It had been quite some time since we last drove Jaguar’s F-Pace, our 2016 luxury car of the year, and the range has since been bolstered with more engine choices.
This is the R-Sport 25d, one of six powertrain options for the MY18 range. It’s also the first of the Ingenium diesel engines we’ve had on test. The 25d badge translates to a 2.0-litre four with twin turbos, and an upgraded, high-pressure fuel injection system. The turbos are arranged in series with a little guy up and spinning quickly to ensure there’s life down low while the big gun chimes in to help deliver the numbers. On that count, this 1998cc unit deals forth 177kW with 500Nm of torque. The single turbo unit, by comparison, conjures 132kW and 450Nm while the big 3.0-litre V6 is good for 221kW and 700Nm.
The 2.5d is a mite noisy first thing but it soon settles and there’s not so much clatter associated with this oiler, at least from within the cabin. Twin balancer shafts and a stiff alloy block ensure minimal vibrations. From 1500rpm all of the torque is at your disposal, meaning only a slight delay from idle but it’s rousing from 1300rpm so the lag effect is minimal and there’s plenty of oomph for commuting duties. The stop/start system causes more of a snag in proceedings but is easily switchable. Overall, the 25d is rated at 5.8L/100km though we averaged 7.9 thanks to a few motorway miles.
The engine pulls strongly once 1500rpm is up proper, spins quickly around to 4500rpm and it has a slightly racy noise about it, at least for a diesel. On country outings, the eight-speed auto will keep it simmering above 2000rpm where the response is decent and the top-end power sufficient. It’s not particularly rapid but let’s say it’s surprisingly quick for something weighing close to two tonnes powered by a 2.0-litre diesel.
The F-Pace isn’t an SUV that lacks confidence in a curve. While there’s not quite the fury of the 30d model here, the F-Pace is sweetly balanced with a four-cylinder engine, the front axle without the burden of excess iron. There’s little to worry about in terms of understeer as this holds a line smartly with the helping hand of brake-activated torque vectoring when you try harder. We thought the auto was doing a good job of processing before we realised it still had the S mode in reserve; a quick turn of the rotary selector accesses snappier shifting and it will hold a ratio a little longer.
In Dynamic mode the powertrain response is improved but if, like us, you find the steering becomes a tad heavy you can configure a few of the settings via the touch screen. We liked the Normal weighting for the wheel which is vibrant for an SUV, directing the front end around smartly. The F-Pace turns sharply while directional changes faze it little. This R-Sport model rides on fixed-rate dampers and 19s are the standard. It possesses a controlled, sporting set-up and so the ride isn’t the most cosseting but it’s hardly uncouth either.
As we had the Range Rover Velar on test last month, it would be remiss not to mention the differences between the two which share a common lineage. The Velar is more refined, its air suspension giving it an advantage in the ride department but it feels heavier on the go and more isolated from the action. The Rangie is more special inside though, despite the two test cars sharing white leather trim which remains as impractical as ever (a white leather door handle, really?). The minor controls in the F-Pace are less vexing thanks to a few old-fashioned buttons, but the infotainment system is slow, the screen too dull. However, it’s not quite at the same price point as the Velar either. The F-Pace’s cabin is not the best interior in the business but the finishing is passable, as are the accommodations in the rear and boot.
Jaguar asks $108,000 for the R-Sport 25d which comes with front and rear parking aids, a backing camera, auto tailgate, powered and heated front seats, an eight-inch touchscreen with nav and voice control, and AEB and lane departure are also present. The Activity Key (Jaguar’s everything-proof wearable key for outdoorsy types) is standard but a smart key is an additional $2050, while other options include a surround view camera for $2450 and active cruise adds $2450.
These extras, along with a few other items you might expect as standard on a $100k vehicle, push the price further north, taking some of the gloss from the F-Pace. But if it’s a good dose of dynamism you desire in your luxo SUV, this remains a viable option, as does the 25d for its mix of power and handling balance.
|Model||Jaguar F-Pace R-Sport 25D||Price||$108,000|
|Engine||1999cc, IL4/TDI, 177kW/500Nm||Drivetrain||8-speed auto, AWD|
|Fuel Use||5.8L/100km||C02 Output||153g/km|