First revealed to the world at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show and officially on sale the following year, the F-Pace was a late entry to the premium SUV segment. The British carmaker faced a steep gradient to coax buyers away from established brands like Audi, BMW, Mercedes- Benz, Lexus and Porsche. We road test the updated best-seller in F-Pace D200 guise…
Internally, the company knew it couldn’t (and shouldn’t) step on the toes of Land Rover and to their credit, the F-Pace and Range Rover Velar – despite being built on the same platform – feel markedly different as a result.
Jaguar did, however, have a trick up its sleeve. Ian Callum, the man responsible for designing the Aston Martin Vanquish and DB9 as well as Jaguar’s XF and F-Type, penned the F-Pace. Its striking layout is headlined by a massive grille and imposing presence. The Scottish-born designer said, “Jaguars should be perceived as cool cars and cool cars attract interesting, edgy people.” South African actor Sharlto Copley, of District 9 fame, was an ambassador of the F-Pace at its local launch … pretty apt then.
In 2017 alone, its first full year on sale, Jaguar sold 76 350 units worldwide. Not even the flagship XJ sedan, F-Type sportscar, XF and E-Pace sales combined could challenge that lofty number. Before the COVID-19 pandemic affected demand and supply, the F-Pace was easily Jaguar’s most prized feline boasting 48 484 units sold, pipping the smaller and more affordable E-Pace by around 6 000 units.
Half a decade after its launch, the model we have on test has undergone several improvements, including the fitment of a frugal turbodiesel engine and an updated interior and infotainment system. Aesthetically, you will notice a more pronounced bonnet and a strengthened power bulge. The tweaks are so distinct, in fact, that some team members mistook the R-Dynamic HSE model for a range-topping V8 SVR.
A clear giveaway of the new model is sleeker, narrow LED headlamps divided into four sections. Subjectively, the F-Pace has never had a problem with attracting attention; Callum’s original design is enhanced with larger air intakes in a darker hue and a wider grille with “diamond” detailing has been added. Moving to the rear, the F-Pace has adopted the same taillamp shape as found on the I-Pace. A subtly reshaped rear bumper and tailgate provide enough of a change to add appeal. The Fuji White paint contrasted with the black 20-inch wheels and roof rails, while dark badging and side vents add a layer of brawn. Overall, the changes nailed the Callum brief.
Once inside, the materials and touchscreens are a massive step up from the pre-facelift model … but more on that later. From the helm, the leather sports seats have been widened and offer 16-way electric adjustment and even in its lowest setting, present a commanding driving position. It also has a massage function with cooling and heating functionality accessed via the rotary climate control (four-zone) dials on the instrument panel. The combination of new materials, aluminium trim and black suede headlining makes for a top-class cabin. There are some lovely details such as a set of “Est.1935 Jaguar Coventry” upholstery tags to highlight the brand’s heritage and an embossed logo on each headrest.
Ultimately, the materials have an air of quality and elevate the F-Pace D200’s experience. High- definition and curved screens are the order of the day in the new Jag. The carmaker has rummaged in the JLR technology room and the F-Pace now has an 11,4-inch touchscreen with a smart customisable home page. Commands of the Pivi Pro systems are dealt with quickly and the resolution and clarity are impressive. It uses an external power source, ensuring hardly any delay when switching the ignition on. Wireless mobile phone charging is also available. A nifty addition is that the infotainment system automatically updates in Wi-Fi range, eradicating the need to visit the dealer to update maps and other new features. A 3D camera system eases the anxiety of parking or manoeuvring the 4 747 mm long and 1 936 mm wide SUV in close quarters.
On the topic of movement, this F-Pace D200 has a 2,0-litre turbodiesel that’s good for 150 kW and 430 N.m of torque. A quick note on the fuel consumption. We averaged 7,30 L/100 km on our fuel route for a theoretical range of 847 litres based on the 60-litre fuel tank capacity. That figure is impressive for a large premium SUV of its ilk but is some way off the claimed 5,90 L/100 km. Against our stopwatch, the Brit recorded a zero to 100 km/h time of 8,20 seconds. The ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic gearbox swaps cogs with a crispness that belies the 1 962 kg SUV, and springs off the line with a good amount of surefootedness from its all-wheel-drive system. There is excellent response from the engine in Dynamic mode, mainly down to maximum torque being available from 1 750 r/min. Coupled with the slick shifts, this translated into impressive in-gear acceleration figures; 80 km/h to 100 km/h was recorded in just 2,93 seconds and 100 km/h to
120 km/h dispatched in a handy 3,81 seconds. The F-Pace D200 returned a “good” rating from our brake test. Over an average of 10 stops, the stopping distance was recorded at 41,49 m and a time of 3,19 seconds, with a consistent feel to the brake pedal.
In upscaling the interior, Jaguar hasn’t dialled out any of the sportiness and accuracy from the F-Pace’s driving. The perfect driving position is instant with good side bolstering to keep you in place during cornering. Feedback from the steering remains accurate with a flowing, progressive feel. Yes, there is some body roll owing to its 213 mm ground clearance, but nothing to spoil the fun. For the most part, the suspension deals with most road surfaces without a fuss and offers a cosseting ride.
Overall, the enhancements to the R-Dynamic exterior and particularly inside have added yet more appeal to the F-Pace. It’s now smarter and safer than before with a good number of standard features in range-topping HSE trim, too. A strong point is the refined, powerful yet frugal turbodiesel engine in this F-Pace D200 model. This big cat promises to be a big attraction in the premium SUV arena where badge prestige is key.
Model: Jaguar F-Pace D200 AWD R-Dynamic HSE
Price: R1 283 218
0-100 km/h: 8,20 seconds
Top speed: 210 km/h
Power: 150 kW @ 4250 r/min
Torque: 430 N.m @ 1 750-2 500 r/min
CAR fuel index: 7,08 L/100 km
Luggage capacity: 304/1024 L
Service/maintenance plan: M5/100 000 km