If a storied car brand is going to introduce any kind of “first,” it had better knock it out of the park. That’s why, even with more than 80 years of experience in the luxury game, Jaguar left nothing to chance when developing the 2017 F-PACE, the first SUV to wear the British nameplate. This burly, somewhat peacocky ride comes at a time when the world is already full of powerful status SUVs, including the Porsche Macan and the Audi Q5. And the F-PACE is about as muscular as a British ride gets.
From interior details to overall performance, Jag’s design team spared no expense in positioning the F-PACE as a major contender in the segment, drawing on the company’s racing-influenced F-TYPE coupe for inspiration. The car’s most striking feature is its muscular profile, accented with bulging rear-wheel arches that give the SUV a true catlike appeal, especially in the black-on-black 35t R-Sport (pictured), one of six styles offered.
The optional black package, which comes with special black-metallic paint, gloss-black roof rails and 22-inch contrasting alloy wheels, makes the F-PACE impossible to ignore even if you aren’t a fan of Jaguar.
Inside, it builds on that appeal with a mix of luxury and practicality that doesn’t leave you feeling you’ve had to sacrifice the functionality of a midsize SUV when opting for a more premium experience.
The seamless integration of features—such as the twin cup holders and the 12-volt socket—into the interior design is as much a part of the F-PACE’s appeal as the etched-aluminum veneer trim. But one of the coolest interior selling points is the optional InControl Touch Pro infotainment system, which features a 10.2-inch touch screen that functions like a tablet with the ability to customize the home screen and add widgets.
Still, not until you put the all-wheel-drive F-PACE (available in three engine options) through its paces on roads like those mapped out for our test run in Aspen, Colorado can you fully appreciate what this new Jag brings to the luxury segment. After all, what better way to gauge the true worth of a $40,000-plus luxe SUV than by powering it along winding mountain roads at elevations of up to 12,000 feet above the tree line?
The F-PACE proves to be just as capable off-road, which makes it an even worthier contender in the world of luxury, considering so many new vehicles badged as SUVs fail to live up to the label.