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Test Drive: Jaguar revamps its popular F-Pace SUV for a digital generation

It's absurdly good looking and drives great. But there is one thing that holds it back.

I tend to become irrationally annoyed when sports utility vehicles (SUVs) are challenged in the boot area. It stems from my belief that they are designed for adventure and should therefore be equipped to tackle everything that life throws at it.

This thought popped into my head when I was pondering the opened trunk of the new Jaguar F-Pace SUV as I figured out the best way to fit in a fully loaded golf bag with its top sticking out, no matter how I positioned it.

Don’t get me wrong. The Jaguar F-Pace is excellent, inside and out. The interior has all the luxurious trappings, including an 11.4-inch infotainment display that I dare say might be the best in its class. Since most of us are so used to a smartphone, Jaguar figured it should bring the same interface to your car. Similar to widgets, the Pivi Pro home screen shows your three favourite applications, while everything else can be accessed within two taps on the display.

(Related: Audi’s Grandsphere concept gives a glimpse into the luxurious future of autonomous vehicles)

The designers have also streamlined everything on the centre console by having the rotary dials do double duty – controlling temperature and fan speed. Many automakers can learn from this minimalist design masterclass.

Jaguar even provides an electronic wristband that it calls an activity key. It locks and unlocks the car for you, making it extremely useful for when you want to go for a run or bike ride and prefer not to be weighed down by your car keys. Everything else, from the plush leather seats to the well-appointed dashboard, is fantastic. You would expect nothing less from a Jaguar.

(Related: Lamborghini celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Countach with a limited edition hybrid version)

The driving matches its looks. While not as pacy as its SVR cousin, the F-Pace more than holds its own, thanks to its 2.0-litre turbocharged engine that propels it to a top speed of 217kph. Unfortunately, there is a minimal but noticeable turbo lag when you first punch the accelerator.

But all is forgiven once you push the SUV to its athletic limits; its firm suspension belies its dynamic driving ability. The car also has surprising agility around the corners despite its imposing size. It weighs a hefty 1,800kg. The gear shifts are smooth, and it responds to all your steering inputs with minimal fuss and maximal accuracy.


  • JAGUAR F-PACE

    ENGINE: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder in-line turbocharged
    HORSEPOWER: 184kW (247 bhp) / 5500 rpm
    TORQUE: 365 Nm / 4000 rpm
    0-100 KPH: 6.6sec
    TOP SPEED: 217kph

It was fast becoming my favourite SUV after two days of driving, but the boot let me down. Of course, it’s a minor quibble because you can easily knock down the back seats to create more space. But I had such absurdly high expectations of the Jaguar F-Pace after enjoying the interior and exterior and taking it for a drive. Still, if you are hankering for an athletic petrol-powered SUV, give the Jaguar F-Pace a whirl.

(Related: For the first time in 32 years, the Mercedes-AMG SL roadster will be a 2 + 2 seater)