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Test driving the Jaguar F-Pace 3.OD AWD

The F-PACE takes the Jaguar DNA of legendary performance, handling and luxury, and adds practicality and space

 Pic/Sanjay Raikar

Long-bodied, stately elegant, low, and curvaceously wide: the F-Pace is only half of those things that have made Jaguars what they're known to be. Names like 'XK120' and 'E-Type' come to mind and the F-Pace reminds us none of those. What it does remind is an elegant, prettied-up Land Rover, which it isn't, of course. But it is a beautiful iteration of what Jaguar thinks the luxury SUV should be.

The F-Pace is a mash-up of ideas and philosophies no one in the West Midlands probably ever imagined would see the light of day. No, it isn't a sport utility vehicle trying to be a sports coupé while juggling four doors and a slanting roof-line, trying to appeal to the 18-year-old in an 80-year-old's body. Rather, it's a different direction for Jaguar: the J-LR board now taking J down the only road LR has ever known.

Some say that the F-Pace will rival the Macan. Yes, they're both not-so-large SUVs with extra-large price tags, but they're not all that similar. The Macan is not only smaller but also feels more compact inside. It's also less powerful, by 50 horsepower. The F-Pace manages to be softer, plusher and more luxury-oriented, more so than most Germans. It does stand as a proper rival to the Cayenne and the GLE-Class when it comes to comfort and luxury.

 Pic/Sanjay Raikar

The aggressive Jaguar styling is most certainly present, but it appears evolved, grown up and more purposeful. It's a beautiful car with flowing, muscular lines. The powerdome on the bonnet reassures you that the performance you crave for is indeed there. The big V6 turbo-diesel here is quick. The sleek LED headlamps are yet another contemporary element. The large grille makes it unmistakably Jag but the higher stance seems unfamiliar. This is the first Jag in the present line-up that doesn't frown at speed-humps; it boasts of a 213-mm ground clearance. The large wheel-arches house 19-inch wheels and the curvy rear end has a familiar LED-signature wrapped around its side.

Open the large doors and this big cat is an ocean of quality. None of the firmness of Land Rover exists in here. It's a plush interior with soft leather seats that cosset you in luxury. The seating position feels comfortable and can be further adjusted to fine-tune one's comfort zone. The glow of the ambient lighting is another element that attracts attention. It can be set to subtle shades of blue and violet or more evocative ones such as orange or red. The pulsating start/stop button always taps our fancy as well.

 Pic/Sanjay Raikar

It has a two-tone red and black layout for the dashboard and upholstery, with sporty red stitching against the black leather. Fit-and-finish levels are fantastic and the cabin feels exceptionally crafted. The centre console holds a wide touchscreen information console that integrates a smartphone interface, putting entertainment and communication at your fingertips. The huge folding glass roof also makes the cabin feel more airy and spacious.

The rear seats also offer ample room and has 650 litres of boot behind it. Should you require more storage room or versatility, the second row has a 40:20:40, three-way split-fold capability.

 Pic/Sanjay Raikar

At the heart of the F-Pace 3.0d R-Sport is the twin-turbocharged V6 also seen in the XJ. The 3.0-litre diesel puts out all of 300 PS and 700 Nm, flowing through all four wheels through a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission. The 'All Surface Progress Control' and 'Adaptive Surface Response' help getting a move on easily and flawlessly, modulating the power delivery and selecting the right gear depending on the type of surface.

The F-Pace is rear-biased and driver-oriented. The torque peaks from 2,000 rpm and that's where the whistle of the turbo-spool becomes slightly audible. It's quick, too; 300 PS isn't less by any means, nor is the 700 Nm of peak torque. It will go from standstill to 100 km/h in a meagre 7.5 seconds. Thank the 1,885-kg weight from the aluminium construction for that. Also thank it for the overall 9.0 km/l fuel efficiency figure. That stretches to 12 km/l on the highway.

Familiar hand-shake gear selector knob now joined by All Surface Progress Control and drive modes. Pic/Sanjay Raikar

Up to 90 per cent of the power is sent to the rear, but the same amount can be channelled to the front as and when required. The AWD F-Pace also features sensor-dependent adaptive damping that constantly monitors the car's physical and dynamic attributes. The ride is mostly on the softer side and there is a slight wallow every now and then around corners.

What is it that we don't like, then? Well, it's quite expensive. This R-Sport trim costs Rs 1.02 crore — excluding tax and insurance. In Pune that's about Rs 1.35 crore on-road. Steep? Yes. Worth it? We'll let you decide. It's an immensely capable luxury crossover SUV and, like Mark Webber in his Jaguar 14 years ago, it's a newcomer that comes in throwing punches and baring claws at the competition. It's good. Very good.

Specifications
Jaguar F-Pace 3.0d AWD R-Sport

Engine: 2,993 cc, V6, turbo-diesel
Fuel Efficiency: 9.0 km/l (overall)
Max Power: 300 PS at 4,000 rpm
Max Torque: 700 Nm at 2,000 rpm
Performance (0-100 km/h): 7.51 seconds
Transmission: Eight-speed, automatic, all-wheel-drive
Price: Rs 1.02 crore (ex-showroom, Mumbai)

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