by Bob Cowan

While it’s generally agreed that diesel is somewhat cleaner than gas it has still become a dirty word as of late. VW’s  Dieselgate is to blame for that.  The global emission data cheating scandal has put diesel engines out of favour in many world markets including North America.  The shopping choices are becoming scarce among luxury brands, a fact that Jaguar decided to ‘pounce’ on.

Jaguar Land Rover now offers more diesels than any other European manufacturer and is only behind GM in North America.  But you won’t see any splashy ads promoting their availability as the scandal has put a cloud over a technology that still hasn’t lost any of its advantages.  Diesel engines go further, provide better fuel economy and last longer.  Yes, they emit more than their gas counterparts but that is negated by their fuel efficiency making them actually greener.  The price of diesel fuel here is far more expensive than in Europe thanks to heavy taxes but it is still slightly less than regular unleaded or should be.  One thing to consider though is that you can’t always be sure the next gas station has diesel.

Jaguar has invested no small amount in its 20d turbodiesel which unlike its other gas offerings has been designed completely in house at Jaguar’s engine plant in the UK.  It produces 180 hp and 318 lb-ft of torque. Transport Canada puts the F-Pace mileage at a combined 8.4 l/100km but in the ‘your mileage may vary’ real world I was getting 9.2 in my test unit.  Hybrids aside, you will be hard pressed to find better economy in any other SUV.  The combined rating for the base 2.0 litre 4 cylinder gas engine is a little costlier at 9.8L /100km.  There is also a 3.0 litre V6 available. Each version is all wheel drive.

Not your father’s diesel

Diesels have certainly have come a long way and are not the noisy and smelly tank engines of the past. It’s pretty hard to tell the difference except for acceleration.  Even with the turbo, stepping on the pedal in this F-Pace when the light turns green is about as exhilarating as being put on hold. Diesels are not designed for that kind of performance but are your best bet if you have any towing needs. Another advantage is maintenance.  They are a workhouse that last much longer and because they don’t use spark plugs they don’t need tune-ups.  The F-Pace is a great ride otherwise and while the diesel doesn’t respond quickly to your foot, the 8 speed transmission with paddle shifters responds very quickly and smoothly through all ‘ranges’.

No Vroom but lots of Room

The F-Pace isn’t intended to compete with its Range Rover cousins but does offer similar features like hill descent which allows you to crawl down steep grades by taking over throttle and brakes and you just point the vehicle.  The F-Pace matches the ground clearance of the Range Rover Discovery Sport at 8.4 inches.  Unlike the Range Rover Evoque, the F-Pace offers real cargo space. There is 33.5 cubic feet available behind the second row seats. The carpeted cargo space floor is also reversible with an easy to clean rubber surface on one side.

By design

The SUV is the fastest selling segment in the auto industry. Their numbers also exacerbate the problem that too many look the same. This is where the F-Pace really distinguishes itself although special mention has to go to Porsche’s beautiful Cayenne and Macan SUV’s.  I’ve interviewed lead designer Ian Callum on several visits to the Canadian International Auto Show and I appreciate his ability to marry design and functionality. Stunning designs that survive the concept stage and actually make it to the showroom and driveway.  The F-Pace really showcases his artistry and balances Jaguar sophistication with a muscular and sporty looking SUV.

Beauty is on the outside

The F-Pace doesn’t quite measure up to its Jaguar branding inside. It can be had in Premium, Prestige, or like our test unit, the pricier R-Sport trim.  It’s a $1.750 bump from the base price but gives you all the added features of the aforementioned packages like upgraded wheels and upgraded 10 way premium leather seating but adds a body, kit, adaptive LED headlights and interior mood lighting.  After all the upgrades I felt the interior was ‘nice enough’ but left me wondering how I would feel having only the base level F-Pace. The infotainment system has seen minor improvements and has an attractive interface but I still find it slow and awkward compared to even much lesser priced vehicles

Pros & Cons

The interior is comfy but the materials do not match the price. On the pro side is its original styling and if you have big towing needs it’s one of just a few choices in this segment.  The F-Pace can pull 5,290 pounds which tops the competition from BMW, Porsche and Audi.

2018 Jaguar F-Pace 20d R-Sport

Base price $51,250   As tested $61,000

Engine: 2.0L I4 Turbodiesel

180 hp @ 4,000 rpm, 318 lb-ft of torque

Transmission: 8 speed automatic

City/Highway 8.4  L/100km


IMG_3950 IMG_3883 IMG_3889 IMG_3899 IMG_3902 IMG_3905 IMG_3907 IMG_3909 IMG_3911 IMG_3913 IMG_3915 IMG_3917 IMG_3919 IMG_3920 IMG_3924 IMG_3926 IMG_3929 IMG_3931 IMG_3933 IMG_3935 IMG_3938 IMG_3940 IMG_3946