The new F Cars from Jaguar are truly something to behold when seen in the metal.  The F-Type is the two-door roadster that is guaranteed to turn heads and the F-Pace, is Jaguar’s entry into the hotly contested mid-sized SUV market. According to Jaguar Land Rover, Britain’s largest automotive manufacturer for the last two years, the latter is their “most practical sports car”.

When first viewing the sweeping, dynamic lines of the F-Pace it certainly reminds you more of a sports car than an accomplished SUV.  Of course, the Jaguar SUV offering comes with high expectations, after the release of the completely re-imagined and brand-saving XF some years ago, and the more recent unleashing of the undeniably dynamic XE.

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Whilst the exterior of the F-Pace is original and beautiful to look at, the trained eye can appreciate the tip of the hat the designers have given to the Jaguar Land Rover family.  From the front grille and dynamic bonnet creases that carry on the X-Car design language to the Evoquesque (yes, it’s a word) rear window treatment, to the crease low on the doors which is reminiscent of the new Discovery Sport. These elements are all brought together is a skilful manner to deliver a vehicle that is a joy to behold.

You then slide into the comfortable cockpit to a familiar Jag welcome, the trademark steering wheel and pop-up gear bezel let you know immediately.  Once you close the door however, you realise that this is a new direction for Jag.  The window sills on the door are high, too high for the driver who likes to hang one arm out of the window whilst listening to their doof doof music at 300dB… probably a good thing.  As a result, there is a real feeling of being cocooned and safe in this vehicle.

A range of larger format switch gear has obviously been sourced from SUV cousins, whilst they are not “chunky”, they certainly give a more substantial feel to the cockpit overall.  Awkwardly, the window controls are placed at the front of the door window sills, making them slightly too high and too far forward for ease of use.

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This is in complete contrast to every other control mechanism found in the cockpit though, steering wheel and stalk controls, clear dash buttons and a beautiful high-resolution touch screen make the tech of this car easily and intuitively accessible. 

There is a very impressive amount of space in this vehicle, head space, rear leg room, and boot space are all impressive, and three adults can sit comfortably across the back seat.  With the back seats down there is more than enough room to get all of those project purchases from Bunnings in to keep you busy on the weekends.

The very first thing you notice when pulling onto the road in the F-Pace is just how well balanced it is, making for a refined and settled ride, even under heavy acceleration. The driving position is perfect in this car, creating fantastic visibility whilst still being low enough to connect the driver to the feel of the chassis.

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Cornering at speed can often be a problem with the SUV form factor, especially ones carrying luxury weight, but the F-Pace delivers in this arena too.  After an initial centre of balance correction through the chassis, the car settles very nicely into the corner and soaks up the G-Forces with grace.  This performance is only surpassed by the incredibly flat attitude the car is able to maintain under emergency braking situations, reminding me of a cat sinking all four sets of claws into the ground at once.

The entry level F-Pace comes in at around $75,000 which gives you a 2 litre, 4 cylinder turbo diesel under the bonnet, delivering 132 kW.  For my money, this motor is a little underpowered for this car and doesn’t allow you to truly appreciate the dynamics that are on offer here.  The next step up in motors is the 3 litre, V6 turbo diesel with 221 kW, which is where I think you need to be if you want to experience what the F-Pace has on tap.  At the top end of the range, there are two supercharged 3-litre petrol V6 motors on offer delivering 250 or 280 kW depending on the tweaked tune you are after.

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Your own levels of luxury or sportiness are also catered for with the range offering including Prestige, Portfolio, R-Sport and S variants depending on your preferences and bank balance.  The ability to customise your vehicle is almost endless but does come at a price, expect to break the $100k mark at the top of the range.

The F-Pace delivers a winning design and displays a maturity that belies the fact that this is the first SUV for the brand. A warning though, don’t test drive unless you’re very serious, because you are bound to fall in love in moments.

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