The snow leopard is a big cat like the jaguar, except it is built to deal with snow.
The Jaguar F-Pace is the snow leopard of Jaguars. It has more than twice the ground clearance (8.3 inches) of an XJ sedan or an F-TYPE coupe. It comes standard with road-clawing (paved or not) all-wheel drive. And it offers a diesel engine with high gas mileage, which no rival offers.
What It Is
The F-Pace is a five-passenger luxury-sport crossover SUV.
It costs $42,065 for the base 25t trim. Equipped with the available turbodiesel engine, the price rises to $46,275. A top-of-the-line 35t Portfolio trim with a supercharged V-6 engine costs $63,200.
A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine replaces the supercharged V-6 as the standard F-Pace engine.
A V-6 and turbodiesel four-cylinder are available options.
Two new electronic driving aids have been added to the equipment roster: Forward Traffic Detection, a collision-avoidance technology; and Forward Vehicle Guidance, a parking-assist technology.
Diesel delivers near-hybrid fuel economy and range.
It has pulling power: With diesel power, the Jag's max tow rating is 5,290 pounds.
It costs thousands less than smaller rivals like the Porsche Macan.
What's Not So Good
Diesel fuel has become the most expensive fuel. It often costs more per gallon than unleaded premium.
Rear visibility is poor, having been sacrificed on the altar of good looks.
Under the Hood
The Jag's standard turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine has 247 horsepower and 269 foot-pounds of torque at 1,200 rpm. It is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and an all-wheel-drive system.
Equipped with this engine, the F-Pace goes from zero to 60 mph in about 6.3 seconds. The Environmental Protection Agency says this engine is good for 22 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway.
The next engine is a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6. It's available in 340 or 380 horsepower and (as with the turbo four) paired with the eight-speed automatic and full-time AWD.
Equipped with this engine, the Jag's zero to 60 mph run drops to about 5 seconds flat. Mileage also drops, but less than you might expect given the horsepower and performance uptick: The EPA says it gets 18 mpg city and 23 mpg highway.
The Jag can also be ordered -- uniquely in this class -- with a 2.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder. It has 180 horsepower and 318 foot-pounds of torque at 1,750 rpm. This engine emphasizes low-end grunt, pulling power and extremely long highway legs. It can travel almost 600 highway miles on a full tank; during a weeklong test-drive, I averaged almost 34 mpg.
On the Road
Miles per gallon probably isn't an economic issue for anyone with the means to buy a vehicle like the F-Pace. But miles in between fill-ups, that's something else. It's luxurious to be able to trundle along the highway for five or six hours without having to pit.
Also, there is so much torque on tap that there is an initial learning curve. You learn to push lightly on the accelerator. Give it the usual half push when the light goes green and you may be startled by how the front end lifts, how assertively the diesel-powered Jag jumps forward. But this is the good kind of "getting used to."
At the Curb
Though nominally a compact crossover, the F-Pace is closer to a midsized vehicle in function.
It is 186.3 inches long (the Porsche Macan is 184.3 inches long) and has 43 inches of legroom up front (the Macan has 41 inches). Second-row legroom is dead heat at 37 inches (the Porsche has 37.4 inches). But the Porsche 911-esque up-canted roofline allows a bit more usable headroom.
On the other hand, the Jag's extra length allows for significantly more cargo capacity: With the second row folded, it has 63.5 cubic feet, whereas the Macan has 53 cubic feet.
And the F-Pace has a bit more ground clearance: 8.3 inches versus 7.8 inches for the Porsche.
The Jag offers some unique and non-gimmicky features, such as a grid heater for the windshield (as in Land Rover SUVs), which helps de-ice and de-fog your windshield and back window.
There is also a Fitbit-like waterproof Activity Key bracelet that you can take with you while adventuring, so you can leave the non-waterproof ignition key safely locked inside the car.
The Bottom Line
It's not as quick as the Macan, but it'll go farther -- and for less.
Eric's new book, "Don't Get Taken for a Ride!" will be available soon. To find out more about Eric and read his past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.Copyright 2017 Creators Syndicate, Inc.