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2018 Jaguar F-PACE: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader September 2017

In one year, the 2018 Jaguar F-PACE premium compact crossover has become a best-seller for this British marque. As more companies are making crossovers and incorporating qualities for which they're renowned, the competition heats up and the buyer becomes the real winner.

Which is what has happened with the F-PACE. Jaguar takes its own particular approaches to things like styling and handling. That first trait is apparent just by looking; the second is discovered by driving.

Beauty or beast -- you'll have your own opinions. But the F-PACE has a recognizable Jaguar character to its styling. It avoids the boxiness that afflicts the crossover genre yet still retains a decent level of practicality. We go deeper into the driving aspect below, but here's one crucial piece of information -- the F-PACE uses a lot of aluminum in its construction, including body panels and suspension parts. This use of lightweight metal keeps the center of gravity fairly low, bringing a benefit to the chassis.

The F-PACE is based on the same architecture as the XF midsize sedan, but Jaguar puts it as a rival to compact crossovers like the Audi Q5 and BMW X3.

What's New for 2018?

A new 2.0-liter turbo gasoline engine arrives, along with a new limited-edition trim level (the Portfolio), plus two new safety features as part of the 360-degree camera system. Later in the model year, a more powerful version of that new engine will go into models with the 30t designation.

What We Like

Styling; supercharged V6 engines; excellent road manners; passenger and cargo space

What We Don't

Some cabin materials lack the typical Jaguar classiness; rearview camera not standard in the base trim

How Much?

$43,060-$64,195

Fuel Economy

The base engine in the 25t is a new 2.0-liter 4-cylinder unit turbocharged to produce 247 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates fuel consumption at 24 miles per gallon in the city, 27 mpg on the highway and 24 mpg in combined driving.

In 20d versions is a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder diesel developing 180 hp and 317 lb-ft. It achieves 29 mpg city/26 mpg hwy/33 mpg combined.

Higher up the pecking order (in 35t and S versions) is a supercharged 3.0-liter V6. The 35t model enjoys 340 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. The S model has the same amount of torque, but horsepower is boosted to 380. The EPA declares 18 mpg city/23 mpg hwy/20 mpg combined for both versions.

The engine heading into 30t models (due later in the model year) is a version of that new 2.0-liter 4-cylinder unit in the 25t, but boosted to produce 296 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. There were no EPA figures available at the time of writing this review.

Every F-PACE has an 8-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive as standard.

Standard Features & Options

The 2018 Jaguar F-PACE comes in base, Premium, Prestige, R-Sport and S trim levels. The S is the only version to have the most powerful V6, while 20d and 35t models start at the Premium level. There's also a limited-edition Portfolio version for the 35t only.

The F-PACE 25t ($43,060) has the 2.0-liter gasoline engine. A power lift gate is standard, along with 18-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, keyless ignition/entry, dual-zone climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, 8-way power-adjustable front seats, simulated leather upholstery, rain-sensing wipers, LED running lights, a self-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth, a 380-watt/11-speaker audio system, USB, HD Radio and an auxiliary audio input.

The Premium ($45,770) comes with 19-in alloy wheels, memory settings for the driver's seat, a rearview camera and self-dimming/power-folding side mirrors.

The Prestige ($50,120) adds real leather upholstery and heated/ventilated front seats with 4-way power-adjustable lumbar, heated rear outboard seats, a heated windshield and steering wheel (which becomes power-adjustable), and parking sensors front and rear.

The R-Sport ($55,170) rolls on 20-in alloys and incorporates blind spot monitoring, lane-keeping assistance, forward-collision mitigation with automatic braking, sportier front seats, fog lamps, and headlights with automatic high beams.

The F-PACE 20d Premium ($47,270) starts off the diesel-powered variants, skipping the base level and going up to the R-Sport.

The S ($58,770) brings the more powerful V6 into the engine bay, while an adaptive suspension is also added. Otherwise, the equipment list is similar to the R-Sport's.

The 35t Portfolio ($64,195) adds a gesture-controlled tailgate and power-reclining rear seats to what is essentially the Prestige's inventory.

