Waking up at sunrise for an early morning shoot is always rewarding. We were making our way up the isolated roads above the town of Manali to the point they were open due to winter snowfall. The road was dry but with enough snow on the side to give the location a picturesque setting. We were above 9000 feet, the air outside was bone-chillingly cold and though I was surely missing ventilated seats, with the F-Pace’s torque vectoring tech in store, we were rapidly chewing up miles to the Gulaba barrier situated at 10,000 feet.
Once there and parked for the shoot, I realized how good looking the F-Pace really was. You see, team mate and partner in crime here, Shantonil, picked up the SUV a few days back and we left a day before from New Delhi once the Holi mess was over. The 550km drive was done non-stop in just over 10 hours and it was only when the shoot began is when I could feast my eyes on the F-type sports-car-inspired styling. This is Jaguar’s first attempt to join the SUV party and I think they have nailed it well.
The (relatively) sober alloy wheels apart, the F-Pace looks great. For the uninitiated, Jaguar now assembles the F-Pace in India which has brought down the sticker price by almost Rs 20 lakh in terms of on-road price. The earlier 3.0 is shelved and the F-Pace is sold in just one trim level of Prestige. The design remains unchanged – from the bonnet bulge to the pronounced rear haunches, this big SUV manages to look sleek as well. Want the proof? The F-Pace has a drag coefficient as just Cd 0.34, making it cut through air like a sportscar.
The big air-dams with the huge grille lend the F-Pace an extremely intimidating face, something that works well to turn heads as we found out during the weekend at Manali. This is also a very wide SUV, almost as wide as say the Audi Q7 and this along with a low height give it a sporty stance. Infact, viewed side on, the coupe-like roof line is evident and so are the distinctive and lovely LED tail-lamps. Sadly, the rear bumper design isn’t as exciting and gets a single muffler outlet on the left.
The cabin is something I could personally experience the previous evening. In a way it was good we left Delhi at 2pm as by the way we hit the hills, the sun was down and the cabin of the F-Pace came to life. If you are planning to take a test drive, you know what time of the day to do so. The interiors borrow elements from the elder XF and younger XE and what catches your eyes immediately is the InControl Pro infotainment system with a 10.2-inch touchscreen interface. The F-Pace also offers the bling factor with configurable interior mood lighting – this allows soft pools of light at the right places to create an ambiance to match your mood. The entire speedometer console in one single large 12.3-inch display with virtual dials and ability to show a full screen 3D map view. The display also changes as you toggle between various driving modes.
The front seats are extremely comfortable, even for large drivers like me. Infact, we took just two small breaks during the 10 hour drive and trust me, fatigue had not set in. Ditto for rear seat passengers – space is not a concern here with a legroom of as much as 945mm. You can also recline the rear seats electrically and each of the four passengers can control the four-zone climate control. The F-Pace indeed can google up big distances in supreme comfort though noise insulation could be have been better at higher speeds. You also get a sliding panoramic sunroof and a smokers pack who prefer puffing on the move.
As mentioned above, the F-Pace can be picked in only one trim level which means no choice of engines here. The 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel is widely used by the company across platforms, from the Land Rover Discovery to the Jaguar XF and it does duty here as well. In the F-Pace, the 1999cc unit puts out 177 bhp of power and 430 Nm of torque, healthy figures on paper. However, the competition is much more powerful with the Volvo XC60 and Audi Q5 belting out 235 and 190 bhp respectively. The diesel F-Pace comes with a 8-speed automatic gearbox sourced from ZF. Now on paper, for a 1700 kg car, the engine output does seem average but given the stick, Jaguar claims the F-Pace will finish the 0-100 sprint in 9 seconds, more than handy for most owners. In real world driving too, we weren’t left wanting for more on most occasions.
Truth be told, most owners do not drive with pedal to metal and in this regard, this Jaguar feels just right. Infact, I was particularly impressed with the gearbox and its ability to understand the driver’s right foot quickly. Plus, you always have the dynamic mode available at hand and the paddle shifts that feel premium with the brushed aluminium finish and drilled + / – symbols! For our 1200km road trip, the F-Pace returned an overall fuel economy of 11.5 kpl. This included about 600km of well paved four-lane highways and the rest comprising of single lane mountain roads and the 100km run to 10,000 feet!
The relatively lower performance from the engine is made up by the driving dynamics. The F-Pace is no F-Type but for a big burly SUV, Jaguar has loaded their first SUV with lot of clever driver aids. Torque vectoring for example that works behind the scene to provide controlled braking on required inside wheels when you push the SUV hard through corners – this reduces under-steer. And then there are the driving modes via ‘JaguarDrive Control’ which allows you to toggle between default, Dynamic, Eco and Rain/Ice/Snow modes – the last one was used extensively later at night when we went for a drive to the beautiful Solang valley in fresh snowfall.
As you can see, the road turned white and with increasing elevation and tight corners, grip became an important factor. The F-Pace instilled so much confidence, we were the only vehicle to reach the Rohtang tunnel barrier point, much to the surprise of security guards stationed there. Remember, this Jag rides on road going tyres and even then, we encountered no unwanted drama or any scary moments with the 380 W Meridian audio system playing out our favorite tracks and filling the entire valley with its powerful bass.
After shooting the F-Pace here, the drive back to the town via the down hill stretch was the next challenge but handled easily thanks to the ASPC or All Surface Progress Control system. This low speed cruise control allows you to set a predefined speed and no matter the changing elevation or road conditions, the system maintains the same speeds without driver’s inputs in terms of braking or acceleration. You need to be in such situations to make full use of technologically advanced SUVs like the F-Pace and we were more than impressed with its abilities. The company has certainly infused a lot of Land Rover DNA into this Jag.
At Rs 60.02 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the Jaguar F-Pace is extremely good value for money for fashion connoisseurs. It looks extremely appealing, has bling interiors and enough features in the kitty to impress your friends. True it does not offer grinning moments easily due to the smaller 2.0-litre diesel motor but this one aspect aside, the F-Pace is a highly recommended premium SUV in this price segment. Want one? Head over to Find Me A Car for exclusive online benefits.