When it comes to light, so-called certainties have never been worth much. But what had to be buried this year: “Brexit is not coming”, “Trump will never be president” or “Germany will be European champion”. And the year is not over yet. Fans in various brands also had a lot to put up with in the automotive sector, four-cylinder petrol engines from Porsche, for example, but above all SUVs from Alfa, Bentley and even Jaguar, Although, one could have guessed at least in the latter case. The brand was once not expected to introduce diesel engines or station wagons either. But do the manufacturers have a choice? Not really, too important and lucrative, the pseudo-off-roader market has become easy.
So now the F-Pace. The very name already suggests that the British want to focus primarily on the dynamic side. Because the “F” should definitely build a language bridge to the purebred F-Type sports car and “Pace” speaks - well - actually on its own. The design with the upright grill, the flowing, dynamic lines and even an aggressive, somehow pointed rear meets the expectations stoked by the model name.
The surprise is all the greater when you take a first ride with the F-Pace. The SUV is by no means excessively sporty or even hard-tuned, but offers real long-distance comfort (2,87 meter wheelbase!) And this without air suspension. On the other hand, this Jaguar - quite in the brand tradition - can of course do it differently. He drives, guided by precise steering and the efficient all-wheel drive, jagged around corners and the 300 PS diesel in our test car is beyond any doubt anyway. Despite the aluminum construction, the F-Pace in this variant weighs 1,9 tons, but both sprinting capacity (6,2 s at 100 km / h) and top speed (241 km / h) leave nothing to be desired. The ZF eight-speed automatic almost always optimally supports V6 and driver, usually selects the right gear and does without overly sporty shifting behavior. What we definitely want to understand as a compliment.
The space available also fits this ultimately pleasing suitability for everyday use, which we simply call “generous” in the absence of a more suitable adjective. You sit great in the back in two, even three are okay, certainly thanks to the record width of 1,94 meters (without exterior mirrors). However, which in turn increases the overall width including the exterior mirrors to almost 2,20 meters, it is also a nightmare for some drivers on the motorway construction site. In contrast to many other models in this category, there is a really large, usable trunk with a capacity of 650 liters, which can be expanded to over 1.700 liters by folding the backrests.
The main weakness of the F-Pace is not due to the vehicle itself, but to the Jaguar's typical, positively expressed extravagant operation. No driver has yet understood why the automatic system must be operated using the (slow) rotary knob. It is a good example of a gag at the expense of practicality. Because when maneuvering and the associated multiple changes between "D" and "R" in some cases, the button simply annoys. He also hooked up in the test car, could not be traced back twice from “D” to “P”, but did after switching off the engine.
Operating infotainment, telephone or navigation systems also requires some getting used to. And this despite the powerful 12,3-inch touchscreen built into our equipment. The navigation system even annoyed us a few times, in that it tried to steer us several times in an obviously wrong, because completely blocked, direction on the Kölner Ring, although there were better alternatives. The fully digital instruments, on the other hand, are now convincing because they are high-resolution and easy to read, even if some Jaguar fans surely linger behind the analog displays.
Overall, the F-Pace has already surprised us. Of course, the Jaguar engineers benefit from the SUV and all-wheel drive knowledge of the sister brand Land Rover. In fact, the mighty Briton does not look like the first product of a (sports car) brand in this segment, but rather very mature. A good SUV needs tradition and experience? Another supposed certainty that can be shelved this year. (Peter Eck / SP-X)