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New Jaguar F-Pace SUV gives its rivals the wobbles

New Jaguar F-Pace SUV gives its rivals the wobbles

It’s Jaguar’s first-ever SUV. But is this a realistic rival to the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and the Porsche Macan? Well yes.

This latest challenger in the SUV marketplace is not only larger than these three close competitors, it’s also a whopper in the luxury stakes, too.

It's been a long time coming. We’ve had two years of teasers and prototypes, and now finally the full specification has been revealed ahead of its official launch in April 2016.

Those attending the preview at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show can’t have failed to be impressed by the F-Pace’s sharp design which owes much of its styling cues to its sibling models.

One look at its nose and you could be looking at the Jaguar XE or the Jaguar XF saloons. A glance towards the rear light clusters and you might be forgiven for thinking it’s a Jaguar F-type sports car.

But overall, the new kid on the block most closely resembles the Jaguar XE in terms of its mechanical underpinnings.

When it comes to design, the F-Pace has certainly been on a journey. It first emerged back in 2013 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, where it went down a storm.

Jaguar design director Ian Callum said: "We received such an overwhelmingly positive response to the C-X17 concept car that we just had to make it a reality. We had a few attempts at it. In the end I said to the team, ‘let's look at the F-Type, which we all know and love, and put a lot of the F-Type feel into this car’. The most important thing for me was that this was a Jaguar shaped like a crossover, it wasn’t a crossover pushed into the shape of a Jag.”

The Jaguar F-Pace shares much with the Jaguar XE saloon including its engine range with buyers free to choose between three engines initially, including a 296bhp 3.0-litre diesel, a range-topping 375bhp supercharged V6 petro and a 178bhp 2.0-litre diesel which, whilst the least powerful, promises the best fuel economy. In rear-wheel-drive form with a manual gearbox it's capable of 57.7mpg with CO2 emissions of 129 grams per kilometre.

The larger, more powerful diesel will return 47.1mpg, while the sporty petrol manages 31.7mpg and 209g/km of CO2. The 178bhp diesel does a reasonable 0-62mph in 8.9 seconds, with the 3.0-litre diesel managing it in 6.2 seconds and the V6 petrol taking just 5.5 seconds.

Like the XE saloon, the F-Pace is constructed using significant amounts of aluminium to make it lighter, which obviously makes it more efficient when it comes to performance. In fact, it’s being billed as a ‘five-seat performance crossover,’ so drivers can expect sporty handling in spite of its practical, SUV-like appearance.

Keen not to step on the toes of sister brand Land Rover, Jaguar are targeting a niche audience with the F-Pace, one focused more on road handling rather than those taking on the challenges of muddy tracks and rocky trails.

The F-Pace will be offered with four-wheel drive in all but entry-level form, whilst the 2.0-litre diesel will be the only rear-wheel-drive version and the only one available with a six-speed manual gearbox. The flagship diesel and sporty petrol are four-wheel drive cars fitted with Jaguar's eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox.

According to Jaguar, the new F-Pace is designed to be the “most rewarding driver's car of its kind”.

Chief engineer Mike Cross said: “We’ve tested ride and handling to extremes in all environments and in all conditions, and the result is that the new F-Pace is as engaging and rewarding to drive as it is going to be enjoyable to own.”

The new Jaguar F-Pace will arrive in showrooms in April 2016 and will cost £34,710, putting it in the same price bracket as the Audi Q5 and BMW X3.

Pitched as a larger car than the Range Rover Evoque, but cheaper than the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport in order to avoid stealing too many buyers from those models, the new Jaguar F-Pace will cost £34,710, putting it in the same price bracket as the Audi Q5 and BMW X3.

Rear legroom in the F-Pace promises to be on a par with some larger SUVs and the car will offer plenty of luggage space courtesy of a boot which measures 650 litres with the seats up, and 1,740 litres folded flat. A full-size spare wheel can be specified and stored beneath the boot floor.

Portfolio models offer the ultimate in luxury and comfort, with lots of leather and wood used throughout the cabin, plus a panoramic glass roof, a 380w Meridian sound system and a reversing camera.

The S trim level - which includes 20-inch wheels, red brake calipers, a bodykit and an adaptive suspension system – ramps up the F-Pace's appearance and performance. S trim iPrestige models start from £34,710, R Sport models from £36,670, Portfolio models from £39,170 and top-of-the-range S models from £51,450.

Aficionados may be interested in a limited-run First Edition model, created as a homage to the C-X17 concept on which the F-Pace is based and comes in the same eye-catching Caesium Blue. Unique features include grey 22-inch alloy wheels, houndstooth-embossed leather sports seats and gloss black interior trim. Standard equipment includes red brake calipers, full LED headlights, a panoramic roof, interior mood lighting and the S model body kit. The First Edition uses the 296bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine from the new Jaguar XF and has an eight-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive.

Altogether, there will be 2,000 made in total, with 200 available to UK buyers at a cost of £65,275. It’s available to order now, with deliveries expected in early to mid-2016. Allied Vehicle Contracts can help you find the best finance deal on all Jaguar models here, including contracts on the XE Saloon. 



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