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My F Pace First Edition was delivered on the 20th April - I was however away on holiday so I had 8 days of anticipation building up before I could finally get to see and drive her!

As I have my own businesses that specialises in short term car leasing, our fleet manager took delivery and inspected the car. He noticed (but no one else could see it) a very fine fault in the paintwork on the rear hatch. This was noted by the dealer. Otherwise, a fault with a hose to the Turbo had been corrected, and all else was fine with the car. It was delivered to my house to await my return.

The Caesium Blue was very visible from quite a distance, and the car (to my eyes) looked magnificent. My wife however, was not so complimentary. Not only did she hate the colour, she also took an immediate dislike to the shape. I seriously have to question her judgement. The children, my parents and most of the neighbours however, agreed with me, that the car looks simply magnificent.

Once I had finished viewing the lovely (to me) exterior, it was time to jump in and have a good look around. Although I was aware that the steering adjustment was manual, and the seats did not have a memory function, it was still a bit of a shock not to have them - perhaps I had secretly hoped they would miraculously appear due to a mistake during build - especially as the steering adjuster / lock was so flimsy and cheap feeling. Still, after a few seconds, the perfect (and perfectly judged) driving position was set. A quick check around revealed lovely leather covering the seats and most of the dash, a stunning looking dashboard and infotainment screen, and a lovely ambience.

The only blots on the landscape included a very cheap plastic instrument cover top (why no leather cover), poor quality lower door trim plastics and cheap looking speaker covers. As time has passed, I really do not miss the electric steering adjuster or the memory seats (I don't let my wife drive it after her initial comments) nor do the plastics bother me any longer. Overall, the build quality looked (and still looks) very good.

During the first 500 miles, I drove very gently and most of the driving was my daily commute of 70 miles. The initial impressions were of a very refined engine, which has a sporty edge when used), extremely well sorted gearbox, a supple ride that is still comfortable in dynamic mode, and a very well judged steering balance, albeit a little short on feedback.

During the first 500 miles, I had one issue of the In control Pro system freezing when I plugged my I Phone in, otherwise it has worked faultlessly, although it is sometimes a little slow to boot up and react to inputs. The Hi Fi sounds superb now it is run in, especially when fed Hi Res audio via Tidal. The only other issue during this period was a leak from the Ad Blue cap. The cap was replaced with one from the showroom, and the problem has not recurred.

Once the first 500 miles had passed, it was time to turn the heat up a little and start to enjoy the car on both some longer journeys, and some early morning weekend drives. My observations during the last 1500 miles are:

Engine: Now it is loosening nicely, it being regularly extended to its full capacity. It rev's keenly to the red line, there is little drop off in power near the limiter, and the growl as it reaches higher rev's is quite pleasant - not V6 or V8 petrol exciting, but surprisingly nice for a diesel. The performance is extremely good. Although not scientifically measured, I have recorded 0-60 times of under 6 seconds, and therefore believe the factory figures are accurate. Of more relevance, 50 -70 and 70 - 90 acceleration is rapid, with plenty of torque ensuring many a Range Rover Sport and Mercedes ML etc. are left blushing. Fuel economy is averaging 35 - 37 MPG on my daily commute, 42 - 46 MPG on longer motorway runs and a running average of 36.3 so far. No oil has been consumed nor have there been any mechanical issues.

Handling / Comfort / Steering / Brakes: The levels of grip are quite astounding. On my test routes, there are a great mixture of sweeping A roads, tight and twisty B roads, off camber corners and crests, downhill drops with switchbacks etc. This car, as with other Jaguars, works with you and flows with the road. It feels fleet of foot, has no sudden inertia, and the body control is exceptional - not just for a SUV, but for any type of car. It really feels like a sporting car with a better view.

