Jaguar F-Pace is practical & stylish luxury SUV
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Sports utility vehicles, better known as SUVs, are a rage today, selling faster than the sedans in India, the world’s fifth and Asia’s third biggest car market today. No wonder a number of stalwart automakers, from Lamborghini to Rolls-Royce and Mercedes-Benz to Jaguar Land Rover are offering models to feed the rising demand in the country.

The new diesel-powered Jaguar F-Pace is fun, practical cat on all terrains and yet stylish luxury SUV.

Despite being an iconic premium British brand, the price is not all that crazy. In fact, the locally-assembled Jaguar F-Pace at the company factory in Pune is a lot more attractive package than it has ever been before. Priced at Rs 60.02 lakh at Mumbai showroom, it is about Rs 20 lakh cheaper than its imported version. So, it is a good value proposition for money spent on it. Obviously, while the initial set of buyers will not be happy with this price reduction, the coveted Jaguar brand has now opened up this stylish crossover to a whole different segment of buyers and made it more accessible.

This new F-Pace, featuring one of the curviest profiles in the business attracted eyeballs wherever I drove it, which demonstrated that it is a beast and beauty at once. And despite missing the R-Sport’s belligerent front-end and fancier wheel design, the 2018 version has retained a rather distinctive stylish look. On many counts, the locally assembled F-Pace looks just as striking and posh as the fully imported version, especially with its bright adaptive LED headlights, which are now standard on the car.

At present, this locally-assembled version is now available in a single, fully-loaded Prestige variant. Interestingly, rather than missing out on kit, Jaguar has instead added plenty that were earlier a part of the optional list.

Premium features like adaptive LED headlamps, 19-inch alloy wheels, a 10.2-inch touchscreen with navigation, a 380W Meridian sound system, a 12.3-inch virtual TFT instrument cluster, four-zone climate control, electric reclining rear seats, an activity key and ambient lighting – features that were optional on the imported 2.0D Prestige variant, are now part of the standard equipment on this model.

Apart from these, the updated F-Pace SUV continues to get a reversing camera, panoramic sunroof, Taurus leather seats, 10-way electric adjustment with driver seat memory, front and rear parking sensors, tyre pressure monitor, navigation, keyless entry and go – and a lot more from the original iteration.

However, it still misses out on a few features from kit like electrically operable tailgate, lumbar support for front seats, ventilated or massaging seat function and a 360-degree camera. Needless to say, all these features are expected in a car of this price now.

Also, the F-Pace now gets a space-saver spare tyre instead of a full-sized one, which was available, before.

Significantly, the interiors have also remained unchanged from the imported version. The design is the same and so is the quality of bits, which is really great in certain areas but not quite so, in others.

Undoubtedly, the cabin is a thing of beauty. The materials are top-notch, the fit and finish are virtually flawless, and interior design is as handsome as the exterior. The cabin feels bright and spacious thanks to the expansive glass area all around and the large and comfy seats feel just as accommodating as before.

What is immediately noticeable is that with this update, Jaguar has discontinued the punchy 300hp 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine and instead offered a 179bhp 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel that comes mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, transmitting power to all four wheels.

Of course, this engine is not a scorcher like the V6 diesel engine. But the new F-Pace carries its weight around well and in style. Undoubtedly, performance is best in its mid-range beyond 2,000 revs but the motor is vocal and the grumbly diesel sounds a bit coarse when the engine spins faster. However, overall when it comes to ride and handling, this Jaguar really shines out.

It gives a great experience when it tackles corners with great poise and the weighted, precise steering enhances driver confidence. Its ride also is really good in the city with the fat 255mm tyres flattening road imperfections. While the suspension has an underlying stiffness, the F-Pace rides flat as the vehicle builds speeds.

Should I buy it?

Interestingly, the Jaguar F-Pace has always been a rather unique offering in the luxury crossover segment, thanks to its performance oriented nature and sports car like details. Moreover, this SUV has also been the priciest among all its rivals except for the Porsche Macan. However, due to local assembly, the British brand has now priced it attractively lower and has managed to offer something that all high-end car buyers would desire. That is stylish, good-looking, feature-rich and great value for money. This new SUV is certainly a great option, which would make you stand apart in the segment.

michaelgonsalves@mydigitalfc.com

Columnist: 
Michael Gonsalves