Out on my travels, and it was good to enjoy the first really sunny weekend of the year. The sun was shining, the roads were nice and open and there was plenty of nice metal out there to truly appreciate. Bimbling through Oakham, I spotted this rather nice F-Pace, and realised that it was, in fact, the first time I’d seen one out in the wild – I ended up taking a few moments to have a good look around what is undoubtedly Jaguar’s most important car for years.
The good news is that photographs don’t tend to do the car justice – although it’s effectively a Jaguar XE/XF on stilts, with elements of the F-Type thrown in for good measure, it gels nicely on the road. There are curves and haunches, as you’d expect with a post-Millennial Jaguar, with the usual design signatures thrown in for free – and, even in this high-riding crossover, it seems to gel perfectly well.
Will this car bring much-needed volume to Jaguar? Undoubtedly… One only needs to look at the success of the Porsche Cayenne, a car which in 2002, when it was launched, was lambasted by a huge swathe of enthusiasts for sullying the brand. And yet, almost 15 years on, this crossover is both accepted as part of the automotive scene, and recognised as being the car that saved Porsche. It also proved that something SUV-shaped could be both good to drive and still have clear marque DNA – not bad for a car so closely related to the Volkswagen Touareg.
The Jaguar F-Pace is far purer a concept than that – and, at launch, it’s offered with some very interesting-looking engine variations that provide genuine performance out of the box. It also clearly looks like it will coexist quite happily with its Land Rover brethren, without the feeding off it. That’s certainly the case if Volkswagen and Porsche (and Audi’s!) experience is anything to go by.
It has success written all over it – which is great news for a company that’s already growing month-on-month. A nice thought to contemplate on a very nice, sunny English weekend.