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Jaguar may have arrived at the SUV party late but it is making up for it with an accomplished car
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JAGUAR'S FIRST SUV: Mechanically, the F-Pace performance crossover is based on the XE compact sedan with all of the latter's dynamism plus permanent all-wheel-drive

Keep pace

The Jaguar F-Pace 3.0 S is the most powerful version of the capable crossover.
Sep 3, 2016 5:50 AM

JAGUAR'S first sport-utility vehicle (SUV) model is what happens when everyday utility is added to the brand's already sporty DNA. Mechanically, the F-Pace performance crossover is based on the XE compact sedan with all of the latter's dynamism plus permanent all-wheel-drive.

Above that very capable platform though is a pretty SUV body with a spacious cabin offering very good rear legroom and luggage space.

Three engines are available - a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesel, a 3.0-litre, V6 supercharged petrol unit with two levels of tune - 340 hp and 380 hp.

The top-of-the line variant is called the Jaguar F-Pace 3.0 V6 Supercharged S. Its 380 hp and 450 Nm are delivered to all four wheels via Jaguar's brilliantly tuned eight-speed ZF automatic transmission.

To maintain the brand's rear-wheel drive character, the torque on-demand, all-wheel-drive (AWD) system sends 100 per cent of the engine's torque to the rear axle under normal conditions.

But if road conditions change and greater traction is needed, up to 50 per cent of the torque can be transferred to the front axle. The transition is seamless and the driver is unlikely to feel it. What is felt, however, is the reassuring grip of the F-Pace.

Like the XE, the F-Pace suspension has front double wishbones and a rear Integral Link set-up. But unlike the XE, the F-Pace uses even more aluminium for its monocoque body - 80 per cent versus 75 per cent.

Still, the crossover's size, running gear and equipment mean it weighs in at a rather hefty 1,861 kg.

This is where the supercharged V6's 450 Newton-metres of torque comes in handy. Unlike a turbo, there is no lag with a supercharger and the F-Pace benefits from a smooth torrent of torque. Zero to 100 kmh is accomplished in 5.5 seconds with a wonderfully responsive automatic transmission.

The gearbox is even faster when shifted manually, with each pull of the steering wheel-mounted paddle banging home a gear immediately - without delay or complaint.

The electric power-assisted steering is beefy but accurate with nice feedback. Its variable steering ratio is standard and the more the steering wheel is turned, the more responsive it becomes. Torque vectoring complements it by braking the inner wheels to minimise understeer.

Various drive modes help the F-Pace pull away easily on snow, ice or wet grass, but for tropical Singapore, the Configurable Dynamics option is more useful, and the response of the engine, gear shift, steering and suspension can each be individually set if required.

But most of all, the F-Pace is a useable everyday car. Some crossovers excel in handling but forget about those in the back, or vice versa. This Jaguar offers a nice balance. Its long 2,874 mm wheelbase means that not only is ride comfort good, rear legroom is too. The large boot is also practical.

One clever device it has is the Activity key, which is a rubber strap worn on the wrist. This waterproof "key'' will electronically lock and unlock the vehicle so you can leave the key fob in the car while you go running, cycling, kayaking or any other activity that makes it inconvenient to carry something in your pocket.

Jaguar may have arrived at the SUV party late with its F-Pace but it is making up for it with an accomplished car.


SPECS

Jaguar F-Pace 3.0 S

Engine 2,995cc V6 supercharged

Gearbox 8-speed automatic transmission

Max power 380 hp@6,500 rpm

Max torque 450 Nm@4,500 rpm

0-100 kmh 5.5 secs

Top speed 250 kmh

CO2 emissions 209 g/km

Average OMV S$77,000

Price S$344,999 (with COE)

Distributor Wearnes Automotive

Tel: 6378-2626