2017 Jaguar F-Pace first drive review Page 3

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Jaguar F-Pace comfort and safety

Excellent road manners are expected, but SUVs also have to deliver on practicality, even if there’s a leaper on the badge.

The F-Pace holds up the utility end of the bargain with a five-seat cabin good for as many adults. It sits between the XE and XF in size—it’s roughly the same dimensions as an Audi Q5—and has a high driving position for the commanding view of the road that draws drivers to SUVs in the first place.

The F-Pace's riveted-and-glued aluminum body (well, mostly: the F-Pace has a composite tailgate and a magnesium cross-vehicle beam for safety) lines up neatly in the Q5/Macan spectrum. It rides on a 113.1-inch wheelbase, is 186.3 inches long, and sits 65.6 inches high.

Interior space is fine, with an inch to spare at least in all directions, with tall drivers leaving room for tall passengers in back. The F-Pace has very firm and flat seats, with just a bit of lumbar adjustment. Jaguar’s plushly padded past is long gone. The second-row seats are split 40:20:40 and have a power-recline features.

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The cabin can seem more confining than it is. There's no sloping roofline like an X4 or GLC Coupe, but the F-Pace's door panels sit high.

It also makes some fiddly ergonomic choices. The window switches sit high on the door caps, and the lock button is low, where you expect the window controls to be. The strip of switches for driving modes is impossible to find and flick without taking your eyes from the road.

When you need room for more cargo, the second-row seats split and fold three ways, and power-recline for road trips. The power tailgate opens with the wave of a foot, and there’s a reversible cargo panel in case you’re bringing home something very dirty.

When the back seats are in use, the F-Pace has 33.5 cubic feet of cargo space; when they're folded flat, that space increases to 61.4 cubic feet.

For safety, there’s a slew of high-tech features. In addition to the usual airbags and stability control, the F-Pace has a low-speed traction-control system that can launch it more smoothly on ice or slippery surfaces by balancing brake and throttle. 

The F-Pace hasn’t been crash-tested but it can be fitted with forward-collision warnings with automatic braking, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go control, lane-keeping and lane-departure warning systems, a laser-projected head-up display, blind-spot monitors with cross-traffic alerts, and automatic parking assistance, which is made possible by a set of stereo cameras set behind the windshield.

2017 Jaguar F-Pace

2017 Jaguar F-Pace

Enlarge Photo
2017 Jaguar F-Pace

2017 Jaguar F-Pace

Enlarge Photo
2017 Jaguar F-Pace

2017 Jaguar F-Pace

Enlarge Photo
2017 Jaguar F-Pace

2017 Jaguar F-Pace

Enlarge Photo

Jaguar F-Pace features and pricing

It adds up to a right-on-target luxury SUV, but how does the F-Pace do in..stuff? Prices start just under $44,000, and standard gear includes the usual power features, Bluetooth, a USB port, satellite radio, and a touchscreen infotainment system.

Also standard: a version of Jaguar's InControl interface, which uses an 8.0-inch touchscreen to direct control over various entertainment, navigation, and smartphone functions--with voice commands and steering-wheel controls used as other means of input. Navigation itself is an option, with data stored on SD cards.

A more capable system arrives in the form of InControl Touch Pro; it uses a 10.2-inch touchscreen with gesture control, paired with a 60GB solid-state drive to add on pinch-and-zoom controls, full-screen navigation, and a customizable home screen. With available data services, the system can predict fuel levels needed to reach a destination, can find parking spaces, and can show a 360-degree view of the destination when the car approaches for easier navigation.

The Pro interface comes paired with a 17-speaker, 825-watt Meridian sound system, and has screens that capture data on vehicle acceleration and lateral grip. It has companion apps available for both Android and Apple operating systems, and the apps offer their own list of functions, from remote start to emergency services.

Offered in five trim levels--base, Premium, Prestige, R-Sport, and S--the F-Pace carries a base price of $43,385 including destination; the F-Pace S is priced from $57,695. All versions include Jaguar EliteCare, a five-year/60,000-mile limited warranty with free roadside assistance and maintenance for its term.

So what’s the bottom line with the 2017 Jaguar F-Pace? It's a vehicle that puts just as much emphasis on sport as on utility, and in that sense it's the not-poor man's version of the CX-5, an instant rival for the hotter versions of the Macan, X3, and GLC.

It's exactly what Jaguar's resisted for so long, exactly what they needed to do right. And they have.

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