Gaze upon the face of the refreshed 2021 Jaguar F-Pace SUV and you’d hard-pressed to see the differences. Which makes total sense seeing as it is the automaker’s strongest seller. Who’s surprised? Not me, certainly. Why fix what isn’t broken?
Or at least, not broken by Jaguar Land Rover standards, and in America these days that company really seems to be largely sustained by the latter brand, not the former. The F-Pace may be a hit for Jaguar, but Audi still sold five times as many Q5s in 2020. Having said that, if you want a European luxury crossover that stands out from the endless sea of Q5s, X3s and RXs, the F-Pace has some upgrades that may put it on your list.
Announced in September, the 2021 F-Pace lineup now notably features a newly designed interior and the introduction of mild-hybrid engine options. Jaguar also strives for more simplicity with the new model. Before, Jaguar’s biggest crossover—there’s also the compact E-Pace and electric I-Pace, which remains not confusing at all—served up 12 different trims to choose from. Now there are only five—P250 base, P250 S, P340 S, P400 R-Dynamic S, and SVR—and that should make things far less confusing for consumers.
Otherwise, the F-Pace still seats five, and remains a competitor against various BMWs, Mercedes-Benzes, Lexuses and other luxury contenders in a crowded field.
2021 Jaguar F-Pace P400 R-Dynamic S: By the Numbers
- Base price (as tested): $66,350 ($82,245)
- Powertrain: 3.0-liter turbo- and supercharged mild-hybrid inline-six | 8-speed automatic | all-wheel drive
- Horsepower: 395 @ 5,500 rpm – 6,500 rpm
- Torque: 406 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm – 5,000 rpm
- 0-60 time: 5 seconds (est.)
- Curb weight: 4,471 pounds
- Towing capacity: 5,291 pounds
- Ground clearance: 8.4 inches
- Cargo volume: 26.6 cubic feet
- EPA fuel economy: 20 mpg city | 26 highway | 22 combined
- Quick take: A smooth and linear power delivery that blends with a plush interior gives the updated F-Pace P400 R-Dynamic S a good balance between luxury and performance.
If that spec-sheet didn’t already give it away, yes, the car Jaguar loaned me was indeed the new and nearly range-topping P400 R-Dynamic S version of the F-Pace. Like the rest of the updated F-Pace models, its interior has been updated with a redesigned leather steering wheel, a different drive selector (I do NOT miss the rotary gear selector), a bigger driver information display, an 11.4-inch center console touchscreen, and Jaguar’s pouncing jaguar logo embossed onto the headrests.
Outside, Jaguar’s designers further streamlined the SUV’s front and rear bumpers, redesigned its hood, and gave it new LED DRLs in attractive Double J-Blade shape. So don’t worry. It’s still handsome.
No Interruptions in Power
Here’s a full disclosure for the sake of transparency. I drove this car recently at a one-day Jaguar Land Rover event that also packed in the 2021 Jaguar XF (review incoming!) and the 2021 Land Rover Defender 90 (review also incoming!). As a result, I only got about 45 minutes of seat time in each car, so this first-drive review will be a cursory one.
Having leaped out of the XF sedan and right into the F-Pace, the tangible difference in weight was immediate. I could feel it in the corners, acceleration, braking, and steering. This is not to say the F-Pace was at all bad at the aforementioned things. I was just very aware I was driving around a hefty vehicle. But it’s a substantive kind of heft, one where you feel planted and stable and confident that the big thing at your fingertips won’t do anything unexpected, like flip over or go all wobbly in the corners.
On this front, the well-weighted steering never felt at odds with the Jag. So many electronically assisted steering systems on luxury SUVs become feather-light at low speeds because for some reason automakers think buyers don’t like putting in the effort to steer their cars or something. Happily, the F-Pace forgoes such shenanigans. The steering will always offer good resistance whether you’re parallel parking or nosing the SUV briskly around a back road.
Thanks to the super- and turbocharged inline-six and the 48-volt mild-hybrid system that recycles energy into improving acceleration, the F-Pace has smoothly linear acceleration that pulls powerfully up the rev-range. The exhaust makes a velvety and pleasant BMW-ish noise behind you. The power is sent to all four wheels via a slick ZF eight-speed automatic which, as I’m sure you’re aware at this point, is one of the best in the business.
In a straight line, the F-Pace fires forward with the force of a small cannonball. It’s not face-melting by any means but it’s manageable power, meaning that you can both have some fun and not get immediately pulled over because the speedo climbed faster than you’d bargained for. With the paddles, you can flick pretty rapidly between gears, dip into the throttle, and be off. The F-Pace handles faster, curved roads with semi-sportscar-like willingness; this is to say it’ll do the cornering, you just have to remember you’re in something taller.
I particularly approved of being able to raise the driver’s seat quite high. With its small windows and thick A-pillars, the F-Pace is a lot of car to see around, but I was able to navigate it through town without any issues because I could see clearly down the hood. (Rear visibility isn’t quite as accomodating.) The interior materials felt suitably luxurious, and the gorgeous butterscotch-colored extended leather package matched with the royal blue exterior paint.
Priced in the Middle
A base, completely un-optioned F-Pace P400 R-Dynamic S will start at $66,350. Its standard features include the 395-HP engine, all-wheel drive, 19-inch wheels, a sliding panoramic roof, heated and powered front seats, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, a surround camera, blind-spot monitoring assist, lane-keep assist, traffic sign recognition, and adaptive speed limiter.
The review car had quite a few additional options. Options like the hot climate pack ($2,110), premium upgrade interior pack ($2,220), 14-way performance heated and cooled memory front seats ($2,925), 21-inch 10-spoke wheels ($2,000), heads-up display ($1,010), and privacy glass ($200). And, yes, the pretty leather and exterior paint cost an extra $760 and $610, respectively. All told, the final price of the review car came to $82,245.
But consider this: A base F-Pace starts at $51,145, which means it’s priced lower than the BMW X4 and Porsche Macan, yet higher than the Mercedes GLC, Audi Q5, and BMW X3. Its standard features include heated front seats, the Meridian sound system, wireless device charging, blind-spot assist, rear-traffic monitor, a 3D-surround camera, the 11.4-inch touchscreen, as well as the very recently updated interior and exterior.
Against a base Macan, which is shockingly excellent, the F-Pace is admittedly a hard sell. But it is indisputably handsome—nonfussy, with flowing lines and perhaps the best-looking in its class. Its interior leans more toward material richness instead of sparse performance and the overall vehicle starts at a lower price.
If you’re tired of seeing German SUVs everywhere you look, the F-Pace offers a different take on the luxury European SUV.
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