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2017 Jaguar F-Pace 35t R-Sport AWD: Oakville Drives

The best SUV to hit the pavement

2017 Jaguar F-Pace
2017 Jaguar F-Pace 35t R-Sport AWD: Oakville Drives
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About the Author

R. G. Beltzner

R. G. Beltzner

A long time automobile enthusiast, and competitive race driver, Rainer Beltzner provides performance driving and racing instruction for Porsche, BMW, and Ferrari owners and clubs. He's been doing this for over 25 years. Often, Rainer is found driving/teaching on one of the Canadian Tire Motorsport, Shannonville or Watkins Glen tracks. During the “off-season”, Rainer spends his spare time driving and evaluating a broad range of vehicles. Follow Rainer on Twitter @redy2rol.

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In the competitive field of luxury crossover SUV’s, Jaguar has hit a home run with its first attempt. Why has the 2017 Jaguar F-Pace succeeded so well when others have come up short? Simply put, the right styling, the right level of luxury and comfort for both driver and passengers and, the right driving performance features to make it an exciting and desirable vehicle.

Just the right size

One of the challenges with crossovers and SUVs is finding a good match of exterior as well as interior size to the needs of the customer. Manufacturers have too often focused on creating a sporty style with rooflines that significantly reduce the rear headroom as well as legroom for all but the smallest of passenger. On the other end of the size continuum, there seems to be a fixation in creating a gargantuan bus-like monster built to impress or intimidate. The Jaguar F-Pace exterior and interior design has resulted in a perfect size without sacrificing any sporty or luxury qualities.

A great looking exterior

Jaguar Land Rover uses a modular platform for its XE and current XF sedans and this is now used for the F-Pace. A double wishbone front suspension and a newly designed multi-link rear suspension combined with a stiff body results in a vehicle that not only handles well, but also provides a comfortable ride. Much of the body structure is aluminum, reducing vehicle weight.

The overall exterior look of the 2017 Jaguar F-Pace is in my view, the best of any of the competitors. The F-Pace ground clearance is high (8.4”) compared to its competitors, but the body width is also wider resulting in a well-balanced look. My test vehicle was the well-equipped R-Sport with unique fender vents and 8.5×20” 5-spoke silver finish wheels all wrapped in their “glacier white” metallic paint. The front grill is the typical Jaguar style with a black mesh insert sporting the Jaguar badge. Front headlights are set deep into the corners of the vehicle’s front hood above the massive black intakes. The rear window of the vehicle has an overhang at the roofline not dissimilar to that of other SUVs. Rear taillights are sleek and sharply pointed providing a consistent look to the front headlights.

A comfortable and stylish interior

My test F-Pace came equipped with 14×14 way sport front seats (leather of course) that both my passenger and I rated as very comfortable and high, providing excellent visibility both front and rear. The “comfort and convenience package” ($1,950) included on my test F-Pace adds cooling to the otherwise heated front seats, heated and electronically reclining rear seats, trunk based rear seat release levers and a gesture tailgate. To further add to the interior luxury, my vehicle included the optional “luxury interior” ($2,150 – a little high I think) with a lockable and cooled glove compartment, 4-zone climate control, ambient lighting including illuminated sill with Jaguar letters and of course, premium carpet mats.

Most of the controls of interest to the driver or passenger are well designed and located. However, there are a number of mildly annoying exceptions that hopefully, Jaguar will correct in the future. The center console rotary shift dial consumes too much real estate that could be better used for iPhone placement or other storage. A single USB port is inconveniently located in the centre console storage  for the driver and passenger to use is not realistic. A volume control knob sits to the far right of the lower console and could be better placed. The window switches sit too high and too far forward, making for a less than easy and occasionally confusing use. Finally, it’s time to reconsider the location and design of the controls for the driver’s information display that is presently located in the tip of the turn signal.

2017 Jaguar F-Pace

Despite these shortcomings, the F-Pace interior is extremely nice and gives users the feeling of spaciousness and luxury.

To respond to the water sport enthusiast, Jaguar provides an optional “activity key” ($400) that is a waterproof wrist band “fob” allowing you to store your key fob in the car, lock it and enjoy your water sport activity. We all need one of these even if we don’t go in the water.

A great ride

The 2017 Jaguar F-Pace is available in several configurations from a basic model through to the sportier luxury R-Sport and beyond. My test R-Sport included the 3.0L V6 supercharged engine with 340hp matched with an 8-speed automatic transmission and all wheel drive. There are other engine options including a 4-cylinder turbocharged gas or diesel. My vote would go for the 3.0L V6 as the right engine to opt for if you are looking at an F-Pace. It can also tow just under 6,000lb and that is considerably higher than any of its rivals.

Driving the F-Pace with the supercharged V6 can be both exhilarating and comfortable. Step on the gas and a proper growl emits from the exhaust as you move smoothly through the 8 gears. Lots of power and an immediate response when you need it – to quickly pass another vehicle. Despite the positive, I still don’t like the short early gears that create too much transmission busyness as you move from a stopped position. My personal preference would be for a 6-speed transmission but the current 8-speed is otherwise excellent.

Driving this F-Pace at speed and through twisty roads is simply put, a lot of fun. The suspension is firm, steering response quick and with good feedback. On the other hand, the F-Pace also drives very well and comfortably over long stretches or in heavy traffic situations. One of the best features of this vehicle is the excellent visibility available to the driver as a result of the high seating and vehicle body design. The F-Pace brakes can use some improvement to make them firmer and more responsive.

Like many comparable vehicles today, the 2017 Jaguar F-Pace comes equipped as standard equipment with many of the driver aids and safety features. My F-Pace came equipped with an optional “driver assist” package ($3,100) that included adaptive cruise control, emergency brake assist, park assist, 360 degree park distance control and 4 camera views.

Things to consider

2017 Jaguar F-Pace is clearly one of the best-looking, comfortable and best-designed sporty mid-sized luxury crossover vehicles in the market today. My wife and I both really enjoyed this F-Pace for its ease of entry/exit, great visibility, interior space and ride comfort. The price is a bit high especially when you get into the upper end models as a result of the optional packages that are for the most part, useful additions. The base price of 2017 Jaguar F-Pace is $64,900 and the car as tested came in at $75,500. If I was in the market for another vehicle, this is definitely one to consider!

For more automotive reviews and insights, follow me on Twitter @redy2rol.

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