Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been?

by Petrol Mum

The new Jaguar F-PACE is more luxurious and connected than ever before and the introduction of MHEV (mild hybrid) technology has improved performance of this high-end SUV. The F-PACE trim levels are designated by S, SE and HSE and there is a selection of petrol and a diesel engine to choose from. While all variants available in Australia now come standard with R-Dynamic specification for a more performance-focused look.

I recently drove a nicely specced 21MY F-PACE R-Dynamic SE P400 that transported me back to the mother country with its elegance and style. I love the assertive exterior look of the new F-PACE and my SUV also had the optional Black Exterior Pack ($1,430) fitted, which delivers an even more dynamic appearance with elements such as the grille, side vents and window arches finished in Gloss Black.

The interior has also been treated to a very smart looking makeover befitting the standard of an SUV such as the F-PACE.  The centrally-mounted 11.4-inch curved-glass HD touchscreen gives users control of the new Pivi Pro infotainment system. This is complimented by the reshaped gear selector and the sporty R-Dynamic branded leather steering wheel with tactile metal paddle shifters. My F-PACE had the optional Technology Pack ($2,480) that includes a digital driver’s dash and head-up display.

Like all Jags the voice control button on the steering wheel has a feminine silhouette that matches the assistant who greets you when you press the button. This is about the only positive aspect of the voice control system though and although it is a little more intelligent than the outgoing Jag system, it certainly is not as good as its rivals. For the first day the voice control assistant didn’t even acknowledge my commands and once it did get used to me, I found that I could not set a destination on the sat nav using it and it would not dial a phone number for me because my phone contacts were not synced. I was able though to use the voice assistant to change the media and adjust the temperature for the climate control.

The Mars Red perforated grained leather sport seats look and smell great and are a no cost option on the SE trim level. Front seats come with 16-way electric driver and passenger memory front seats with 2-way manual headrests, which are embossed with a beautiful leaping jaguar for an extra special touch. Jag has taken a minimalist approach with the two-zone climate control and you use the same rotary controller to alter both the temp and air speed, with the latter adjusted by pulling the controller. To me it felt like this was a clumsy procedure and that the controller was not robust enough to handle the operation in the long-term plus I didn’t like that the gloss black finish surrounding the controller because it got bad finger-marks on it. Another new feature on the F-PACE is an ECO assistant that indicates where your energy is being used and considering we have been having cold mornings, it was the cabin heating having the greatest impact.

Storage options are plentiful in the F-PACE, starting with good-sized drink bottle holders in the front door cubbies and a cooled glovebox ($840 option). Under the arm rest is felt lined to prevent rattles and in here you will find one USB-C port, one USB port and a 12V outlet. Under the sliding centre console cover there are three different sized cup holders, one being small enough for a takeaway espresso cup and this area is lined with a removable rubber mat for easy cleaning. Next to the cup holders is an area for your phone with a 12V outlet or alternatively there is wireless charging at the front of the centre console for compatible devices (part of the Technology Pack).

I found the ride quality of the F-PACE to be pleasant and the cabin was very quiet, possibly due to the active noise cancellation included with the optional Meridian Sound System ($1,560). The cabin silence was only broken when I cranked up that 400W, 13 speaker system while enjoying my favourite music, which can be sourced from AM/FM, DAB, iPod integration, Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto that is now fitted to all F-PACE models.

The SE variant comes standard with both the Adaptive Dynamics suspension system and Configurable Dynamics. Ride comfort is supple thanks to the Adaptive Dynamics constantly analysing acceleration, steering, throttle and brake pedal inputs along with roll and pitch then using these inputs to continually alter damper stiffness to maximise comfort and control. Configurable Dynamics enable the driver to set up the vehicle to suit personal preferences with a choice of Comfort or Dynamic settings applied to the throttle mapping, gear shift points, steering effort and suspension. A stopwatch, G-Meter and pedal graph also help the driver to monitor performance in Dynamic mode.

