2017 Jaguar F-PACE 20d Prestige Review

A great driving crossover has a couple of big demerits


Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief



Positives: Truly striking exterior design makes it a head-turner, razor-sharp steering and handling, solid infotainment system is easy to use, great front seats, ample room.
Negatives: Languishing throttle and turbo lag, uninspiring interior seems out of place for the marque, thick A-pillars, rear visibility needs help
Bottom Line: Jaguar has done a marvelous job of setting the F-PACE apart from the luxury crossover crowd. Its driving dynamics are top notch, but the diesel motor robs the vehicle of some thrills that the gas-powered versions offer. The trade-off is solid efficiency and longevity. The F-PACE, otherwise, is an excellent crossover that's both sexy and actually quite practical.
The F-PACE bowed last year, and everyone loved it. Jaguar has come a long way and has finally established a strong design language that's recognizable and not parked in the 20th century. There was a lot of pressure for their first crossover to knock it out of the park, given the stiff competition from the likes of the BMW X3, Audi Q5, Lexus NX and the Mercedes-Benz GLC. Not only did Jaguar create one of the most attractive luxury crossovers available, they focused on driving thrills and practicality at the same time. We drove the diesel version of the F-PACE for several days to see what it was all about. Read on for our detailed review.
 

Driving Experience

7.4

 

section review info goes here

Ride Quality: The F-PACE's ride sits comfortably between sporty and cushy. We thoroughly enjoyed the way it managed bumps without compromising its driving enthusiast intentions.

Acceleration: You sacrifice acceleration for fuel efficiency. Once it gets into 2nd gear, it's not bad (with diesel torque kicking in nicely), but the throttle response and turbo lag are terrible. You need to plan left hand turns into traffic, and it can be pretty harrowing. It's the F-PACE 20d's thorn in its side.

Braking: The F-PACE has excellent brakes with good progression and pedal feel. These are appropriate for a sporty crossover.

Steering: The steering is quick and very precise, probably the best we've experienced in a crossover this year. Very sports car-like.

Handling: Even with the taller sidewall tires, the F-F-PACE 20d manages corners very well and keeps body roll pretty flat. You can take it into the curves pretty hard without upsetting the chassis and suspension.

Technology

8.6

 

Jaguar's in-car tech has never been something to write home about until now. The much-improved InControl system not only looks better, it's easier to use and the functionality is eons better than the old one.

Infotainment System: The InControl Touch multimedia system works very well. The 8” touchscreen with intuitive touch and swipe controls handles audio, climate and navigation. The screen is responsive, and everything's pretty easy to find. One issue was the heated/cooled seat controls, which are a couple of layers deep and defaulted to full heat even in 90 degree weather.

Controls: Great buttons and knobs that are well-placed in the center stack.

Bluetooth Pairing: Our smartphones paired easily and remained paired upon re-entry into the F-PACE.

Voice Call Quality: Our phone calls were loud and clear with no transmission or volume issues.

Styling

9

 

Crossovers, especially in the luxury price range, are getting more dramatic in their styling because they have to differentiate themselves from one another. Jaguar's first crossover had to be visually stunning, and Ian Callum certainly pulled it off with one of the raciest crossovers

Front: The F-PACE 20d follows the rest of the Jaguar line with a large ellipsoid grille and large intakes. The headlights are slender and taper towards the grille. The lower intakes on the 20d have a divider that's not present on the S.

Rear: An excellent design that borrows the taillights and sportiness of the F-Type coupe.

Profile: Well-proportioned, aggressive and also elegant, the side view is its best angle. The steeply raked rear glass and the angled C-pillar give the F-PACE its signature silhouette.

Cabin: We won't call it unattractive, but the 20d lacks some polish in terms of styling. The upper dash looks melted, and there's too much black everywhere. Overall, the layout is good and the seats are attractive, but we wish Jaguar did more with the interior. When a Mazda CX-5 seems more special, there's a problem.

Comfort

8.7

 

Jaguar definitely made the F-PACE a comfortable place to be for all occupants. Overall, we'd say it's one of the better luxury crossovers when it comes to ferrying people for short or long distances.

Front Seats: These are excellent seats, and they do so in an undramatic fashion. They're well-bolstered and very supportive. At the end of longer drives, we didn't feel weary but rather refreshed.

Rear Seats: The rear seats are good but not spacious enough for three people. At least headroom isn't compromised in spite of the angled roof.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The 20d is a generally quiet ride when the engine isn't being pushed hard. Jaguar did a pretty good job of keeping road noise out of the picture.

Visibility: Generally good visibility, but the back third of the vehicle loses its sightlines in favor of a more dramatic design using thick pillars and thin rear window.

Climate: copy text

Safety

5.5

 

The F-PACE has yet to be crash tested by both the IIHS and the NHTSA.

IIHS Rating: Not tested

NHTSA Rating: Not tested

Standard Tech: F-PACE 20d comes standard with antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Both a rearview camera and parking sensors come standard on the 20d.

Optional Tech: Our car's Vision Package came with Full LED adaptive headlights, Intelligent High Beam Assist, blind spot monitor, and reverse traffic detection.

Storage/Cargo

8.4

 

For a crossover that's high on style, we were suprised by the practical space found within. It's actually a bit deceiving based on exterior appearances, but the F-PACE has ample room for your gear, even moreso that some of the competition.

Storage Space: There's a flat storage space aft of the rotary shift knob that gets a bit compromised by the overly large piano black frame around the shifter. The center armrest is useful for small gear items, as are the door pockets.

Cargo Room: . The second-row seats are split 40/20/40 folding and expand the rear capacity from 33.5 cubic feet (best in class) to 61.4 cubic feet, second only to the 2017 Volvo XC60. Those are some great numbers for a crossover that looks this sporty.

Fuel Economy

8.9

 

This is really the only reason to get the diesel version of the F-PACE. It's EPA numbers are much higher than the competition, and for all intents and purposes, the 20d is geared towards efficiency versus responsiveness and power.

Observed: 24.1 mpg

Distance Driven: 210 miles

Driving Factors: We drove it Dynamic mode to extract the most responsiveness out of the throttle and transmission. We still got good mpg numbers for driving it so hard, and we're sure that normal driving will approach, if not crest, 30 mpg for most folks.

Audio

9.7

 

We were floored by the upgraded Meridian 825-watt surround sound system in the Technology Package. It was one of the best systems we've come across all year with great range, volume, bass and clarity. We experienced no distortion even when we cranked it up.



Final Thoughts

The F-PACE 20d is a flawed creature, but what Jaguar has done with its first crossover is nothing short of remarkable when it comes to comfort, space, ride quality, steering/handling/braking, and exterior design. In diesel format, the vehicle suffers a bit when it comes to power and throttle response. Though we're huge diesel fans, the lag in acceleration is a flaw that's hard to overlook, but if you're about design and originality more than straight line power, the 20d is worth checking out. We can only imagine what the next-gen F-PACE will be like because this one is quite good.
Shopping for a new
Jaguar F-PACE?