The Jaguar F-PACE is Jaguar’s first ever SUV and the brand is confidently billing it as ‘the practical sports car’.

On the surface at least, the styling of the new Jaguar F-Pace is every bit as evocative as a classic Jaguar sports car, with a level of drama and dynamism that is missing from many rivals. The big, upright grille and slim LED headlamps make a bold statement, while at the back there are many similarities to be drawn with the F-Type coupé. Not a bad thing at all!

Inside I think the F-Pace is best described as ‘modern luxury with a sports car feel’. The centre console has a slick design built around a touchscreen system to control media, Bluetooth connection and navigation. The cabin is awash with contemporary finishes and the overall quality secures the F-Pace’s position at the premium end of the mid-size SUV segment.

Jaguar F-Pace Review Ireland
The styling of the new F-Pace is every bit as evocative as a classic Jaguar sports car

The F-Pace was one of the most hotly anticipated new cars of 2016 and the build-up began long before the car premiered at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. Much was made of the F-Pace’s performance pedigree and certainly there is a sense that Jaguar put everything into the development of this car to make it special. The F-Pace has the same lightweight construction as the the XE and XF saloons and so is 80% aluminium. You can really get a sense of that car-like DNA when driving the F-Pace and also in the way you as a driver are positioned in the car in relation to the steering wheel, controls and pedals. The centre tunnel is also quite high for an SUV so it all enhances the sports car feel behind the wheel.

The F-Pace is available in two or four wheel drive and even four wheel drive models operate as rear wheel drive vehicles in normal driving conditions. It is a fantastic SUV to drive. The F-Pace has an athletic and playful character on the road that belies its sheer bulk. The steering is fluid and precise, and torque vectoring comes as standard so you can pull the F-Pace tightly into bends with a great deal of precision and there’s no loss of stability. It’s remarkably flat and balanced through corners for a high riding SUV. The suspension is firm enough to keep it tight in the corners, but there is also compliancy there to keep things mostly smooth and comfortable in the cabin.

Jaguar F-Pace Review Ireland
The interior of the new Jaguar F-Pace

In terms of engines, a 2.0-litre diesel with 180hp is the best for economy. For the more performance oriented buyer there is a 3.0-litre V6 diesel (300hp) and a 3.0-litre V6 petrol (380hp). My test car had the 2.0-litre diesel and an automatic transmission. It’s a quick, quiet and smooth combination. 0-100kmh is 8.7 seconds and motor tax is just €280 per year for the four wheel drive model. The official economy is close to 53mpg, while I returned 43mpg during my time with the car.

Elsewhere, the F-Pace is a spacious five seat family car with large footwells and a 650 litre boot. Pricing starts at €44,100 for rear wheel drive models and €47,800 for four wheel drive models. In Ireland, the F-Pace is available in SE, Prestige, R-Sport, S and Portfolio trims. Standard equipment includes keyless start, cruise control, climate control, four electric windows, electric parking brake, 18″ alloys, front fog lights, touchscreen infotainment and a host of safety equipment.

The V6 diesels start at €69,700, while the V6 petrols start at €78,000.

Jaguar F-Pace Review Ireland
Jaguar F-Pace: The 2.0-litre 180hp diesel is the best for economy

The new Jaguar F-Pace lives up to the hype, and really does deliver as a practical, fashionable and quite cool SUV. The 2.0-litre diesel might leave performance oriented buyers wanting but it ticks the boxes for efficiency and competitive pricing, and ensures that this car should easily find its market and really boost Jaguar sales.

But what sets the F-Pace apart is that it is a true driver’s car, and I didn’t think that was always possible with an SUV. The Jaguar F-Pace is an exciting SUV to drive and performs with the poise and intent of a much sportier vehicle. Jaguar has stayed true to their sports car roots in the development of their first ever SUV and it really shows in the new F-Pace.

Now watch my F-Pace video review:

Model tested: Jaguar F-Pace 2.0 AWD Prestige Auto
Price: €56,210 ( Range starts at €44,100)
2.0-litre turbo diesel
8.7 seconds
CO2 emissions:  
Tax band:
€280 per year

Caroline Kidd