I liked how the drive mode selector ‘popped up’ for me to choose between Dynamic, Comfort, Eco and AdSR mode. AdSR stands for Adaptive Surface Response, it’s a $310 option on the SE and is used for adverse driving conditions like rain, snow and ice. I used AdSR when I navigated across a deep puddle and although I made it through without any issues it felt like this pussy cat didn’t like getting its optional 22” wheels with Pirelli P Zero tyres muddy.

The P400 comes with intelligent All-Wheel Drive and a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission paired with a 3.0 litre, in-line six-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine that produces 294kW (400PS) of power and 550Nm of torque. The advanced MHEV technology uses a Belt integrated Starter Generator (BiSG) to harvest energy usually lost when slowing and braking. This energy is then stored in a separate 48V lithium-ion battery before being intelligently redeployed to assist the engine when accelerating away by delivering almost instant boost pressure to the electric supercharger’s compressor. The result does not appear to improve fuel economy, but does mean the F-PACE is capable of doing 0-100km/h in an impressive 5.4 seconds. The official combined fuel economy for the P400 is 8.7l/100km and for my week with the F-PACE I used 14.2L/100km.

All new F-PACE models now come with an advanced driver assistance system including Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist, Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Collision Monitor, Rear Traffic Monitor, Traffic Sign Recognition and Emergency Braking. Passive safety includes front airbags, with passenger seat occupant detector, front side airbags and full-length side window curtain airbag. The 3D Surround Camera system is excellent and gives you the option to select from different cameras to virtually ‘walk around’ the SUV. The camera is combined with front and rear sensors and if an object is detected, even when you are not in reverse gear, the camera display pops up on the infotainment system and you can see what is near you. All variants of the F-PACE model range have a 5-star ANCAP safety rating (2017) with an adult occupant protection rating of 35.5 out of 38 (93%) and a child occupant protection rating of 42.0 out of 49 (85%).

Rear seat passengers get to enjoy the beautiful interior features as well with the door trims and leather seats the same quality as for those occupying the front seats. If you are carrying adult passengers in the rear seats they may find that leg room is a bit limited, but headroom of adequate and if you have small children there are two ISOFIX/two rear tether child seat restraint points. The centre seat folds down as an arm rest with two shallow drink holders at the front of it and there is good-sized drink bottle storage in the door cubbies. Rear passengers get two central air vents with separate on/off and direction control and below these there is one USB port.

The F-PACE boot is quite large and you should be able to fit a pram and the weekly shop in it and if you need extra space the rear seats have a 40:20:40 split folding mechanism. The power operated boot can be opened and closed using the key fob (only when vehicle is off), or by using the button under the boot lid or the button in the cabin. There are four tie down points, six hooks, two lights and one 12V outlet located in the boot and under the boot floor there is a temporary use spare tyre.

All new Jaguar vehicles sold now come with a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty with 5 years roadside assistance. A 5 years/ 102,000km (whichever occurs first) service plan that covers standard service costs during this period can be purchased upfront and for the F-PACE this costs $1,950. Like other automotive manufacturers, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) are currently experiencing some Covid-19 supply chain disruption, including the global availability of semi-conductors, which is having an impact on production.  As a result, they have adjusted production schedules for certain vehicles which means that some of their manufacturing sites will be operating some limited periods of planned non-production. JLR Australia continue to see strong customer demand for their range of vehicles and are working closely with affected suppliers to resolve the issues and minimise the impact on customer orders wherever possible.

More than ever the new Jaguar F-PACE represents a very luxury English SUV experience and keen drivers will be more than impressed by this pussy cat’s athletic capabilities. Prices for the 21MY Jaguar F-PACE R-Dynamic SE P400 start at $98,654 plus on-road costs and as tested the F-PACE I drove was $117,498 plus on-roads. Visit your preferred Jaguar retailer for more information or locate your F-PACE on-line using Jaguar’s new Find & Reserve facility.

Elegant exterior and interior designVoice control not up to current standard for luxury cars
Quiet cabinClimate rotary controllers feel flimsy
Energetic engine performanceThirsty engine

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.

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