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Car group tests

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.

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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.

Best 4x4s and SUVs on the market

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.

Our second competitor is the X3. It’s been around for a few years now, but the BMW still sets the benchmark for focused handling in the SUV sector, and it’ll be a stern test for the F-Pace.

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?

Head-to-head

Off-road

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.

Practicality

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.

Running costs

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.

Verdict

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

Mercedes GLC - front

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

Volvo XC60 - front

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.

Figures

 Jaguar F-Pace 2.0d (180) R-Sport AWDLand Rover Discovery Sport HSE AutoBMW X3 xDrive20d M Sport
On the road price/total as tested£40,360/£44,770£39,800/£45,225£38,590/£42,895
Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)£20,906/51.8%£20,378/51.2%£19,565/50.7%
Depreciation£19,454£19,422£19,025
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£2,169/£4,339£2,139/£4,278£2,074/£4,148
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£1,540/£2,567£1,732/£2,887£1,430/£2,384
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost29/£737/E/£13029/£808/E/£13031/£1,015/E/£130
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service£549 (5yrs/50k)£499 (5yrs/50k)£525 (5yrs/50k)
    
Length/wheelbase4,731/2,874mm4,599/2,741mm4,657/2,810mm
Height/width1,652/2,070mm1,724/2,069mm1,661/1,881mm
Engine4cyl in-line/1,999cc4cyl in-line/1,999cc4-cyl in-line/1,995cc
Peak power/revs 178/4,000 bhp/rpm178/4,000 bhp/rpm190/4,000 bhp/rpm
Peak torque/revs430/1,750 Nm/rpm430/1,750 Nm/rpm400/1,750 Nm/rpm
Transmission8spd auto/4WD9spd auto/4WD8spd auto/4WD
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel60 litres/sealant54 litres/sealant67 litres/run-flats
Boot capacity650/1,740 litres981/1,698 litres550/1,600 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,775/695/2,400kg1,884/766/2,200kg1,820/545/2,000kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient11.9 metres/0.34Cd11.9 metres/0.36Cd11.9 metres/0.33Cd
Basic warranty/recovery3yrs (unlimited)/3yrs 3yrs (unlimited)/3yrs 3yrs (unlimited)/3yrs 
Service intervals/UK dealers21k miles (1yr)/9721k miles (2yr)/130Variable/153
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos6th/3rd22nd/24th15th/23rd
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./starsN/A93/83/69/588/83/53/5
    
0-60/30-70mph9.4/9.4 secs10.0/10.3 secs8.8/8.9 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th3.4/3.7 secsN/A/4.1 secs3.3/3.8 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th/7th/8th5.7/7.1/8.8/15.8 secs6.0/7.5/8.9/12.8 secs5.8/8.4/10.2/18.6 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph129mph/1,600rpm117mph/1,500rpm130mph/1,750rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph40.6/31.3/8.6m49.5/34.4/11.0m59.7/35.4/8.9m
Noise outside/idle/30/70mph75/53/64/72dB75/53/66/74dB75/52/63/71dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range37.9/8.3/500 miles33.7/7.4/400 miles40.8/9.0/601 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined45.6/60.1/53.3mpg44.8/60.1/53.3mpg50.4/57.6/54.3mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined10.0/13.2/11.7mpl9.8/13.2/11.7mpl11.1/12.7/11.9mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket200/139g/km/27%225/139g/km/27%186/136g/km/27%
    
Airbags/Isofix/park sensors/cameraSix/yes/yes/£355Seven/yes/yes/yesSix/yes/yes/£330
Automatic/AEB/cruise controlYes/yes/yesYes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes
Climate control/leather/heated seatsYes/yes/yesYes/yes/yesYes/no/yes
Metallic paint/xenon lights/keyless go£675/yes/yes£625/yes/yes£645/£610/£495
Sat-nav/USB/DAB/BluetoothYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yes
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