But it's still surprisingly civil... when it wants to be.
High-performance SUVs are a dime a dozen these days. From Germany, Audi, BMW, Mercedes-AMG, and Porsche all offer several options that can take your kids to school and blast down the Autobahn at ballistic pace. From Italy, Alfa Romeo, Lamborghini, and Maserati build SUVs that look as good on a poster as they do lapping the Nurburgring. And everything's bigger in America, where Dodge stuffs a Hellcat engine in a Durango. Oh, and we can't forget the Brits. They build what is perhaps the maddest of all the super-SUVs; the 2021 Jaguar F-Pace SVR.
Along with the standard F-Pace, the F-Pace SVR received a facelift for the 2021 model year. The additions include a subtle update to the drop-dead gorgeous exterior styling, and major improvements to the cabin technology. Thankfully, the 5.0-liter supercharged V8 is mostly unchanged. Jaguar will become an all-electric brand by 2025, but before that happens, the UK automaker decided to go out with a matte green supercharged bang. The F-Pace SVR might be the most maniacal SUV we've ever driven.
"Woah, it's green," we exclaimed as the F-Pace SVR was dropped on our doorstep. In fact, this color is known as British Racing Green, and it's only one of several amazing hues available for this model. F-Pace SVR buyers have access to one of the best color palettes we've ever seen on an SUV. The wild no-cost options include Ultra Blue and Firenze Red, while more flamboyant options are available for $4,550, including Sunset Gold, Tourmaline Brown, Velocity Blue, Petrolix Blue, Sanguinello Orange, Atacama Orange, and Sorrento Yellow. An impressive assortment. Many of these colors, British Racing Green included, can be optioned in a matte finish for a sky-high cost of $10,270.
Our matte BRG tester drew stares in traffic from luxury SUV drivers who wished their vehicle was half as interesting. The F-Pace was an attractive vehicle before the facelift, but we think it's even prettier now, especially in SVR guise. The F-Pace SVR looks like the SUV a movie villain would use to drive their kids to school. We love the available 22-inch black wheels with satin grey inserts, which match the SVR's matte grille grille and vent surrounds.
We've driven some loud SUVs; the Dodge Durango Hellcat and Maserati Levante spring to mind. The F-Pace SVR is more shouty by a wide margin. In fact, we'd go so far to say this 5.0-liter supercharged V8 develops a sweeter (and louder) exhaust note than dedicated sports cars like the Chevrolet Corvette and Lexus LC 500. Does the praise get any higher? None of the twin-turbocharged German V8s hold a candle to the deafening roar that emerges from the SVR's quad exhaust tips. Oh, and unlike some of those German SUVs, Jaguar's pipes are 100% real; no fake tips here.
Driving around in Dynamic mode, you can hear the SVR coming from two blocks away. But this is a luxury SUV at the end of the day, so it can act civil when required. In Comfort mode, the V8 quiets down to a dull growl, barely alerting occupants and pedestrians that an angry beast lives under the hood. This is a magic trick the Durango Hellcat can not pull off. We'll miss this engine when Jag goes electric.
The F-Pace was always a pretty SUV to look at, but in the cabin, it was typically outclassed by its German rivals in terms of quality and design. With the 2021 facelift, Jaguar has tipped the scales back in its favor. This updated model now uses Jag's Pivi Pro infotainment interface, which is shared with the latest Land Rover Defender. Housed on a 12.3-inch HD touchscreen, Pivi Pro is much simpler to use thanks to its smartphone-inspired interface.
Outside of the technology, the SVR's cabin is filled with luxury materials, including semi-aniline leather, Alcantara, aluminum or optional carbon fiber, and zinc-alloy paddle shifters. We particularly love the sport seats, which wouldn't look out of place in an F-Type. These seats hold the front occupants in remarkably well in corners without sacrificing comfort features like heating and ventilation. The rear seats even mimic the front buckets, which look great but aren't as comfortable in practice.
Jaguar calls the F-Pace a mid-size SUV, but it operates in a middle ground between most compact and mid-size competitors. It's what we would call a "tweener." In terms of overall length, it measures only 187.5 inches; for reference, a BMW X3 M is 186 inches long while the X5 M is 194.4 inches. Despite being much shorter, the F-Pace offers 77.5 inches of combined legroom, slightly more than you get in an X5 M.
While the Jag maximizes its space for passengers, the cargo volume suffers. The F-Pace houses 28 cubic feet of space behind the second row, which balloons to 65 cubic feet with the seats folded. That's a bit more total volume than the X3 M (28.7/62.7 cubic feet), and far less than the X5 M (33.9/72.3 cubic feet). The story is similar when comparing compact and mid-size competitors from other brands. It may sacrifice on cargo space, but the F-Pace's shorter length makes it feel more agile to drive than its mid-size rivals.
We have a full test drive review and video talking about how the F-Pace SVR drives, but we can sum it up pretty concisely here; it's sporty yet comfortable, with emphasis on the comfort. If you are looking for an SUV that feels purely like a sports car, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio and Porsche Macan/Cayenne execute a bit better (though you pay a lot more for the latter). But excluding those three, we think the F-Pace SVR sits on the next tier of enjoyable high-performance SUVs.
It feels more connected than the German midsize options, without the crashy suspension found in most compact high-performance SUVs. Models like the X3 M and Stelvio Quadrifoglio will keep up with the SVR, but they beat you up over bumps. Jag managed to build an SUV that hits 60 mph in 3.8 seconds without sending you to the chiropractor after.
We think it's the world's craziest SUV, but it still has a soft side that makes it livable every day. Starting at $84,600, the F-Pace SVR doesn't cost much more than the German compact competitors, but it's far less expensive than the mid-size alternatives like the BMW X5 M and Porsche Cayenne Turbo. It's a highly appealing package.