2017 Jaguar F-Pace: Monthly Update for December 2017
by Dan Frio, Automotive Editor
Where Did We Drive It?
I spent the latter half of December in our long-term 2017 Jaguar F-Pace, inheriting a dirty car full of crumbs and dog hair, and not so full of fuel, from colleagues who shall go unnamed and who couldn't be bothered to file a comment or two about their seat time in the big English cat. Shame.
This is a brutal, inconvenient business, but I carried on. The F-Pace would get dirtier soon enough because after a handful of days commuting and buzzing around town, I drove it out to Joshua Tree National Park, about 300 miles round trip. Many of the F-Pace's flaws became readily apparent on that quick turnaround run, along with a handful of strengths. Several more days behind the wheel reinforced many of those impressions and softened a few others.
Bottom line: The F-Pace isn't as polished as its competitors, in ways that would drive me bananas if I owned it. Yet it's still madly fun to drive.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
We added 1,646 miles to the F-Pace in December, nearly dead on target for our monthly desired miles. (We try to put 20,000 miles on our long-term cars over 12 months.) We averaged 19.7 mpg over a lot of local driving, some highway miles and one long haul out to the desert. That's a better result than November's mpg and a better average than we've had for months. It was also enough to lift our lifetime average a bit, from 18.2 last month to 18.5 mpg.
Notably, the Jaguar thinks it did better; the onboard mpg meter reports that it averaged 21.3 mpg over all those miles. Nice try.
Average lifetime mpg: 18.5
EPA mpg rating: 20 combined (18 city/23 highway)
Best fill mpg: 25.7
Best range: 393.5 miles
Current odometer: 13,906 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
"Josh commented last month that he liked how Jag was staying focused on its sporting mission. This was a comment specific to the F-Pace steering quality, but I tend to agree. Jag needed to do something to stand apart from the Acura, Audi, Benz, BMW and Infiniti SUVs, and going hard after a sport vibe is one way to do it, not unlike what Infiniti did many years ago with the FX (and now QX70) series. Those still aren't very good for people- or cargo-carrying, but they are fast and fun. One downside: This is a bone-shaking ride that crashes over all but the smoothest road surface. One passenger was so confused by her perception of Jaguar ride quality and the reality of the F-Pace ride and asked if this was, indeed, a 'real' Jaguar. I assured her it was, made some excuse for the 20-inch wheels (the $1,500 20-inch wheels, natch), and tried to explain what was going on specific to the F-Pace, lest she write off the more relaxed conveyances of an XJ or even XF, for example." — Dan Frio, automotive editor
"This car drives like its namesake. Impeccable agility, cornering grip, suppressed side-to-side body roll — this is the first Jag I've driven that actually feels like a cat. Or at least a hungry, playful cat. The XF we had a few years ago was fast as snot (5.0-liter supercharged V8) and offered a nice highway drive, but it felt too big to take corners with some abandon. The F-Pace inspires a bit more confidence with its flat handling and caffeinated V6 ready for a burst of speed coming out of a turn. Ironic that the best-handling Jag is an SUV." — DF
"Notable difference between Dynamic and Normal modes. Dynamic just sharpens up everything: pedal feel, transmission response, steering, suspension. Don't know what the mpg penalty would be for driving in Dynamic all of the time, but it'd be worth it. There's also an Eco mode, but why bother?" — DF
"When you choose the F-Pace, you choose to sacrifice rear legroom. Even my 12-year-old feels a little cramped back there when the driver or front passenger seat are slid slightly aft. The F-Pace would be a hard sell as a primary car for a family with two teenagers." — DF
"Many hours behind the wheel now and I'm still looking for the window switches where they should be (in the driver-door armrest) and not where they are (driver-door window sill). This catches me every time, without fail. What's in the armrest instead? Driver-position memory buttons." — DF
"Rattles coming from everywhere now. They pop up, go away, but there's always one around. The most current one is coming from behind the driver's head, possibly in the curvature between the rear passenger window and the roof. I'd be an annoyed owner if the F-Pace was showing this kind of shabby build quality at 14,000 miles. Driving out to the desert on an old highway, I thought the F-Pace would start shedding parts of its interior: headliner, pillar covering, seat belt anchors. This was not off-roading; this was just hustling across some desert highway." — DF
"Surprised and impressed with the cargo area. It's deep and swallowed more camping gear than I expected. You sacrifice rear legroom for the utility, but it'll be an acceptable trade-off for those who won't be using it primarily as a family car. Our F-Pace review says its cargo space behind the upright second-row seats is best in class (33.5 cubic feet). Dropping those seats opens 63.5 cubic feet, second only to the Volvo XC60. That's impressive utility for an SUV biased toward sport. Only thing I didn't like, at least in my camp cargo scenario, were the floor tracks and tie-downs. Useful for sure when you want to secure things from bouncing around behind the second row, but they create a channel of wasted space. The tie-downs are removable, so maybe it's a moot point, unless you're prone to losing small items like that." — DF
"The devil is in the details in this car, and there are many details. One nitpick: the shift paddles. They're plastic. OK, fine. Shift paddles aren't going to make or break the car. But they feel flimsy. And a car that asks you to separate yourself from $60,000 shouldn't feel flimsy. Anywhere. The paddle shifters in an older Mitsubishi Outlander are magnesium! These don't even need to be that. Nickel, steel, hardened steel, whatever. Oak. Something better than the plastic wafers there now." — DF