Jaguar’s first SUV has created quite a buzz among the motoring fraternity and rightly so.
It drives and performs well and Jaguar’s reputation has only been burnished further in this bold experiment that looks set to pay off handsomely for its bottom line.
We dare say the F-PACE has the potential to outpace the XE as Jaguar’s key selling model. Time will tell.
The F-PACE looks fast even when standing still and driving it reinforces the impression that this is a performance SUV to be reckoned with.
We sampled the F-PACE with a 375hp supercharged 3.0-litre petrol engine and the 178hp 2.0-litre turbodiesel Ingenium engine. The petrol engine is the same one as used in the F-Type sports car. Both F-PACE variants used an 8-speed automatic transmission with a rear-wheel-biased all-wheel drive system.
We experienced first-hand how it looked inside and out and most importantly its driving dynamics through the narrow but truly drive-worthy roads of Montenegro, a small Eastern European country that is a sea away from Italy and located in a time zone six hours behind Malaysia.
We also spoke to F-PACE programme director Andrew Whyman who shed more light on the SUV with an 80% aluminium body, and who described his 3-1/2-year involvement in the project from concept to reality as akin to a “proud father who’s watching his kid go off to university.”
Jaguar’s first car event in the Balkan country has created a favourable impression among the journos, with many lauding the stunning and rugged landscapes that proved an ideal setting to test out the F-PACE, and its offroad capabilities as well.
Jaguar was jumping into the deep end when it decided to come up with an SUV to tap into the global craze for such vehicle type. Benchmarking itself against the Porsche Macan, it also had to remain Jaguar in character and proportions.
According to a senior executive, Jaguar was slow to capitalise on the SUV market because for the longest time, it wasn't sure if it could build a vehicle of this nature that would inherit the performance DNA that was intrinsically a part of the brand. That period of self-doubt is now over and the result speaks for itself.
The largely positive reception to the latest Jag shows it got off on the right footing. The F-PACE is expected to be available in Malaysia in the last quarter of this year. More on the F-PACE drive will be coming soon in a full report.
Meantime, join us and experience the front-row excitement and listen in to the aural sensation and sights as we dashed through Montenegro last week (see video above).