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Jaguar F-Pace: A Sporty Take On Luxury


The facelifted F-Pace is promising to improve on its predecessor’s formula of being a premium SUV with a sporty character. Just how much better is it now?

The F-Pace has always been a handsome kitty. And with the 3.0 V6 diesel it ran like a leopard. However, while the Indian assembly got prices down, it also sacrificed the V6 to make way for 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol and diesel engine options mated to an 8-speed torque converter. While these engines were no sloths, the cabin experience did leave a bit to be desired. With the facelift, Jaguar is fixing just that. The 2020 F-Pace gets a better-appointed cabin, more tech and kit, and a more sporty-looking character. Can these changes make it the all-rounder we were hoping it would be in the first place?

Looks

The F-Pace now looks sharper and meaner. The tall, muscular bonnet and the sloping roofline gives it a sporty character. It is now complemented by sharper-looking LED headlamps with underlining DRLs, a more prominent grille with chrome touches and larger air dams with chrome surrounds. The front looks fresher and more aggressive than before.

The 19-inch wheels with the red Jaguar hub caps compliment this silver shade quite well. Other than that, there is no particular highlight here. Just the sheer size of the SUV with its sloping roofline helps it stand out in the crowd. The sleek and long taillamps intrude in this profile and you’ll find chrome on the window outline to add a bit of class.

At the back, the showstoppers are definitely the taillamps. They are probably the sleekest taillamps you will find on any car, let alone on an SUV of this size. The tail design is clean and the bumper sports a gloss back panel to break the mass. Overall, the F-Pace stands out well in a crowd of SUVs with a large size and sporty silhouette. The sleek elements like the taillamps and headlamps help it feel even bigger than it is. It definitely commands attention on the road.

Interiors

The interiors of the older F-Pace did feel a bit plain. Especially when it came to the wow factor, they did leave you wanting more. That, however, is not an issue now. In fact, Jaguar has now overhauled the interior and it feels properly premium and modern. Especially the red theme in the test car adds a bit of sporty flavour as well. The silver finish under the AC vents helps the cabin feel upmarket and without a doubt, the quality and texture of leather is premium.

The new design is dominated by a wide centre console on top of which is an 11.4-inch floating touchscreen. The digital display for the climate control under the touchscreen in the dials looks modern and you can change them to the fan speed controls by pressing them once. However, you need to pull the dial in order to get the temperature back, which feels unnatural. A simple second click would have made life easier. The gear knob is wrapped in suede and feels nice to the touch. All controls feel tactile and the cabin feels worthy of the price tag. The seats are comfortable and the steering wheel, with the Jaguar logo, feels nice to hold.

Now let’s talk features. The F-Pace gets pretty much everything you’d expect in a driver-focused luxury SUV. You get 12-way power-adjustable seats with memory, a 4-zone climate control, 360-degree camera, wireless charger, panoramic sunroof, digital instrument cluster, a powered tailgate and a lot more. Ventilated seats and perhaps a massage function would have really helped this feature list stand out. The highlight here is still the large touchscreen which has a display as good as most modern-day smartphones.

The new Pivi Pro interface does make life simpler. The home screen packs three large tiles which look quite attractive. It’s fluid, easy to use and has a very friendly interface. Plus, you can pair it up with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as well. It packs navigation, vehicle information and a lot more. Jaguar has paid special attention to reducing steps in navigating menus and it really helps, especially while driving, to use this interface.

The 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster also uses its real estate smartly. You can have the speedometer in the middle, vehicle and trip information on the left and the navigation on the right. All of these sections can be customized to give you the required information.

At the back, the luxury factor continues with all the touchpoints being either leather-wrapped or finished well. Space for the rear passengers is good with lots of knee and legroom on offer. Headroom too is ample for 6 footers but any taller and your hair will start to touch the roof. And while the seat backrest angle feels a bit upright, it doesn't feel uncomfortable. Jaguar is also offering a relatively flat rear bench so you can seat a third person in the middle, who will have an adjustable headrest and a 3-point seatbelt. The rear passengers also have two zones of climate control, AC vents and cupholders in the armrest. So no discrimination here as compared to the first row passengers.

Boot Space

With 613L of boot space, the F-Pace will hold the entire luggage of the weekend trip without any hassle. Furthermore, you can fold the rear seats flat to open up a bed’s worth of space.

Engine and performance

The big cat now comes with two engine options: a 2.0L diesel and a 2.0L turbocharged petrol which we tested. The petrol we are driving makes 184PS of power and 365Nm of torque and comes mated to an 8-speed torque converter.

The biggest highlight of this engine has to be its power delivery - instant and energetic. In the Dynamic drive mode, the F-Pace charges ahead with purpose when you decide to get on the power and the downshifts do not disappoint. It climbs through the revs quickly and effortlessly and gets you to triple-digit speeds in no time. In our test, the F-Pace clocked an 8.28s time to 100kmph, which is respectable for such a large SUV. Also, with its incredible cabin insulation, the F-Pace masks its speed very well. You could be doing 150kmph thinking you are close to 100kmph. It can munch miles all day without breaking a sweat.

However, inside the city, there is one issue. There is a bit of lag between the throttle input and the power delivery. The F-Pace takes some time to react when you get back on the power after a speed breaker or letting traffic pass. And when the power finally comes, it comes with a surge which makes driving smoothly a task. Your passengers will think you are too eager with the throttle while you are just trying to be as careful as possible. Changing the drive mode to Eco helps make the power delivery smoother, but the lag is still there.

Apart from this, even the city duties are dealt with ease. Once on power, throttle modulation is easy to control and you can go for gaps and overtakes with ease. The 20-80kmph time of the F-Pace is 5.43s which is quite impressive.

Ride and handling

The F-Pace is a sporty SUV with an emphasis on its performance and handling. And while that is no reason to put comfort in the back seat, the F-Pace does. The suspension setup of the F-Pace is on the stiffer side and feels jittery in the city. At low speeds, you feel a lot of the road surface and the bumps and potholes induce a lot of side to side movement as well. But, the ride does start to flatten out as you start going faster and the suspension starts to absolve these undulations better. This ride works best on the highway when you are doing close to triple-digit speeds.

What also impresses is the handling. The F-Pace has a quick steering which makes the car feel lively in corners. And because the front changes direction sharply, the F-Pace can be really fun to take on a hill station road trip. The balance feels good and the body roll is kept well under control as well. The AWD system helps the grip, as do the large contact patch from the tyres. Overall, while the F-Pace can be a handful in the city with broken roads, it will be enjoyable out on the open highways.

Price and variants

The F-Pace is now only available in one variant, the R-Dynamic S. And for both the petrol and diesel powertrain, you spend Rs 70 lakh, ex-showroom.

Verdict

In this update, the F-Pace has taken a stride in the right direction. It now looks better, feels a lot more premium on the inside and gets enough tech to stand up against the competition. Anyone buying an F-Pace will not feel left out when it comes to the experience of owning an expensive luxury SUV. Plus, the exciting drive and the potent handling will surely be appreciated by the enthusiast drivers among us.

If only Jaguar could get the ride more comfortable for the city, and dial the throttle delay down, the F-Pace would have been an excellent all-rounder - a comfortable car for the full family and equally entertaining for the driver. But with this limitation, the F-Pace is more suited on the open highways, munching miles without hassle. If that is your primary demand from a luxury SUV, the F-Pace surely is a front runner in the segment.

Jaguar F-Pace
4.1
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Rs. 74.86 Lakh
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