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Think Jaguar and it's cars like the XF and XJ that come to mind, two models totally synonymous with the brand's history. However, the British carmaker has been creating waves in the SUV market over recent years, and it all started with the F-Pace, first launched in 2016.
Based on the same lightweight architecture as the XE and XF, the F-Pace puts sporty handling and practicality at the top of its agenda, while providing company car drivers with a homegrown alternative to German big sellers like the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC.
Under the bonnet, our test car is the 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel with 180hp and 430Nm of torque. Jaguar Land Rover have invested heavily in advancing diesel technology over recent years, and the figures for a car of this size are very impressive: CO2 emissions of 139g/km and a combined fuel economy of 53.3mpg. Performance figures are far from shabby either, with this version of the F-Pace capable of completing the 0-62mph sprint in a sharp 8.7 seconds.
On the road, the F-Pace is able to prioritise sporty handling over comfort because of a clever chassis set-up that, when required, transfers torque to the front wheels. The steering is precise and there is plenty of grip on offer too, meaning you can tackle those rare S-bends with confidence. The F-Pace is also very capable off-road and comes fitted with Land Rover's Terrain Response system. Although we didn't take the F-Pace off-road this time, we have done previously and been impressed.
Although comfort has been sacrificed slightly, the F-Pace is still very good on the motorway and the suspension soaks up the majority of road imperfections. The only motorway disappointment is how loudly the diesel engine sounds in the cabin, especially during acceleration.
Lots of kit
You have a choice of four trims: Prestige, R-Sport, Portfolio and S. Our test car is in Portfolio spec, and comes loaded with standard equipment: leather seats (the nice latte colour in our car is a non-cost option), dual-zone climate control, a panoramic sunroof, 19in alloy wheels, reversing camera and 380-watt Meridian sound system.
There are loads of options on offer too, including our favourite, the Activity Key. It's a rubber wristband that enables keyless entry without requiring a physical key, like other systems. It's aimed at those sporty types who go surfing and have nowhere to put a key. But in truth, it will work equally well for a businessman leaving the house late for a meeting, or for a parent with children and without a spare pocket, hand or bag spare to store keys.
Other options include: the head-up display and an endless array of safety features with blind spot monitoring, queue assist and rear traffic detection are all worthwhile choices too.
Inside, the quality of materials is mostly good, with plush leather and wood inserts making a real impact. However, there are a couple of low quality plastics which drag the interior below its Audi and BMW rivals.
There's plenty of room for five inside the cabin, while the practical boot offers 650 litres of space - bigger than the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes GLC. Plus, the seats can be folded in a 40:20:40 split, meaning items up to 1.8m long can be transported. Need more space? The rear seats can easily be collapsed liberating a huge 1,740 litres of space.
Practicality doesn't end in the boot either. Inside the car is filled with cubbies, pockets and useful features so all five passengers should have somewhere to store their belongings and drinks and charge their various devices.
The only real let-down in the cabin is Jaguar's InControl infotainment system. Once a class leader, the system now feels dated in comparison to its rivals. That said, it is still easy to use and the large screen offers good graphics.
Jaguar has been on a resurgence of late and the desirable cars on display at showrooms are proving a hit with the buying public and company car drivers alike. Residual values back this up, with our car holding an impressive 45.3% of its value after three years and 60,000 miles.
As a result, whole-life costs are very impressive indeed, with our car costing less than 90p per-mile, a figure very few large premium SUVs can boast.
Overall the Jaguar F-Pace presents a great alternative to the German 'norm' and adds a little British class to this busy segment. Portfolio spec seems the best value for money option, and although the diesel is a little rough around the edges, it does provide a good balance of power and economy. For that reason it is our pick of the range.
Jaguar F-Pace 2.0d AWD Portfolio
P11D price: £43,575
Residual value: 45.3%
Service, maintenance and repair: £3,343
Cost per mile: 86.6ppm
Fuel consumption: 53.3mpg
CO2 (BIK Band): 139g/km (32%)
BIK 20/40% a month: £232/£465
Boot space: 650 litres
Engine size/power: 1999cc/180hp
Stylish design, large boot, sporty handling, good residual values
Noisy diesel, interior quality not as good as rivals