I tend to leave the car in Dynamic, occasionally setting the suspension to comfort individually, and have not found the car uncomfortable on any surface, despite the 22" wheels. The suspension is certainly firm, but not harsh, and the control over secondary undulations is very good. External noises are well suppressed on all surfaces bar some concrete motorway sections, which can generate a degree of road noise. There is some wind noise from the mirrors at higher speed, however during most journeys, the sense of refinement is akin to a Range Rover Sport, just with a lot more involvement.

The steering is well weighted, very progressive and has a sharp, fairly aggressive turn in. There is not a great deal of feel through the rim, the only clue as to the onset of what little understeer exists is from the protests of the front tyres. Any understeer can be addressed by the use of the throttle, and the car is easy to balance through multiple corners and remains controlled at all times. It certainly feels in the main like a rear wheel drive car, the transfer of power to the front and the intervention of the torque vectoring system being virtually imperceptible. Using Trac DSC loosens off nanny enough to have some fun, although I have not had the chance as yet to dial in a little opposite lock - perhaps I will try when I visit Brands hatch next month with my Mini track car!

The brakes are powerful and well-modulated - every input being responded to in a very linear and smooth fashion. Like the steering, there is a slight lack of feel, however, overall the brakes are very good and add to the enjoyment on a spirited country drive.

Overall, the F pace feels as if the chassis, brakes, steering, gearbox and engine have all been carefully honed by a team that enjoy driving, appreciate having fun but at the same time, understand comfort and fluidity have a more enduring appeal than harshness and aggression (Porsche take note).

A blot on the horizon has reared its head during the last 500 miles. On reversing out of the drive one morning a couple of weeks ago, I noticed a slight creaking noise - I though perhaps it was trim rubbing due to the cold. The creaking became worse over the next few days and I booked into my local dealer to check it. The service manager immediately diagnosed it as a fault that had occurred on another car relating to the rear springs. At the time, they were awaiting a response from Jaguar about a remedy. The noise has continued to increase, and is now extremely annoying and cannot be masked except by turning the Hi Fi up to anti-social levels of volume. The last dealer update (today) was that replacement springs have been fitted to another car and have cured the fault, they are waiting for an update as to when the parts will be available to fit to customer cars - hopefully soon as I really do not want the issue to detract what has been a great experience so far.

In summary, I am really enjoying the F pace, the more I drive it, the more respect I have for the inherent rightness of the package as a whole - Grace, Pace and Space is certainly abundant.
 

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Good review. You would hope a new car didn't have as many Gremlins but I think they were trying to get out ASAP.
The creaking rear seems a somewhat common problem from a few posts I've seen.

Sounds like your happy though and its a great car !
 

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A very good read. Many thanks for taking the time to put down your thoughts in such detail.

Even though I'm not an FE 'Pacer, myself, I can certainly appreciate what a great car it is and I hope to be just as enthusiastic about my R-Sport version when I get to grips with it.
 

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Thank you for such a detailed review. Glad that your overall impression is very positive. Caesium Blue is stunning and I'm sure it's going to be a car you enjoy admiring and driving for as long as you want it on your fleet.
 

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Thank you for a very detailed review that has been a joy to read. You clearly know how to get the best from your cars and I like your honest, balanced assessment.

I have the 3.0d V6 S on order and your review has confirmed my own belief about why we have opted for this model over a Macan or BMW X4. The price premium for access to the 3.0d is considerable but I am buying the F-Pace for the joy of driving. The Ingenium engine, whilst a perfectly adequate powerplant, isn't the right unit for an enthusiastic driver.

Thank you again, really. Typing this stuff isn't quick, even if you are fast on the keyboard. But we appreciate your time.

Enjoy, and I look forward to joining the club in due course!

Arianne
 

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A cracking real world review...thank you...... Only 4 weeks till my 3.0dS arrives
 

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Hi,
Great review, reflecting my experience and enjoyment.
My FE has been with the dealer for the past week awaiting a resolution to the creaking noise. I'm just relieved that there appears to be a cure but it looks as though I won't get my vehicle back for another two weeks it seems .
 
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