2021 Jaguar F-Pace

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2021 Jaguar F-Pace First Drive Review: Luxury Refined

by Jake Lingeman

We haven't heard too much about Jaguar recently. We know it canceled the big electric version of the XJ sedan and it refreshed the fabulous F-Type last year. But besides 2020's pandemic sales, it has been gaining ground in North America for a decade. A big part of that reason is the mid-sized F-Pace SUV, which does battle in the popular premium midsize segment against players like the BMW X3, the Audi Q5, the Porsche Macan, and the Mercedes-Benz GLC.

The sporty Jaguar F-Pace got a mid-cycle redesign for the 2021 model year, and while the exterior may look very similar, the bulk of the upgrades went into the cabin. Here, it gets a bunch of new interior features including a new infotainment system called Pivi. Outside, the sheet metal was updated, but very gently, and under the hood, there's no longer a diesel option. Jaguar has cut the trims from 12 to just five - including the SVR - and to show off the refreshed lineup, we were invited for a drive.

Is the 2021 Jaguar F-Pace a good SUV?

  • Exterior Design 10 /10
  • Performance 8 /10
  • Fuel Economy 8 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 8 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 9 /10
  • Reliability 7 /10
  • Safety 8 /10
  • Value For Money 9 /10
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2021 Jaguar F-Pace Models

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
P250 S
3.0L Turbo Inline-6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
P340 S
3.0L Turbo Inline-6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
P400 R-Dynamic S
3.0L Turbo Inline-6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive

See all Trims and Specs

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Exterior: A Gentle Evolution

You could be excused for not being able to tell if this is a 2020 or 2021 Jaguar F-Pace as the changes were minimal. It still looks great with the dual exhaust finishers, LED head and taillights, and a curvy but brawny nose. But Jaguar wanted to tighten it up, just a little.

It started with new wheel designs. Jag also added three new paint colors, offering some from the F-Pace SVR's playbook. As for the design itself, a gently redesigned hood and mildly sliced-up bumpers result in better aerodynamics than the previous model. The biggest update is the new headlight design with double J-Blade DRLs and Chicane-style taillights.

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Engine, Performance, & MPG: Powerful and Efficient

The F-Pace is again offered with three engines but as mentioned, the diesel is gone here in the States. The two base models get a turbocharged 2.0-liter Ingenium four-pot making 246 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. The P340 S gets a turbocharged inline-6 with an electric supercharger and a mild-hybrid system making 335 hp and 354 lb-ft and the top of the line P400 R-Dynamics S comes with the same I6 but tuned to 395 hp and 406 lb-ft.

All F-Pace SUVs are all-wheel drive and all come with an eight-speed automatic by ZF. Jag notes that the base models have a 6.9-second sprint to 60 mph. That drops to 5.8 seconds in the P340 model and 5.1 seconds on the P400. Top speeds are 135 mph, 149 mph and 155 mph, respectively. Jaguar told us that, with this new F-Pace, it was not trying to compete with the fast versions of its competitors.

We don't have EPA fuel mileage for the four-cylinder version, but the 2020 model came back with a combined rating of 24 mpg. The new P340 S achieves 20/27/22 mpg city/highway/combined and the P400 manages 20/26/22 mpg.

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Driving Impressions

We tested the midgrade F-Pace with the 335-hp mild-hybrid 6-cylinder. This is a commuter car, so Jag put us on local streets and highways at around midday, avoiding long, sweeping curves or mountain passes. Instead, it handled the humdrum of daily life with aplomb.

Power from that I6 is just right for this midsize application - there was a 395-hp example right next to our tester, but we see no reason one would need that extra power in a vehicle like this. The 'base' 6-cylinder feels almost turbo-diesel-like in its power delivery, with a whoosh of torque delivered strongly. The eight-speed automatic is great, and with the dedicated S mode engaged, shifts are sped up, whether automatically plated up or prompted with the newly designed paddles. As with the rest of the lineup, the F-Pace has dynamic, normal, and eco modes, as well as a dedicated S mode for the transmission, that tailor the engine's power delivery.

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With the medium-soft suspension, body movements aren't quite disguised as well as we'd hoped they might be. The nose lifts quite a bit on acceleration and dives hard under braking. Speaking of the brakes, the initial bite is good, but you really have to mash the pedal to get it to a full stop. We like our brakes a little stiffer, if just for confidence's sake; there isn't ever a real problem stopping, it's just something we had to get used to.

