Jaguar F-Pace vs Land Rover Discovery Sport vs BMW X3
Is the Jaguar F-Pace good enough to go top of the SUV class? We pitch it against the Land Rover Discovery Sport and BMW X3
It's the first big test for possibly the most important car in Jaguar's history - the F-Pace. The firm's first SUV has a lot riding on it, as it allows competition in one of the most competitive market sectors around. It's certainly out of the comfort zone for a company best known for its sports cars and sharp-handling saloons.
The F-Pace will need to be pretty special to have a fighting chance of coming out on top, so for this first test we’ve chosen two highly capable 2.0-litre diesel rivals.
First up is sister company Land Rover’s Discovery Sport. While both the Jag and Disco are powered by the same Ingenium diesel, the latter is a more conventional, practical SUV. However, the Land Rover is still a tough rival, and will put the F-Pace’s premium qualities under the microscope.
Can the newcomer continue Jaguar’s renaissance as a premium brand to be reckoned with? Or is branching out into the SUV market simply a step too far for the British manufacturer?
This trio of SUVs will spend virtually all their time on tarmac, but when the going gets rough it’s the Land Rover that will go the furthest, thanks to greater ground clearance and the clever Terrain Response traction control. The Jaguar’s All Surface Progress Control finds extra traction on wet roads, while the X3 gets Hill Descent Control.
The Discovery’s third row of seats gives it an advantage here. The back bench folds into the boot floor and can be raised in one movement, while the sliding second row frees up decent legroom. What the Jaguar loses in MPV versatility, it makes up for with a huge 650-litre boot.
There’s very little to separate our trio for running costs. All three emit less than 140g/km of CO2, plus each will return around 50 per cent of its new value after three years. All are available with five-year service packs for around £500.
First place: Jaguar F-Pace
Jaguar has hit the bullseye with its first SUV. Boldly styled, great to drive, refined and with decent practicality, the F-Pace proves that you needn’t sacrifice driving fun and style when choosing a family- friendly crossover. The 2.0-litre diesel is a punchy performer and R-Sport guise has all the essential kit – although it’s pricey. Only some of the cheap-feeling cabin materials let it down.
Second place: Land Rover Discovery Sport
Our reigning champ misses out on victory by the narrowest of margins. It still leads the way for practicality, and for some its seven seats will give it the edge. It’s also better than its rivals off-road, yet still delivers composed handling on the tarmac and decent performance and refinement. Yet it’s undermined by a firm low-speed ride and disappointing fuel economy.
Third place: BMW X3
Given its advancing years, the X3 puts on a strong display here. Its 2.0-litre diesel is the strongest performer, plus its cabin still has the edge for build and material quality – although it’s looking dated. And while it can’t quite match its rivals for crisp driving dynamics, it’s still impressively composed. However, it’s not as spacious and refined as its rivals, plus it suffers from a stiff ride.
Other options in this category...
Mercedes GLC 250 d Sport
Price: £38,100Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl, 201bhp
The Mercedes is a new entry in the UK, but the GLC ticks all the right boxes, thanks to its efficient yet powerful diesel, upmarket cabin and practical interior. It won on its test debut in Issue 1,408, and it’ll be a tough rival for the F-Pace when we get them head-to-head.
Volvo XC60 2.0 D4 R-Design Lux Nav
Price: £37,910Engine: 2.4-litre 4cyl, 187bhp
It’s getting a bit long in the tooth now, yet the Volvo XC60 still remains a front-runner if you want an alternative to the German executive SUV norm. Four-wheel-drive cars get the ageing 2.4-litre diesel powerplant, which puts paid to efficiency, but you do get a lot of goodies for your money.
|Jaguar F-Pace 2.0d (180) R-Sport AWD
|Land Rover Discovery Sport HSE Auto
|BMW X3 xDrive20d M Sport
|On the road price/total as tested
|Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)
|Annual tax liability std/higher rate
|Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)
|Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost
|Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service
|Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel
|Turning circle/drag coefficient
|Service intervals/UK dealers
|21k miles (1yr)/97
|21k miles (2yr)/130
|Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos
|Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars
|30-50mph in 3rd/4th
|50-70mph in 5th/6th/7th/8th
|Top speed/rpm at 70mph
|Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range
|Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket
|Climate control/leather/heated seats
|Metallic paint/xenon lights/keyless go