As is usually the case, much of the standard equipment in the higher trims is available at extra cost in less expensive variants. Many safety features are only obtainable with the top trims, however. The Driver Assistance package comes with advanced driver aids, which include a 360-degree camera system. This is where the two new safety tech features are found. The first is Forward Traffic Detection, which detects things crossing the vehicle's path; the second is Forward Vehicle Guidance, providing an image and distance reading that will help with tight parking maneuvers.

Other options include 22-in wheels (which will have a negative effect on ride comfort), quad-zone automatic climate control, navigation, a 10.2-in touchscreen, an 825-watt/17-speaker Surround Sound system, a Wi-Fi hot spot, a perpendicular/parallel self-parking function, and a head-up display that's laser-based (rather than LED) so drivers can wear polarized sunglasses and still be able to read it. Prestige, R-Sport and S trims also offer a TFT/LCD instrument display.

One noteworthy option is the Activity Key. It's worn on the wrist and looks like a fitness gadget; it's waterproof and shockproof, so it can be worn while surfing or rock climbing, etc. It enables the user to leave the usual key in the vehicle, then the vehicle is locked by placing the Activity Key on the J of the tailgate's Jaguar badge. It doesn't need a battery.

A 30t range with the more powerful 4-cylinder engine is planned to replace the V6-powered 35t models at some point in 2018. Pricing will be announced nearer that time.

Cargo space with the rear seats in place is 33.5 cu ft., 63.5 cu ft. when they're folded down (they create a flat loadspace floor). Both figures have the edge over the Q5 and X3. The mat here has carpet on one side and a washable rubberized surface on the other. Maximum towing capacity is 5,290 pounds.

Safety

The F-PACE has not yet been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

It's a shame the rearview camera is optional for the entry-level model. But the F-PACE does include full-length side-curtain airbags in its array of standard safety features. The more advanced stuff, such as adaptive cruise control and road-sign recognition, is optional in the higher trims.

Behind the Wheel

Space for people, front and rear, is excellent. A clever yet subtle piece of packaging is that the F-PACE is slightly wider than the XF sedan on which it's based. The payoff comes in the form of generous shoulder/hip room and a really stable road stance.

We mentioned earlier that the F-PACE has some typical Jaguar traits. One of them is a chassis that's composed and poised, but not in the least bit jiggly or harsh. The lowish center of gravity certainly helps. And that's despite an elevated driving position along with a relatively generous ground clearance of 8.4 inches. Should anyone want to take their F-PACE crossover for some mild off-roading, that figure is good to know. Jaguar's sister company, Land Rover, has contributed a little expertise in the form of All-Surface Progress Control, which is like a slow-motion cruise control for when things get tricky underfoot.

Handling is further enhanced by Jaguar's "torque vectoring by braking" system, which will subtly apply the brakes to one or some wheels to maintain the desired line through a corner. This is a crossover with the talents of a sport sedan. Should Jaguar ever want to create a hard-core high-performance version, it has an excellent base on which to build.

Other Cars to Consider

2018 Audi Q5 -- A new generation debuts for 2018. The first generation was talented and popular, and this second wave looks to repeat the formula.

2018 BMW X3 -- All-new for 2018. Should be like its predecessor -- superb to drive, well packaged, extremely practical and a little pricey.

2018 Lexus NX -- Great build quality. Not that inspiring to drive.

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class -- Based on the excellent C-Class sedan platform. Classy, slightly understated, yet well-equipped for the price.

Used Porsche Macan -- The F-PACE was benchmarked against the Macan when Jaguar was tuning the suspension. The Porsche is more expensive as a new vehicle, but a recent certified pre-owned (CPO) version is absolutely worth checking out.

Autotrader's Advice

Prestige trims have an acceptable level of equipment to still feel luxurious, and prices compare well with the competition. The 35t (with the 340-hp supercharged V6) is going to be replaced. So now might be the time to grab a version with this excellent engine, while someone wanting the very latest version should wait until sometime in 2018.

Find a Jaguar F-PACE for sale

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New 2018 Jaguar F-PACE
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New 2018 Jaguar F-PACE Premium
New 2018 Jaguar F-PACE
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New 2018 Jaguar F-PACE Premium
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2018 Jaguar F-PACE: New Car Review - Autotrader