2019 Jaguar F-PACE 25d R-Sport review (video)

For whatever reason, a few years ago we began witnessing a trend that saw the car buying public gravitate away from any other segment of the market firmly toward SUVs. Nowadays there’s an SUV in every shape and size, for most budgets out there. Manufacturers that previously had no interest in producing an SUV were suddenly scrambling over each other to capture their sweet slice of that pie.

This brings us onto Jaguar, who brought out the F-PACE a quite few years ago now. It’s been the bread and butter item for JLR, and currently the second best-selling model in Australia only behind the E-PACE small SUV.

There’s more than a dozen F-PACE variants currently available, spread across a number of trim and engine variants. We thought we’d put the 25d R-Sport through its paces (no pun intended) to see what’s what.

2019 Jaguar F-PACE 25d R-Sport – THE SPECS

Engine: 2.0-litre twin-turbo four-cylinder
Output: 177kW@4000rpm / 500Nm@1500rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed auto
Drive type: All-wheel drive
Wheels: F & R: 19×8.5, 255/55
ANCAP: Five stars
Tare weight: 1758kg
Power-to-weight: 9.93:1 (kg:kW)
Official fuel economy: 6.8L/100km
Economy during test: 8.5L/100km
Fuel capacity/Type: 60L/Diesel

Power efficiency: 26.02kW:L/100km
0-60km/h: 3.39 seconds*
0-100km/h: 7.60 seconds*
60-110km/h: 5.65 seconds*
1/8 mile: 10.07 seconds at 116.2km/h*
1/4 mile: 15.58 seconds at 144.8km/h*
Max acceleration: 0.795g
100-0km/h braking: 2.90 seconds at 36.92 metres*
Max deceleration: -1.239g
Decibel at idle: 46*
Peak decibel at 60-100km/h: 80*
Priced from: $91,925

* Figures as tested by PerformanceDrive on the day. Factory claims may be different

2019 Jaguar F-PACE 25d R-Sport – THE PACKAGE

We think it’s fair to say there are few people out there that will dislike the F-PACE’s styling. Jaguar has borrowed a number of cues from its gorgeous F-Type sportscar to give the F-PACE an aggressive and seductive aesthetic. And the final result is indeed a pretty package.

As is tradition with premium European cars, there’s an options list longer than Homer’s Odyssey; 80 options all up, some of which are eye-wateringly expensive. As standard, though, you’ll get an 11-speaker stereo system, 19-inch alloys, power adjustable seats, bi-xenon headlamps, keyless entry, leather trim with contrast stitching and some metallic or wood (Satin Grey Ash as tested) inserts for the central console and door lining. Heated seats, satellite navigation and Apple CarPlay – sorry Android users – are also standard.

One gripe we will raise is the amount of optional extras for a vehicle in this price range. Fortunately though Jaguar does offer a range of trim levels that bring in bundles of features. Here we’re looking at the R-Sport variant, which adds some tweaks to the body, some show-off badging, uprated headlamps and unique alloy wheels.

Inside, you’d be forgiven for being a little bit underwhelmed by the cabin technology compared with today’s benchmarks. However, it is an undeniably nice place to sit. This test vehicle features Oyster leather for the upholstery and stitched together with unusual-yet-convincing fluoro green stitching.

As for the dash, Jaguar is well due for an update we think. The 10.2-inch InControl Touch Pro touch-screen seems a bit lacking for modern graphics and it can be a bit fiddly to operate, while the instrument cluster, albeit sophisticated, retains old-school mechanical dials with only a digital screen in the middle. A full 12.3-inch digital screen is optional.

Around the cabin there’s ample amounts of space for passengers front and rear, with lots of storage options including a decent centre console box and cup holders. Full-sized passengers won’t be upset spending a few hours in the back on a road trip, either.

The driver gets their hands on a premium-finished leather steering wheel with flappy paddles and metal pedals. In the rear, there’s a large 650L boot to eat up all the sports gear, prams and bulky items you can throw at it, offering up to 1740L with the rear seats folded down. If you want a full-size spare wheel, there is an option but the default space drops to 463L.

In terms of safety, as standard you get autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning, lane departure warning and an array of airbags which culminate in the F-PACE receiving the full five-star ANCAP safety rating.

2019 Jaguar F-PACE 25d R-Sport – THE DRIVE

Underneath that large, stylish bonnet there’s a 2.0-litre twin-turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine. On the outset, it might not sound exciting. But Jaguar has tuned the unit up to 177kW and a very impressive 500Nm. The 0-100km/h time is a claimed 7.2 seconds and we tested it in 7.60 seconds. Thanks to those two turbochargers the F-PACE offers a wide torque range, with peak torque maintained up until the 4000rpm mark.

The eight-speed automatic transmission is right at home bumbling around the suburbs, but it can lack a sense of urgency. It likes to be in the higher gears as much as possible. That’s in the default normal driving mode anyway. Flick it over into Dynamic and it will hold gears but perhaps for too long, although it is definitely sportier.

The all-wheel drive configuration does give you the sense that you’re being pulled from the front, rather than pushed from behind and does lead to some understeer when you’re cornering very hard. The F-PACE does feel big, but thankfully Jaguar has put enough work in with the suspension and damper setup that the ride isn’t spoiled. In fact the ride is very comfortable, partly thanks to the tallish 255/55 tyres.

In the eastern suburbs of Sydney, known for having low quality road surfaces, the F-PACE eats up all the irregularities and transfers very little in the way of noise and vibration into the cabin. The insulation means you can cut off all disturbances of the outside world and only hear a minimal amount of the diesel powertrain rumbling and humming in the distance.

In terms of fuel economy we were hard-pressed to better – or even meet – the official ADR 6.8L/100km combined cycle figure; urban driving is rated at 8.1L/100km. We returned consistent figures in the mid-eights in combined conditions of highway, sitting in Sydney’s lovely traffic jams, and slow speed crawling.

2019 Jaguar F-PACE 25d R-Sport – THE VIDEO

2019 Jaguar F-PACE 25d R-Sport – THE VERDICT

There’s few logical reasons to buy this car, or indeed any of its competitors here in Australia, considering the premium and taxes we pay for the privilege. Something that sticks out in our mind, however, is that just returning it, there was a fleeting moment of sadness as we handed the keys back over. Normally we’re desensitised to new cars, and our first few days in the Jag were no different.

After a few more days, however, it began to really grow on us. This particular powertrain is a great option that offers both strong torque, good economy, and smooth and quiet motoring refinement. The styling is something that will leave few disappointed as well. Is it the pick of the litter? We’d probably fork over a little bit extra for the 221kW/700Nm 30d V6 powertrain, but we wouldn’t kick up too much of a fuss if we had to drive this day in and day out.

We like this SUV, and if you can afford it, you will too. Considering the 25d is smack bang in the middle of the range, you’ll benefit from the added features over the entry models, but without spending an arm and a leg. After all, it is a Jag, and on the otherwise mundane drive home on a Tuesday evening it will make you feel that little bit special.

PROS:
– Smooth, quiet and torquey powertrain
– Styling (subjective, but we feel as though you’ll agree)
– Good ride comfort and planted handling
– Plenty of options to provide exclusivity

CONS:
– Long options list can get daunting, and expensive
– Infotainment system is a bit dated compared with some rivals

As always, if you’re thinking about buying a new car don’t forget to click here to speak with our car buying specialists.

Alexi is a contributing news journalist and junior road tester at PerformanceDrive. He has a passion and appreciation for the engineering in cars, as well as new technologies that lessen the impact on the environment. His dream cars are an M3 to drive to work, and a LaFerrari for the weekend.