2017 Jaguar F-PACE review: From the wild trails to the mean streets this cat can travel

The 2017 F-PACE is Jaguar's first foray into the luxury SUV market and it is sure to be a healthy decision.

The 2017 F-PACE is Jaguar’s first foray into the luxury SUV market and it is sure to be a healthy decision.

The Jaguar F-PACE is perhaps the definitive premium luxury SUV. Jaguar set out to design and engineer a sport utility that would first and foremost be a Jaguar. The F-PACE embodies the personality Jaguar vehicles have radiated for years.

You can quickly see the design ties the F-PACE has to Jaguar’s super cool sports car the Jaguar F-TYPE, a car that can get your enthusiast heart racing with the first sound of its exhaust plus the performance to back it up.

2017 Jaguar F-PACE rear 1 copyFrom the front fenders, as the styling highlights run toward the taillights, you can see bits of F-TYPE design. Director of Jaguar design, Ian Callum said it best, “The all-new F-PACE is an all-weather sports car.” According to Callum, the lightweight aluminum architecture gave them the design freedom to create “a svelte car with attitude.” You can certainly see the F-TYPE in the rear shoulders and the rear taillights.

The 2017 F-PACE is what might be called the perfect example of Luxury Sport Utility with a whopping heavy emphasis on sport and luxury. However, as economy has gained a high level of attention with all vehicle categories Jaguar has also looked toward those who would like the sporty and luxurious attributes the F-PACE has to offer combined with economy by introducing an all new diesel engine.

The F-PACE has three individual engines in five different trim levels available.  The base level vehicle begins at $40,990 incredibly that is equipped with the diesel engine. The top of the lineup is the F-PACE S model that begins at $56,700.

Ever the company to make exclusive vehicles exceedingly attractive Jaguar2017 Jaguar F-PACE frt 1 copy has another version available. If a more exclusive model is to your liking Jaguar has added the F-PACE First Edition with a limited number (275) coming to the US. This First Edition adds to the S model 22-inch alloy wheels, Meridian sound system, mood lighting, and special trim along with special embossed leather seating plus a myriad of additional safety features.

F-PACE engine choices begin with the 2.0-liter, four-cylinder diesel that produces 180 horsepower and 318 lb-ft. of torque. The next two offerings are both 3.0-liter Supercharged V-6 gasoline engines, one with 340 hp and the other with 380 horsepower.

All models are equipped with an 8-speed automatic transmission with a rear-wheel drive biased all-wheel drive system.

The hills were alive with Jaguar F-PACE as we reached the summit on our off-road trail.

The hills were alive with Jaguar F-PACE as we reached the summit on our off-road trail.

The proof as they say is in the pudding, but here it’s in the driving and the F-PACE proves it has the Jaguar heritage to perform. We did most of our testing on the mountain roads outside of Aspen, Colorado driving into the mountains along the magnificent twisting roads that made the F-PACE shine. The Jaguar F-PACE is youthful exuberance wrapped in a heritage of performance and luxury. In short this F-PACE is today’s SUV.

While we consider ourselves more of the performance kind, we do enjoy luxury and as we hustled up the Rocky Mountains toward the summit we exclaimed how well designed the interior appeared. The fit and finish was obviously of high quality, every transition from one element to the other was seamless as was every panel and trim piece.

2017 Jaguar F-PACE intThe power transition from each gear was tight with no observable loss from one gear to another. Selecting the manual mode we were able to choose each gear via the steering column mounted paddle shifters. These things have saved the automatic transmission, giving driver the choice between manual mode or automatic.

The aluminum structure feels extraordinarily ridged and allows the suspension do its work at handling the tight, fast corners as well as soak up the pock-marked road surface produced by Colorado’s extreme snow and ice conditions.

In the interest of saving development time and costs Jaguar, like most other companies, use similar architecture in more than one vehicle. The F-PACE shares it basic structure with a few Jaguar cars, however the SUV uses 81 percent exclusive componentary for its SUV attributes.

Heaven knows that few premium luxury SUV owners take their vehicles four-wheeling let alone off a paved road. We did, just to prove this was no shy kitten when it comes to the rough stuff. The F-PACE system is rear-wheel drive dominate with power being send forward if the need arises. The system is exceptionally fast as it can react in milliseconds to conditions. We climbed a relatively steep fire trail climbing over rocks and washouts slowly but surely reaching the top with just a few scrapes to the under carriage. If only we would have had more aggressive off-road tires instead of the road going performance ones. Of course, out on the country roads we would have wanted to toss the off-road tires for the performance skins in a heartbeat.

2017 Jaguar F-PACE offers plenty of storage space for all your gear.

2017 Jaguar F-PACE offers plenty of storage space for all your gear.

We have written about Jaguar’s increased level of reliability for a number of years now, and have readably recommended their vehicles accordingly. Jaguar, along with their siblings in the Land Rover garage, has risen to a level of quality that is equal or better than their competitors. To emphasize their commitment to quality and reliability Jaguar has added vehicle coverage entitled Jaguar EliteCare. This goes beyond the normal new car care. For five years or 60,000 miles the new car warranty includes 24-hour roadside assistance, complimentary scheduled maintenance and Jaguar Incontrol Remote & protect.

The 2017 Jaguar F-PACE is a remarkable departure from the luxury and performance vehicles for which Jaguar is well known. The remarkable thing here is the F-PACE holds own in that performance category while adding greatly to the Jaguar portfolio with the advantages of an SUV. Like its name sake this cat can take on the wilds of the trails to the street.

2017 Jaguar F-PACE Spec Sheet Next Page