Although there have been associations with each marque since the late 60s, the Jaguar Land Rover name is a relatively recent thing, officially formed under the Tata Motors group in 2008, it took another five years for Jaguar Land Rover Automotive PLC name to come to the fore.
Explaining the company history is key to the story, because the Jaguar F-PACE is the first Jaguar car that has borrowed some of the Land Rover DNA to create something that Top Gear magazine has described as “practical and pretty, arguably the best car that Jaguar makes”. That’s no easy feat.
Keeping with the ‘best ever’ theme, it’s also been said that the interior is the finest interior ever produced by Jaguar, and for those of you that know your Jaguars … that’s just incredible.
The F-PACE isn’t intending on going after the ‘Best 4X4XFar’ crown, after all, Land Rover have had that market sewn up for as long as memory serves, but that isn’t to say that the F-PACE is incapable of getting its feet dirty, in fact the ground clearance is exactly the same as the Discovery Sport (213mm) and the wading depth is 525mm – a little short of the Disco, but this is a luxury performance SUV, not a high-end load lugger.
With that said, of course off-road ability isn’t its strongest point (but you already know that the sister brand is where that’s at), but that isn’t why you’d buy an F-PACE. The big Jag SUV is all about dramatic beauty, tighter body control and dynamic ride, but we should clarify – don’t confuse that with ‘sporty’, aka, harsh riding, ill mannered and leaving you needing a trip to the dentist after a ripple in the road.
Even with the optional 22-inch wheels, and the 550PS (543 horsepower) 5.0 litre V8 fitted, the ride is firm but compliant, giving you the ability to make progress where appropriate, without feeling you should be strapped in with a 5-point racing harness. The hushed cabin is just further indication that this is all Jaguar.
Whilst the V8 is great fun (who doesn’t love a V8?), it doesn’t make for the most economical of motoring, but JLR have that covered also; there are six engine choices in total – a 2.0 diesel four-cylinder with 163, 180 or 240PS, the 2.0 litre petrol engine with 250PS, a V6 3.0 litre diesel (300PS) and the aforementioned 5.0 V8.
Stepping inside the F-PACE is where it really gets … Jaguar-y?
Jaguar vehicles have always been known for their interiors, they should be a place of refined luxury with a twist of usability. ‘Practical’ makes it sound too perfunctory – a Land Rover Defender has a practical interior, and while the F-PACE is certainly practical, it brings a certain style with it – think of it as the Laguiole version of a Swiss Army knife; beautifully crafted with an unmistakable air of quality, still able to do everything that you need.
Borrowing elements and styling cues from the XF and XE, you’ll instantly recognise the interior as all Jaguar, but this isn’t a recycled version from the parts store that you may have once found (or expected) from the Jaguar of old, this is all new, bespoke to the F-PACE.
Grained leather seats are standard, although as you move through the model range, you’ll find a range of options such as the lozenge patterned, perforated Windsor leather, and much of the interior is customisable; different coloured headliner, a choice of leather colours and even different trim finishers.
We should also mention that you can comfortably seat three adults in the second-row of seating, and we do mean comfortably (they can even have reclining seats if that’s your wont). With the rear seats folded flat, there’s an impressive 1,740 litres of space, but with them upright, there is still 650 litres of usable space – the boot space hasn’t been compromised by the desire to make the rear-seat passengers comfortable.
Living up to the accolade of the best Jaguar ever is difficult, but it seems that it’s a widely accepted thought, and who are we to argue?
If you’d like to find out just why motoring experts and industry critics are raving over the F-PACE, we would of course be happy to show you. We genuinely think that they’re right, but don’t take our word for it – come in and see it for yourself.