Initial turn-in is a little slow for our liking, but the non-adjustable suspension hunkers down nicely when accelerating around an expressway cloverleaf entrance. Like previous Jaguar's we've tested, in normal conditions, the suspension provides a good mix of comfort and handling, even over rough railroad crossings and dirt roads. It's not meant to be a hot hatch, and it isn't.

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Interior: Better, Softer, Cooler

Inside is where Jaguar will surprise and delight buyers. The tester we drove featured a new, beige leather color with diamond stitching and perforations in the seats. Everything is stitched together beautifully, with the accent color dash covering featuring a double stitch.

Compared to the pre-facelift models, the F-Pace has lost the rotary dial shifter in favor of a more traditional lever, though it's covered with a suede-like material that we aren't completely sold on. The drive mode selector now becomes the rotary dial of choice. It pops up when pressed and its edges are finished in hexagonal knurling that adds a layer of tactility.

The tactility continues with dual-zone climate control featuring two big temperature knobs that act as screens. You push the knobs to adjust the heated and cooled seats, but you have to pull them to adjust the fan speed. This is where we're let down, as they're shallow knobs that are difficult to grab; a small complaint in an otherwise stellar cabin.

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The seats are comfortable and adjustable, and although we couldn't get them as low as we wanted, the cooling, heating and massage functions all worked perfectly. The massage isn't as good as Ford or Mercedes, but we're really talking about first world problems here. Those seats feature more hexagons, and a new embossed "leaper" on the headrest. There is storage in the armrest, the doors and under the center console if you need extra room.

The second row of the cabin is ideally suited to two adults, but with 37.2 inches of legroom and 37.5 inches of headroom, three abreast won't be complaining too much. The F-Pace is bigger than the Porsche Macan by some margin, which measures about 32 inches for rear legroom, but rivals from BMW and Mercedes are about on par with the Jag. As for cargo capacity, the F-Pace has 26.6 cubic feet of cargo space, a tad more than a Mercedes GLC.

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Safety and Driver Tech: Pivi!

The updated F-Pace has Jaguar's slick new 11.4-inch convexly curved touchscreen (most curved screens are concave) called Pivi, which feels miles ahead of its predecessor. It's three times brighter and 48% larger than the previous screen and seems to work way faster. It offers simplified menu structures that Jag says "allows drivers to access or view common tasks from the home screen in two taps or less." Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, though wired, and the Blackberry-powered system can connect two phones simultaneously via Bluetooth.

Ahead of the driver, our tester sported a new, optional 12.3-inch Interactive Driver Display6 with brighter graphics and a configurable layout. You can look at full-screen navigation mapping with turn-by-turn instructions, switch it to digital dials, media, your contact list, or infotainment details.

As far as general convenience and safety go, keyless entry and wireless charging are also now included. The safety suite comes with blind spot monitoring, clear exit monitoring (the system looks at what's approaching from behind so you don't hit it with your door), a rear traffic monitor, 3D surround camera, and a rearview mirror camera - which may take some getting used to for new buyers.

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Verdict: The Contrarian's Choice

Like most Jaguars, the F-Pace is the contrarian's choice in the segment. Sure, you can buy a BMW X3 or a Mercedes-Benz GLC, but everyone has those (granted, it's because they're quality products). But the F-Pace is undeniably pretty, probably more than those two, and performs at a level extremely close to those Germans, at least in their non-AMG, non-M variants.

Would it be our choice? Probably not. While we do think it's one of the best looking in its class and the interior is spectacular, we'd probably go with one of the sportier and less efficient options. But if your list includes more important things than just speed and handling, the F-Pace might be the perfect dance partner.

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Pricing and Trims

For this facelifted model, Jag has cut from 12 derivatives down to just five: the P250 Standard, P250 S, P340 S, P400 R-Dynamic S, and SVR. Standard equipment includes the new LED headlights, the excellent Pivi infotainment suite, a new split-rim steering wheel with easy to understand redundant controls, wood veneers, new gearshift paddles, heated front seats, keyless entry, a sliding panoramic room, and much more, making the base model a steal at $49,995.

Stepping up to the P250 S at $53,895 adds a power tailgate, special leather and traffic sign recognition. The P340 S ($59,395) adds the six-cylinder engine, adaptive dynamics, and mode selections; that's the one we drove and liked. For $65,200, the P400 S gets the 395-hp version of the I6, R-Dynamic features including 19-inch wheels, bigger brakes, and sport seats. The SVR will start at $84,600. All of those prices are about $4,000 more than last year.

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