If you are going to buy a luxury SUV, then the F-Pace is a pretty good option, I guess.
It goes fast and drives well. I can’t find anything particularly wrong with it.
Put your foot down and it blasts off. Go round a corner and it sticks to the tarmac like glue.
I even drove a slalom course at Hampton Downs in it and was able to record the fastest time. Well, sort of. I was the first person to do the slalom and almost every subsequent driver was faster. In the end, I was third to slowest. But you take the wins where you can get them.
So why am I a tad ambivalent about this particular Jag? Initially, I didn’t really know. Maybe I was having a bad week. Maybe I am just a sad old motoring-writer git who has been privileged to drive so many great cars that now I am an entitled prick. Maybe both.
It took me a week or so after handing the F-Pace back to slowly come to realise the reason for my inner conflict. Through meditation, open and honest discussion with family, workmates and friends (sorry about that, folks) and the horror of an impending deadline, I have been able to glimpse my truth.
When the realisation happened, I understood I had known it all along. I am now in a much better space.
Reader, I am going to be honest for you. For god’s sake, Jaguar, stop making bloody SUVs and stick to your awesome sports cars and sedans.
There, I’ve spoken my truth.
In case you didn’t know it, Jaguar is part of a company called Jaguar Land Rover.
And Land Rover make the best SUVs. They are capable, fuel efficient and great to drive.
At the faster end of the spectrum, the company’s 2020 F-Type Jag is in my top-five cars ever driven. I am buying one when I win Lotto. At the track day I did the (initial) winning slalom in, I got the rare chance to drive the Jaguar Project 8 sedan – the fastest road-legal sedan ever built. It is one of only 300 made and is superb. On a shortened Hampton Downs track, where the straight had been closed to us, I could easily hit 187km/h within a few hundred metres, and then brake hard enough to cruise around a hairpin.
So why is Jaguar making SUVs – and not even bringing sedans into New Zealand any more? Put simply, lots and lots of people want to buy them.
I blame market economics and call for a complete overthrow of capitalism as we know it.
If you all stop buying the F-Pace in such vast numbers, and all buy the Range Rover Velar, then maybe Jaguar Land Rover would stick to its knitting and Jag could just make fast sports cars and sedans.
Please don’t buy this car.
I am passionate about a few car marques – and Jaguar is up there. My wedding car was my brother’s 1965 E-Type Roadster and I have always wanted any kind of Jag.
This means it makes me sad to think of the genius engineers and designers in Coventry trying to make an SUV special enough to carry the big cat badge.
So, let’s all send a message. Buy the Velar instead. Why? The F-Pace is built on the same platform as the Velar. It is effectively the same vehicle. They share engines. Both are built in the Jaguar Land Rover D7a aluminium-rich platform with identical wheel size and suspension. They have the same stereo.
The F-Pace price ranges from $99,990 for the R Dynamic S with a two-litre engine up to the SVR with a five-litre super-charged V8 at $169,900. The P400 I was driving is $136,000. On-road costs and options are all extra. The Velar is similarly priced.
In the interests of balance, Jaguar would point out that the F-Pace is the fastest-selling model in its history, with more than 500,000 sold since it launched in 2016. And that’s a fair point.
They’d also point out that the petrol P400 I drove has a three-litre six-cylinder engine with an electric super charger and twin turbos and it goes like a rocket. They’d be right on that, too.
And if I think it is not sporty, they’d point to its Intelligent Driveline Dynamics, which converts it from a fast SUV into an absolute performance powerhouse, and they’d be right on that, too.
Or how it’ll do 0-100km/h in 5.4 seconds, produce 294kW of power and 550Nm of torque, and that it can tow 2400kg, braked. Look, they’re right on that, too.
And I am starting to feel like I am losing this argument pretty quickly.