Car of the Year 2016: Jaguar F-Pace
The Auto Express Car of the Year for 2016 is the Jaguar F-Pace
Despite being a newcomer to the SUV party, Jaguar has stormed to the front immediately with its brilliant F-Pace – and scooped our coveted Car of the Year title in the process.
Embodying Jaguar’s core values of grace, pace and space, and wrapping them in a fashionable off-roader package, the high-riding F-Pace has become one of 2016’s must-have new cars. Imposing looks, engaging driving dynamics, a luxurious cabin and family-friendly practicality mean the car ticks all the boxes.
Yet it’s the fact the Jaguar mixes huge desirability with great value that really sets it apart from rivals. Not only does the F-Pace undercut models such as the Porsche Macan on price, the entry-level 2.0-litre diesel features running costs you’d expect from a family saloon.
However, while the F-Pace is undeniably a car that appeals to the head, it’s the way it pulls at your heartstrings that makes it the winner here.
For starters, there’s the looks. Jaguar’s Ian Callum and his team of designers have managed to effortlessly translate the distinctive styling cues of the brand’s saloons and sports cars to a rugged off-roader. Featuring a long bonnet, sweeping roofline and muscular haunches, the F-Pace is sleeker and better proportioned than mostSUVs, yet its jacked-up stance and vast front grille give it huge presence on the road.
Equal attention has been paid to the interior, with its classy materials and excellent finish. There are also plenty of hi-tech features, including the brand’s latest touchscreen infotainment system and TFT instrument display. Yet a roomy cabin and vast 650-litre boot prove that there’s substance to match the F-Pace’s style.
Of course, there’s more to the Jaguar’s success than smart styling, an upmarket interior and decent practicality. Take the wheel and you’ll discover it goes as well as it looks. The V6 diesel and petrol models are very quick, while the 2.0-litre diesel is no slouch and is every bit as refined.
What’s more, quick steering, strong grip, superb body control and a clever four-wheel-drive system combine to make the F-Pace surprisingly agile. Yet there’s deftness to the way the Jag handles a twisty back road, as it flows gracefully through corners rather than pummelling them into submission like some of its rivals. This also means it’s a comfortable and refined choice when you simply want to cruise.
Style, poise, performance and practicality – it’s not hard to see why Jaguar has claimed the top prize.
Auto Express New Car Awards 2016
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