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, aided by a clever noise cancelling system.
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 perfectly, switching seamlessly between its eight gears, so you're unlikely to miss a manual.
Even with a massive 542bhp in SVR guise, the F-Pace feels reassuring in corners, with excellent traction from its four-wheel drive system. Upgraded suspension, huge brakes, a burbling exhaust sound and revisions 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 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.
Jaguar F-Pace diesel engines
The 2.0-litre diesel engines aren’t brimming with power, but 161 or 201bhp will be easily sufficient for most drivers. The entry-level 161bhp model does feel a tad slow with its 0-62mph time of 9.9 seconds and considering it uses the same amount of fuel, the more powerful version is a better bet. Its 0-62mph time of eight seconds 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.
At around £9,000 more than a 2.0-litre diesel F-Pace in entry-level S trim, the 3.0-litre diesel engine is a hefty upgrade. 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 7.3 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.
New for the facelifted F-Pace, there's also a 3.0-litre straight-six P400 with mild-hybrid assistance. The hybrid badge is best taken with a pinch of salt - this is hardly the best choice for company-car drivers - but there's no denying the P400 is fun. With 395bhp and a cultured growl under acceleration, the P400 gives the F-Pace a sporting edge that could tempt some drivers away from the hardcore SVR.
If you're looking for absolute performance, the F-Pace SVR is your top choice. A facelift in early 2021 saw the introduction of several minor chassis and drivetrain tweaks. The 5.0-litre supercharged V8 petrol engine produces 542bhp, making it capable of 0-62mph in four seconds and a top speed of 178mph.
While the SVR’s engine emits an evocative exhaust note in dynamic mode, it is smooth and quiet during more gentle cruising with respectable refinement thanks to a revised suspension setup. On faster roads, it feels quick and accurate, with an improved responsiveness to driver inputs and excellent steering. The eight-speed auto gearbox and differentials are faster and smoother too, further adding to the SVR’s composed feel when cornering. It costs around £20,000 more to buy than the 3.0-litre diesel S model, however, and its official fuel-economy figure of 23.2mpg takes very careful driving to achieve.
Jaguar is rolling out plug-in hybrid powertrains in a bid to electrify its model range and the resulting P400e could be the pick of the F-Pace line-up. It combines a 2.0-litre petrol engine and an electric motor to offer a combined 399bhp and its 5.3-second 0-62mph is a tenth faster than the P400 can manage.
In EV mode, the electric motor is just powerful enough to get the two-tonne SUV up to speed in town but on faster roads it's best to leave it in hybrid mode. Do so, and the combined pulling power of the petrol engine and electric motor gives the F-Pace a more impressive turn of speed. We remain unconvinced by the artificial V8 soundtrack pumped through the speakers in Dynamic mode.