Can the Jaguar F-Pace deliver a polished SUV experience?

The F-Pace has been a longstanding member of the SUV segment for some time now – but can it stand up in the present day? Jack Evans finds out.

Jaguar’s F-Pace has been a long-time member of the premium SUV club. When it first arrived back in 2016, it acted as a real game-changer for Jaguar as it entered the firm into this ultra-competitive market but did so in a way which still felt true to the brand. Good to drive and smartly finished inside, it was a big hitter for Jaguar,

But the game has moved forward quite considerably since then and these days, there are more options than ever. Jaguar recently updated the F-Pace, but has it been enough to keep it on top? We’ve been behind the wheel to find out.

Photos: PA Media

As mentioned, Jaguar updated the F-Pace back in March 2022. Along with a more simplified range of specifications, Jaguar also boosted the range of the model we’re testing today – the plug-in hybrid, badged P400e. More range is never a bad thing for a plug-in hybrid, of course, but the F-Pace remains available with a series of other engines including a mild-hybrid diesel and a range-topping V8.

As before, the F-Pace features Jaguar’s latest infotainment system which has been so transformative for the brand’s cars, along with a greater level of standard equipment than before.

At the heart of the P400e’s engine setup is a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine which is then linked to an electric motor and battery. Combined, there’s a decent amount of power – 398bhp, in fact – while combined with 640Nm of torque it helps to deliver a 0-60mph time of just five seconds and a top speed of 149mph.

But there’s lots of efficiency to go with the performance, too. Now Jaguar claims fuel consumption of 163.2mpg for the F-Pace P400e but, as is the case with all plug-in hybrids, you’ll need to take this with a pinch of salt since that figure can only really be generated when you’re running entirely on electric power. However, a total electric-only range of 39 miles means you can go quite far without troubling the engine.

It’s that electric-only range which makes your initial contact with the P400e quite relaxing. You can waft around on that battery power and it gives the whole car a lot of zip away from the line. The steering, as has been the case with all F-Pace models since it launched, is superbly weighted and gives the car a sporty yet planted feel. The steering wheel itself is pleasantly thin-rimmed, too.

When that four-cylinder engine gets called into play does change things. It’s quite noisy under heavy acceleration and just disrupts that overall premium feeling that you were getting beforehand. Once you’ve run out of battery power, we were seeing fuel economy in the mid-30s, so you’re definitely best keeping it topped up with electricity. That said, mid-30s fuel economy is about right for this size of vehicle.

The F-Pace, to our eyes at least, represented quite a nice interpretation of some of Jaguar’s sports car designs on a larger platform. The rear lights, for example, look rather similar to the ones you’d find on the F-Type sports car, while the front grille ties it in nicely with other cars from the brand such as the XE and XF saloons.

Our car came in a full grey exterior with black alloys which did give it the air of a villain’s car from a James Bond film. However, Jaguar offers a good range of colours to choose from with the F-Pace in case that it’s right for you.

The driving position that you’re able to get in the F-Pace really establishes the mood inside the cabin. There’s plenty of adjustability and you’re able to get the steering wheel right where you want it, which gives the impression that the F-Pace is a little more angled towards keener drivers than rivals. Elsewhere, we’ve got chunky controls and dials which are easy to access when you’re on the move, such as those for the heating and ventilation. It’s a refreshing change to other more screen-centric setups.

In the rear, headroom and legroom are both pretty decent, but the side is let down by the area at the back of the driver’s armrest – it’s covered in some very nasty-feeling plastic and disrupts what is otherwise quite an upmarket-feeling area.

You do get plenty of equipment aboard the F-Pace. Our car, in R-Dynamic trim, brought a full sports exterior styling pack and LED lights, while inside there’s an 11.4-inch infotainment system with Jaguar’s Pivi system. It’s one of the best in the business, too, as it’s very responsive to inputs and has lots of intuitive features. Apple CarPlay is included as standard and it’s wireless, too.

While the F-Pace may have been on our roads for some time, it still feels more than current enough to fend off the present crop of premium SUVs. This plug-in hybrid version brings the potential for lower running costs, too, though we feel you still wouldn’t be let down by one of the ‘regular’ mild-hybrid versions.

It’s an example of Jaguar bringing some extra spirit into an SUV, too, but backing that up with good driving dynamics and plenty of standard equipment.

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