Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: December 14, 2017
It is not everyday that I recommend a gasoline engine over a diesel one, especially when it comes to mid- or full-size SUVs. Ask me about the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE, or even the Range Rover, and I’d tell you to check the box for the diesel. But when it comes to the F-PACE, Jaguar’s sexy mid-size SUV meant to bring the fight to the Cadillac XT5, Porsche Macan, and Mercedes-Benz GLC, the measly 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel just doesn’t cut the mustard. Codenamed the 20d, it is the same powerplant found in the XE, and while it was perfectly acceptable in that lighter platform with its smaller footprint, it feels unwelcome here.
Producing 180 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque, the F-PACE 20d accelerates with purpose but doesn’t give off an athletic or lithe vibe. Simply put, it’s a lazy powertrain. Mid-range torque is punchy once the turbo wakes up but the worst part is predicting when it will even kick in, as it seemingly shows up out of nowhere. It’s a punch in the sternum, rather than a slow and gradual haymaker. To get the most out of the 20d, you have to keep it in Dynamic mode for a more sensitive throttle and more aggressive gear shifts.
The lack of performance is a shame because the F-PACE is a fantastic handling machine that defies the SUV stereotype. The chassis is so willing and playful, and the steering is beyond excellent for an electric setup, yet is let down by a scrimping and compromising diesel powertrain. It is just begging for the smoother, more powerful, and more refined 3.0-litre turbodiesel V6 from the Land Rover Discovery. I think only then, will the F-PACE diesel find the sweet balance between performance and fuel efficiency.
Perhaps I am just spoiled because I’ve driven the 380-hp F-PACE S model before, and I know how fun that chassis really is when it has a breathing supercharger up in front, but this diesel really throws away the fun in place of a mission for frugality. It will ferry you from A to B in a fashionable and characterful manner, but the fun factor is noticeably absent.
Luckily, there are two other gasoline four-cylinder engines to choose from that are not only more powerful, but also quicker in a straight line. We have yet to test them but we are confident that their fuel consumption numbers will not be too shabby. There is a 25t four cylinder that delivers 247-hp and 269 lb-ft, and gets from 0-100 km/h nearly two seconds quicker than the diesel. There is a more powerful 30t four cylinder too that produces 296 hp, and gets from 0-100 km/h nearly three seconds quicker.
That being said, the F-PACE is still a remarkable competitor in the crowded SUV space. Jaguar has nailed all the aesthetics down to the tee instilling British charm, an alluring greenhouse shape, a beautifully constructed interior, and a dynamic chassis to back it all up. This black on black configuration on our tester has me drooling too. I enjoyed how the heated seats and wheel got hot very quickly and actually stays hot, and the fullscreen digital map (the same found in Land Rovers) that turns the whole gauge cluster into a variation of Audi’s digital cockpit. This lets me keep my eyes on the road but have a large map just a short glance away for directional guidance. The configurable setup screen is a nice addition as well, allowing me to tailor the steering, suspension, gearbox, and power delivery to my liking. Most people take it for granted but it is really nice to have a soft suspension with tight steering.
When idling in cold weather, the F-PACE 20d experiences some chassis and body shaking in rhythm with the engine, and there is a lot of diesel chatter coming up through the phone line and penetrating through the firewall and into the cabin. You only hear it when the radio is off or if you are standing outside, but cabin insulation is impressive otherwise. These minor instances are short lived but for a $70,000 premium SUV, I expected more refinement, especially when you consider the fact that many F-PACE buyers will be new to the brand.
If you are deciding on an F-PACE, flock towards the gasoline variants. The diesel may have its uses and benefits, but it is hard to recommend unless fuel efficiency is of paramount importance. I’d take the 30t, hitting the sweet spot of 300 horses and having a premium of only $1,500 more than the diesel.
型号 Model: 2018 Jaguar F-PACE R-Sport 20d
顏色 Paint Type: Narvik Black
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $61,000
試車售價 Price as Tested: $69,460
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,874
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,731 / 2,070 / 1,651
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,775
引擎 Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel
最大馬力 Horsepower: 180 hp @ 4,000 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 317 lb-ft @ 1,750 - 2,500 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 8-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 8.9