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Review: Jaguar F-Pace 3.0 diesel can finally go wild

For decades Jaguar built a range of luxury and performance cars that you could never transport a Jaguar in, or venture to where Jaguars lived – in the wild. Enter the F-Pace.

The Coventry cat was that typically British automotive institution, with a history steeped in Le Mans legend and luxury cars – like Bentley, Rolls-Royce and Aston Martin. It also nearly went bankrupt a great many times over the decades because it was too committed to tradition, and couldn’t foresee a future of evolving product demand from new markets.

These new markets – places such as Brazil, Russia, India, China, Mzansi – actually have large cats and wild terrain, unlike the United Kingdom. Logically, Jaguar had to relent and F-Pace happened. Renowned for its portfolio of pretty cars (X-Type estate notwithstanding), F-Pace hasn’t diminished the legacy of Jaguar’s E-Type aesthetic heritage.

People who speak annoyingly enunciated English, wear tweed jackets and have hyphenated surnames might not take lightly to the presence of F-Pace, but they’re the reason Jaguar nearly died in 2008. The future is now and its reality is that without an SUV, Jaguar cannot subside the development of gorgeous sportscars.

F-Pace’s design sacrifices elegance for presence, but there are clever details. The F-Type taillights transition amazingly well from sportscar to SUV and then there’s a wristband, similar in appearance to the kind you use to gain entry to the awfulness of a Justin Bieber concert.

Premium car companies have a storied history of joint ventures with expensive watch brands, but F-Pace’s smart wristband is a lot cleverer than any timepiece, especially if you are an outdoor sportsperson – which Jaguar supposes most of its SUV customer will be.

I can’t think of many F-Pace customers who will use the wristband for its purpose, but as someone who surfs, it’s the best activity key solution ever. Waterproof up to 20m, it solves the issue of having a smart key that can go with you into water. Fasten it to your wrist, close the car, touch the band to that ‘J’ of F-Pace’s tailgate badging, and it locks. Genius. No more moisture ruined or lost keys.

The 30d also drives in the manner becoming of a Jaguar: an impeccably smooth turbodiesel V6, converting 50ppm to 700Nm’s worth of alarming propulsion. With torque vectoring F-Pace also feels a lot more agile loading into corners than a 1.9t Jaguar with 213mm of ground clearance should. Then there is what F-Pace can do, that all previous Jaguars could not: gravel travel. Properly.

That said, gravel travel ability does paradoxically come at a cost to assumed SUV practicality. Our test car had a full-sized spare wheel, which requires a complete reconfiguration of the loadbay floor, as that hoop is 225/55/19 in size. Worth sacrificing F-Pace’s 650 available litres of cargo space down to 463? Well, it might make that pet Jaguar a bit tighter of a fit to get in the back, but at least you’ll be confident in venturing to places it enjoys hunting, knowing that you have a proper fifth wheel to rely on, instead of a disastrously inadequate space-saver.

SPECIFICATION

  • R1 059 700
  • 2993cc 6-cyl, turbodiesel, AWD, 221kW, 700Nm
  • 6.0l/100km, 159g/km
  • 0-100km/h 6.2secs, 241km/h
  • 1884kg

 

 

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