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Review of the 2017 Jaguar F-Pace: Last but not least

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On: Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 10:59AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Review of the 2017 Jaguar F-Pace:  Last but not least

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past couple decades, it should come as no surprise that SUVs are popular. Very popular. In fact, we would like to declare here and now that the SUV, of some type, is going to be around for a very, very long time, possibly as long as people still use personal vehicles for transportation. People love them and car makers can't seem to make enough of them. Every manufacturer has their hand in the cookie pot, because the profit that stems from these car/trucks make for some damn fine tasting cookies.

When Porsche entered the fray with their first ever SUV, the Cayenne, people lost their minds. Purists raged and protested, owners scorned and mocked, yet here we are a decade later, and the Cayenne has been so successful that Porsche introduced another smaller SUV called the Macan. So, now pan the camera over the the folks at Jaguar. Sitting, watching Porsche, BMW, Mercedes, Audi, and Acura all clean up in the SUV market, while they sit idly by on the sidelines. Well, for 2017, Jaguar has finally decided to jump in and play ball in the SUV arena.

Enter the Jaguar F-Pace. This mid-sized SUV seems to have benefited from essentially being the youngest sibling in the family. It has watched and learned what not to do from its older brothers and sisters, and started out a bit ahead of where they were at their inception. Taking styling cues, as you might imagine, from the F-Type, and chassis components from the XF and XE sedans, this little truck has a sporting edge to it that echoes a bit BMW, Porsche, and Audi, yet still retains its own image in a segment cramped with competition.

There are six different package configurations you can get your new F-Pace in: Base, Premium, Prestige, R-Sport, S, and First Edition. The Base model includes things like eighteen-inch wheels, start/stop technology, traction control, a sliding panoramic roof, and power tailgate. Basic fare for a luxury crossover. The Premium ups the ante with nineteen-inch wheels, a rear-view camera, and auto-dimming and power-folding side mirrors. Opt for the Prestige and you'll get a heated steering wheel, as well as leather heated front seats with four-way power lumbar support, front and reverse parking assist technology, and keyless entry.

The R-Sport ups the wheel size another inch to twenty, adds different front and rear bumpers, as well as other R-Sport-specific body cladding, full LED headlights, lane departure, blind spot, and driver condition monitoring, reverse traffic detection, and an auto-emergency braking feature on top of all of the Prestige options. If that's not enough, move up to the S trim and you'll get things like adaptive dynamics, adaptive road surface response, an S body kit along with all of the R-Sport goodies (minus the R-Sport body kit). Finally, there is the First Edition trim which bumps up the wheel size to twenty-two inches, adds a gesture-operated tailgate, heads-up display, a premium sound system, surround camera system, four-zone climate control, electric and heated rear seats, and even mood lighting. The F-Pace is a classy car, no doubt. It offers up a posh interior that is on par with its older rivals from BMW or Porsche. In fact, the F-Pace's wheelbase falls right between that of the X3 and X5, which is probably not a coincidence.

In terms of power and performance, once again trim selection comes into play. The base engine that sits standard in the first four trim packages is a 2.0-liter diesel DOHC inline-4 cylinder engine that pumps out 180 horsepower and 318 pound-feet of torque. This engine is backed by a very slick-shifting ZF 8-speed automatic that never seems to get caught out of gear. The S and First Edition both get the optional (and serious) 3.0-liter supercharged DOHC V6 that produces a very impressive 340 or 380 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque, backed by the same ZF automatic transmission. That transmission sends power primary to the rear wheels, until the onboard computer tells the transmission to send torque to the front wheels as needed. This setup helps keep weight distribution of the F-Pace's 4,200 pounds at almost a perfect 50/50 split, and, thanks to the mainly rear-wheel drive platform, driving dynamics are wonderfully balanced and sporting.

In terms of acceleration, it should be no surprise that the smaller diesel motor is noticeably slower than its more powerful sibling motor. The diesel runs 0–60 mph in a tolerable 7.8 seconds, while the 380 horsepower engine runs to 60 mph in an X5M challenging 4.9 seconds. 0–100 mph takes 20 full seconds in the diesel and only 11.9 seconds for the V6. Through the quarter mile, the diesel traps 16.0 seconds flat, while the V6 takes only 13.6 seconds. Top speeds are also far apart—129 mph for the smaller engine; 155 mph for the V6. Of course, the diesel makes up some ground when it comes to fuel economy, cranking out a solid 26/31 city/highway mpg while the more powerful V6 is able to muster only 18/23 city/highway. So you can have a performer at the pump, or a performer on the road, it just depends on where your priorities are.

How fast, and how nice you want your F-Pace to be depends on how big of a check you want to write. The Base model starts at $40,990, the Premium starts at $44,200, the Prestige at $48,700, the R-Sport at $53,900, the S at $56,700, and the First Edition at a lofty $69,700. So with a thirty grand differential between the lowest and highest trim levels, there is no shortage of configurations you can create to mold the perfect F-Pace for your taste. So while it has been the last to join the party, the newest SUV crossover from Jaguar may, in its debut, be one of the best right out of the gate.

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