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New Jaguar F-Pace S review

Top-spec diesel Jaguar F-Pace is still a good proposition, but lesser models offer better value

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

At over £50,000, the 3.0-litre diesel F-Pace doesn’t come cheap. In fact, the Porsche Macan S undercuts it by more than £5,000. But this is likely to be the only reservation buyers will have with this particular version. The effortless performance, agile responses and impressive all-round packaging mean it’s a convincing proposition for someone wanting a sporty SUV. That said, there’s better value to be had in the excellent 2.0d.

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Given the increasing number of SUVs available to UK buyers, it’s surprising just how few are even remotely sporty. The Porsche Macan is one exception, but now Jaguar is claiming to have finally put the sport into its new sport utility vehicle. 

The F-Pace stormed its way to the top of the mid-sized SUV class when we tested the 178bhp 2.0-litre diesel version against two key rivals. It’s that model which will make up the bulk of sales, but for those who want a bit more punch, there’s the option of a 296bhp 3.0-litre six-cylinder – tested here in the UK for the first time.

Available only in top-spec S trim, it’s priced from £51,450 (the same as the supercharged V6 petrol model). But as you’d expect, the kit list is extensive, with an eight-inch touchscreen, reversing camera and sat-nav, while all-wheel drive, leather plus a Meridian sound system feature, too.

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There’ll be few grumbles about kit; in fact, in terms of overall package, the F-Pace hits the spot. If there’s a niggle, it’s the interior. Aesthetically, we’ve no issues, but it’s a copy of the XE and XF’s – and doesn’t feel all that special against rivals like the Mercedes GLC

But that’s where the negatives end. Visually, the F-Pace has to be one of the most handsome SUVs on the market, which you’ll soon notice from all the attention it attracts. Short overhangs, a slippery body and huge 22-inch wheels on our test car go some way to achieving the sports-car-on-stilts look.

Those enormous wheels are a £1,600 option, though, and as a trade off, you will have to put up with a slightly fidgety ride. It’s comfortable enough for the most part, but when 1,884kg of SUV crashes into a pothole, you’re going to feel it. On smaller rims, the F-Pace is better behaved, offering a perfect compromise of ride comfort and fun.

The muscular band of torque – 700Nm in total – effortlessly shepherds you down the road, with seamless upshifts from the eight-speed automatic gearbox. The engine isn’t the most sonorous six-cylinder, but there’s no questioning its effectiveness. 

What impresses more is the F-Pace’s ability to belie its size. It may hide a 650-litre boot and generous rear passenger space, but the steering is direct and body control taut. It means the car handles more like a sports saloon than an SUV – exactly the result Jaguar was aiming for.

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