THERE’S something special for many in driving a British car. Jaguar’s latest version of their F-PACE AWD SUV is testament that the Brits can still build high end popular cars to rival any manufacturer in the world.
That said, ironically the first impressions are, well, frankly very German. The feel is tight and precise, the build quality high and the largely aluminium body structure is a salute to Land Rover’s enduring engineering heritage.
The 2021 Jaguar F-PACE R-Dynamic S P250 is a joy to drive and has gained a real following in its homeland and abroad, with online chat groups raving about how ideal the car is as an everyday driver, balancing space without sacrificing driving dynamics.
The exterior is a subtle, shark like look with a nice blend of bulges and sharp angles that makes it undoubtedly one of the best looking cars in its class as well.
Powering our test vehicle was a remarkable turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine that has a low down pull like a diesel, ably assisted by spritely 8-speed automatic gearbox. A published 7.8-litres/100km equated to 8.8-litres/100km in real world conditions.
The easily engaged Sport mode makes the engine more spiteful and brings up an odometer on the head-up display. There’s a lot to love about its more aggressive nature, but it will certainly increase fuel usage along the way.
The fly-by-wire gear select system takes a little getting used to, but is a much more natural experience than the previous model’s rotary gear selector. Road lighting is a strong point too, making night driving a pleasurable experience.
The adaptive LED lighting makes dark back roads come alive. Optional low profile 20-inch 10-spoke wheels play their role as part of an advanced suspension and steering system as well.
The package includes torque vectoring by braking, and powerful 355mm front and 325mm rear discs. Something Jaguar calls All Surface Progress Control operates a low speed cruise control that enhances handling in low traction situations.
This impacts things like dirt roads and snow. It can of course be disengaged for traditionalists wanting more full control.
Inside the cabin, the seats are comfortable and supportive if not a bit firm, though granted this R-dynamic version is tuned for performance. The upgraded interior offers broad stitched, high quality leather, wrapped around everything.
A little optional wood panelling is a nice touch, and well worth the extra spend. Another nice touch are the multitude of subtle cabin lights that accentuate the interior landscape at night, making it easier to find your glasses, driving gloves or coffee cup.
Standard touches include a powered boot lid and polite approach lighting as well. This makes finding your way to the car in the dark a delight. The infotainment system is generously sized, and easy and intuitive to navigate.
It offers a range of controls, including a top quality reversing and parking camera system that somehow feels more intuitive than the physical mirrors. Finding the settings to stop all the annoying beeps and pings was a challenge though.
Which brings us to the optional upgraded 400W 13-speaker Meridian sound system, which provides a subliminal aural experience, and is so good that it’s well worth a long drive to listen to your favourite symphony or Queen album.
Naturally you’ll find all the mobile connectivity features you might expect, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also has a surprisingly useful voice control module.
The two-zone climate control is respectfully quiet and should be powerful enough to handle a full on Australian summer, though this test drive was done midwinter on the Australian east coast.
In chilly conditions, the leather was a little cold and a lack of seat warmers as standard was a little surprising. There’s plenty of room in the 650-litre boot, although that makes the back seats a little less leggy than they could have been.
When the rear seats are down, there’s a whopping 1,740-litres of cargo room. The F-PACE is full of safety technology, including tyre pressure monitoring, front and rear parking aid, emergency braking and traffic sign recognition.
It also comes with an adaptive speed limiter, something that potentially saves injuries, traffic fines and demerit points. The 2021 Jaguar F-PACE R-Dynamic S P250 has a starting price of just under $85,000 drive away.
Add in the technology pack fitted to our tester, that includes the head-up display we mentioned, wireless phone charging, a solar attenuating windscreen and interactive driver display, and that price balloons.
With Pirelli tyres, an upgraded Meridian sound system, privacy glass and fog lamps also included, that price jumps past $91,000 drive away. Cost aside, the latest generation F-PACE proves British engineering is alive and thriving.
It also showcases what is a genuine driver’s car, suited to those who love the feeling of hitting the tarmac with no plans, and following the winding back roads to where they may lead. It comes with a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty.
The 2021 Jaguar F-PACE R-Dynamic S P250 available in Narvik Black, Fuji White, Santorini Black, Yulong White, Firenze Red, Bluefire Blue, Eiger Grey, Portofino Blue, Hakuba Silver (as tested), Carpathian Grey, and Charente Grey.
There’s also some 15 SVO premium paints that will set you back as much as $14,600 extra. Colour choices in that palette includes Velocity Blue, Sorrento Yellow, British Racing Green and Atacama Orange.
Our test vehicle was provided by Jaguar Australia. To find out more about the 2021 Jaguar F-PACE R-Dynamic S P250, contact your local Jaguar dealer.