[dropcap]J[/dropcap]aguar may have been a decade late to the compact- luxury SUV segment, their reluctance over the years is probably because they had wanted to craft something as unique as I saw during the unveiling of Jaguar F-Pace on Thursday 21st July, 2016 at Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, courtesy of Coscharis Motors, Nigeria’s representative of Jaguar LandRover.
Walking into the hall, main launch venue, I beheld an object covered with pink linen, likened to a veiled bride, waiting for arrival of her groom. That was the F-Pace, waiting to reveal its sexy and athletic body style to Nigerian auto lovers.
Not long after the Master of Ceremony took the stage and a short speech delivered by Coscharis’ Deputy Managing Director, the veil got removed, amidst fireworks and thick silvery smoke.
First ever Sports Utility Vehicle from Jaguar was revealed. Its cool and glittering white skin stared guests and motoring journalists on their faces. Like Biblical Moses did towards the burning bush on month Sinai, I took some quick steps forward and got face-to-face with the elegantly styled auto machine, known as Jaguar F-Pace, a car said to combine the ability of an SUV and agility of a sports car.
If you want to be noticed, if you want your motoring presence to cause head-turning and attract attention, Jaguar F-Pace is it, for this car is unlike any other SUV brand. Standing at its front end, I noticed tinier and sexier lines running across the car. I also discerned, the car carries dual personality: It borrows its high shoulders from Jaguar F-Type and front end from Jaguar XF.
Sitting on 20-inch alloy wheels with Red brake callipers, F-pace, is not only equipped with Bi-function Xenon headlights with LED ‘J’ blade Daytime running lights, it also shows off metal tread-plates with S branding, body coloured front and rear bumpers with metal-look rub strip and fascia ascent chrome bumper insert.
Also the car is adorned with body coloured door handles and body coloured power heated auto dimming side mirrors with power folding and turn signal indicator.
The sporty and elegant looking car presents a picture of female athlete ready to run a hundred metre relay race. Though I have not test-driven it, F-Pace’s sporty and agile look as well as its combination of SUV performance and DNA of a sports car are sure to give it a unique presence and driving feel on the road.
Based on similar rear drive architecture of XE and XF sedans, F-Pace is said to have a body structure of 80% aluminium, which is also bound to enhance its pace on the road, and also increase its fuel economy. Being an SUV, Jaguar F Pace parades a higher ground clearance of 8.4mm, which will enhance its jungle ride ability.
And turning to its rear end, the F-Pace is equipped with power liftgate. Compared with rivals, it comes with significantly generous boot space, with luggage volume capacity of 650 litres (with rear seats up) and 1,740 litres (with rear seats folded), which explains the less rooming rear passenger legroom.
In essence, while its rivals could boast of bigger rear passenger space, an F-Pace owner has more room for family luggage, when travelling on a summer holiday or going camping.
And what’s more, its tow bar pops out and slides back into hiding, with simple touch of a control button inside the luggage compartment.
Comfort and Space
Sitting on the car’s perforated Taurus and 10-way electric front seat, I breathed an air of luxury. Who wouldn’t, when surrounded by opulent features, like meshed aluminium trim finish, bright sport pedals below my feet, satin chrome gearshift and suede-cloth headlining above my head? Oh yes, I won’t forget Dual zone Automatic air-conditioning, leather door trim insert, trip computer, outside temperature gauge, front centre armrest and air filtration.
F- Pace is adorned with latest in-car technology like Head-up display, Activity key and array of driving aids to make you relaxed while travelling. These aids include advanced Jaguar In Control system which connects you and the car to the outside world.
The launched version, F-Pace S, is powered by 3.0 Litre, supercharged V6, with a power of 380 horses put together (380hp), and mated to an 8-speed ZF Electronic Automatic transmission. I understand it creates a balance between power and economy.
I understand that EuroNCAP, the benchmark European crash testing organisation has not crash-tested the F-Pace. But given past records of Jaguar as well as safety features in the F-Pace, the car is most likely to achieve 5-star rating. For it is equipped with dual stage driver and passenger seat-mounted side airbags, side impact beams, as well as systems, which help prevent skids in straight lines and in corners and system which detects impending head-on crashes and prevents them.
For me, coming face to face with Jaguar F- Pace was a good experience. According to the General Manager, Corporate Communications of Coscharis Motors, Jaguar franchise dealer in Nigeria, Mr Abiona Babarinde, Jaguar F-PACE is a function of very strong and solid market research.
“We strongly believe that F-Pace will do well in our market, because of the peculiarity of our terrain,” he explained in an exclusive interview with Motoring World after the launch.
From all indications, Babarinde is right. Jaguar F-Pace is bound to do well not only in Nigerian terrain, but in all others around the world. And it would be more so, especially for those, who have equal love for sports cars and SUV. With low ride height, F-Pace has got a hidden advantage – ability to cruise into a sharp corner with less body roll, unlike the usual experience with SUVs.