I was going to start this post telling you how Jaguar tends to be thought of as an old man’s car. But as I bashed out the words on my keyboard they seemed far too familiar. I searched for my last piece on Jaguar, when I tested out the XE, and that was when I realised I had said something awfully similar leading in to that piece. The truth is the Jag does make us think of that elderly gentleman cruising down the highway on his way to the office. His crisp pressed shirt and polished shoes matching the wooden type finish of the car interior.
The Jaguar F-PACE is not that man’s car.
When Porsche announced their Cayenne, BMW dropped the X series on us and Audi threw in some Qs I chuckled. It seemed car manufacturers had picked up on the Bryanston soccer mom. Considering the number of Cayennes you see on our South African roads (with that very Bryanston soccer mom behind the wheel) it would seem most tapped in to the housewife/works from home/I drive it for safety female driver. When the invite for the Jaguar F-PACE arrived I presumed I’d be in for a similar marketing pitch: “Look at all the space in the back for your kids and your dog and your shopping!
I was wrong. The Jaguar F-PACE is not for the Bryanston soccer mom.
I like to stereotype the driver of a vehicle I test out. I think the F-PACE has two drivers. They’re the high achieving power couple you see at the gym. You know the ones I’m talking about, they look like they’ve walked off the pages of a magazine, well groomed and luxuriously dressed without being overly blingy (so you’ll never see them in the Evoque). They’re gyming in the morning, at the office before 7am and tend to get home after 8. Their weekends aren’t spent lazing in front of the couch but rather hitting the Cradle for some crazy mountain biking, or driving to the coast late Friday for a sneaky night at the beach.
They’re looking for a vehicle that is not only sporty and sexy on the trek to work in Sandton, but strong enough to handle their lifestyle outside of the office.
I think the glorious interior of the F-PACE speaks to that type of couple. Think soft chic leather seats and finishes with a touch of suede. The in-car technology lets you adjust the interior lighting to a variety of options – want slick purple down your doors? Or a sharp red hue? Simply adjust. That’s not the only thing the in-car tech does. Expect all the normal bells and whistles that come with car tech these days: head’s up display, driver assist and the option to fit the car with a sim card and turn it in to a WiFi Hotspot. There is also the option to sync a host of apps (Jaguar approved of course) to the on board entertainment system. Think driving around Parkhurst using Zomato to find the perfect place for a late lunch.
It’s the added extras you’ll love (or laugh at).
One of the things I really thought was clever was the emergency button the F-PACE offers. There is a button in the roof of the vehicle that can be pressed when emergency assistance is needed. Think break downs and car accidents. The car is fitted with a separate sim card and should you hit the button it will call the Jaguar partner call centre and get you the assistance you need. Alternatively, if the air bags should deploy it will log an accident with the centre immediately to ensure you get the help you need. I really liked this feature and think it should be standard in most vehicles.
The Jaguar F-PACE also connects to a smartphone app. The app allows you to control a host of the car’s features, helps you find it when parked, can be set to remind you not to forget your gym bag and even lets you start the car before getting in (a great feature for those 4:30 winter gym sessions). The app also integrates with your Apple Watch. So you could unlock your car via your watch.
Which brings me to the only thing about the Jaguar F-PACE I just don’t get. Their Activity Key. It’s a bracelet with NFC tech. You get out your car, leave your key in it, and then touch the bracelet to the J on the back of the car. It locks. When you return from whether do the same and it unlocks. Cool story, except you can do the exact same thing with your Apple Watch. When I mentioned this to the Jag gents they pointed out that locking and unlocking from the Apple Watch means the actual key is still active. So technically someone could break in and use your key to start the car, while the key is inactive when the bracelet is being used. The bracelet is waterproof up to 20m. It is also an add on to the vehicle at a cost of R4000. I can’t understand why Jaguar thought they needed a silly overpriced gimmick to sell a car that is just so incredible and stand out in its own right.
But I seem to be the only one. Most other media love the activity key, go figure. One of the Jaguar engineers did point out to me that the Land Rover Jaguar link means we will likely see more of this technology rolling out on the gritty brother. That I understand.
The engineer also walked me through the Aluminium body that the Jaguar F-PACE employs allows for a far sleeker driving experience. I never once felt like I was sitting in an SUV. In fact, I had the opportunity to take the F-PACE on a racetrack and it handles much like a sports car. It never felt once like it was “heavy” (which is the only way this non-petrolhead knows how to explain driving an SUV). The Aluminium body also allows for certain manufacturing benefits that, while profitable, lead to less carbon emissions and production strain. I’m getting environmentally sensitive in my old age (Off topic: Checkers mini groceries are the devil. The cost on the environment to manufacture those isn’t small and they’ll likely just get tossed. Yuck!).
Driving the Jaguar F-PACE is something special
Sitting next to a cocky racing driver while he tells you to open her up is something special but that wasn’t the only time the F-PACE impressed me. It’s a smooth ride on long road stretches and on gravel roads you barely feel the difference of the surfaces. There is little to no vibration through to the steering.
It’s a gorgeous piece of engineering that purrs and roars in all the right places. The design is typically Jag with the big cat type eyes for headlights. It reminded me somewhat of a BMW but that Jaguar grill is unmistakable. I think it looks far classier than most current SUVs and is definitely going to stand out on the road.
This is a special SUV.
I drove a few derivatives of the F-PACE and was impressed with all of them. I was specifically impressed with the Diesel which I thought handled really well and didn’t feel slower off the block. The Jaguar team had a goal to sell 600 F-PACE vehicles locally this year. They’ve already met that target on pre-sales alone which is impressive.
The following options are available:
- F-PACE PURE
- F-PACE R-SPORT (customisable sports trims and interiors)
- F-PACE S (3.0 litre V6 221kW Turbocharged Diesel or a 3.0 litre V6 280kW Supercharged Petrol Engine)
- F-PACE 1st Edition (custom design and high spec options. Available in a 3.0 litre V6 221kW Turbocharged Diesel or a 3.0 litre V6 280kW Supercharged PetrolEngine).
Pricing starts at around R777 000 with a top of the line F-PACE coming in at 1.3 mil.
There is this little part of me that imagines cruising to the sand dunes with my Tom Hardy look alike/significant other and his sexy British accent on our weekends off. I’m tapping away writing blog posts and he poking fun at me and giving me a hard time.
It’s a beautiful picture…. and it makes me want this car even more. The Jaguar F-PACE is the one you need to start saving for.
DISCLAIMER: Jaguar transported and covered accommodation for me in PE for 48 hours so I could drive the Jaguar F-PACE (on a track I might add. BEST DAY EVER!!!!).
Also thanks to Chantal at ChanniChic for help with the pics 🙂