Premium brand compact crossovers can do a little bit of everything. These posh do-it-alls provide athletic performance and handling along with plentiful cargo capacity, handsome cabins, comfortable seating, a sure-footed nature in inclement weather and a measure of light-duty off-road capability. And let's not forget having the latest in electronics and safety technology. After years of watching its rivals scoop up the luxury SUV consumers, Jaguar finally dipped its tires into the competitive waters of this segment with the F-Pace.
Drawing design inspiration from its XE, XF and F-Type siblings, the F-Pace — with its imposing squared-off grille, stern-looking headlights and smooth, flowing profile — is unmistakably a Jaguar. And like them, it offers plenty of spirited performance, with engine options ranging from a turbocharged four-cylinder to a pair of supercharged V6s. Yet the F-Pace's well-rounded nature is equally impressive as it strikes a fine balance between styling, functionality, performance and comfort. Yes, some may find the ride too firm and the exhaust note too aggressive, but those are minor prices to pay for the F-Pace's satisfyingly sporty demeanor.
Current Jaguar F-Pace The Jaguar F-Pace compact luxury SUV debuted for the 2017 model year and is currently offered in six trim levels: base, Premium, Prestige, R-Sport, S and Portfolio. Standard highlights on the base version include a power liftgate, a large sunroof and an 11-speaker sound system. The Premium's perks include larger wheels (19 inches versus 18 inches), a rearview camera and driver-seat memory functions. Front and rear parking sensors, heated front and rear seats, and leather upholstery are just a few of the added features of the Prestige trim. The R-Sport adds, among others, 20-inch wheels, unique styling elements and aggressively bolstered sport seats. The S provides even more performance via a 40-horsepower boost and an adaptive suspension system. The super-plush Portfolio's highlights include a hands-free power tailgate, upgraded upholstery and four-zone climate control.
All versions of the F-Pace come with all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Depending on trim level, and indicated by an alphanumeric moniker, one of three engines is fitted. The base engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four with 247 horsepower (25t); the step up from there is a turbo-four with 296 hp (30t). For even more power, choose the supercharged 3.0-liter V6 with 380 hp (35t). Offering maximum fuel efficiency is a 2.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder with 180 hp (20d). Note that in its first year, the F-Pace didn't offer a turbocharged four-cylinder; it debuted on the 2018 model. Combined fuel economy estimates range from about 20 mpg for the supercharged V6 to 29 mpg for the turbodiesel-four.
In reviews, our staff was impressed by the Jaguar F-Pace's entertaining performance and handling dynamics, which are decidedly more sport sedan than sport utility. Acceleration with either of the supercharged V6s is very strong. When pressed on serpentine roads, the F-Pace's handling is excellent with a buttoned-down composure and sharp, though somewhat numb, steering. Ride comfort ranges from firm to harsh, the latter the result of going with the larger wheels, which take away the added shock-absorbing benefit of taller tire sidewalls. As such, we'd avoid going with the 20- and 22-inch wheels.