jaguar has performed on the F-Pace’s suspension has clearly paid off, as potholes and poor road surfaces are nicely smoothed out. It’s worth noting that the optional 22-inch alloy wheels can cause the worst road surfaces to send shudders through the car. Road noise is still minimal, though, even with big wheels fitted.
In corners, the F-Pace displays relatively little body lean, and it’s easy to forget you’re driving a big SUV on a twisty back road. The automatic gearbox suits the F-Pace better than the manual, switching seamlessly between its eight gears.
Even with a massive 542bhp in SVR guise, the F-Pace feels reassuring in corners, with excellent traction from its four-wheel drive system. Enhanced suspension, huge brakes and adjustments to the accelerator and gearbox all make the fastest F-Pace feel more responsive to the driver's inputs, without completely ruining its laid-back SUV character. It feels less highly strung than the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio but still has the best-sounding engine thanks to the combination of V8 engine and supercharger.
The 2.0-litre diesel engines aren’t brimming with power, but 161 or 178bhp will be easily sufficient for most drivers. The entry-level 161bhp model does feel a tad slow with its 0-62mph time of 10.2 seconds and unless you're really looking for economy, the more powerful version seems like a better bet. Its 0-62mph time of 8.6 seconds (which increases to 9.0 with four-wheel drive) is respectable rather than blisteringly quick, but the F-Pace never feels underpowered. Selecting S mode on the automatic gearbox makes the driving experience a bit more involving – even if the engine becomes a little noisy when you’re accelerating hard. There's also a 237bhp engine in the 25d model, which offers up an impressive 7.2-second 0-62mph time.
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At around £16,000 more than a 2.0-litre diesel F-Pace in entry-level Prestige trim, the 3.0-litre diesel engine costs a lot. But If you’re happy with its higher list price, it’s well worth considering. A 0-62mph time of just 6.4 seconds is seriously quick and this engine doesn’t need to be worked as hard as the 2.0-litre, making the driving experience all the more relaxed. It's very smooth and combines well with the slick and responsive eight-speed automatic gearbox.
With a 0-62mph time of 7.0 seconds paired with 30mpg economy, it's tricky to recommend the 247bhp petrol F-Pace, as it's run close on performance by the two most powerful diesels and they'll use less fuel. Having said that, this engine is marginally cheaper to buy, almost silent on the motorway, and gives the F-Pace an enthusiastic and willing edge – even if it's a little noisy when being revved hard. There’s also a more powerful 297bhp version, badged 30t, which is hardly any thirstier, yet knocks almost a second off the 0-62mph time.
If you're looking for absolute performance, the F-Pace SVR is your top choice. It's powered by a 5.0-litre supercharged V8 petrol engine, giving it sports-car performance and an evocative exhaust note, while being smooth and quiet during more gentle cruising. It costs £20,000 more to buy than the 3.0-litre diesel S model, however, and its official fuel-economy figure of 22.6mpg takes careful driving to achieve. If you can afford its prodigious running costs, the ferocity of its acceleration is hard to believe, and the SVR is more powerful than a Porsche Cayenne Turbo - which costs around £25,000 more.
The four-wheel-drive system only comes into play if it senses extra grip is needed, meaning that even with this option fitted, the F-Pace behaves like a rear-wheel-drive car by default – although 100% of the engine’s power can be sent to the front wheels if needed. It feels like a bigger car than the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S but that's easily forgotten when it fires out of a corner and down the next straight.
While a Range Rover or Land Rover Discovery Sport will ultimately be able to tackle rougher terrain, the F-Pace is more than capable of venturing off-road. There are a variety of electronic gadgets to help you keep control, beginning with the standard Drive Control system that allows you to choose between Rain, Ice and Snow settings. There’s also the optional (and more complex) Adaptive Surface Response system, which detects surface conditions automatically and adjust the car's settings accordingly.