Since I began reading automotive journalism at a young age, I have been at once in awe and skeptical of most car reviews. Car writers are prone to hyperbolize for myriad reasons, chief among them being that cars and trucks and things that go are awesome. The automobile is an era-defining mechanical marvel that comes in all shapes and sizes and performance levels — quite worthy of praise. But most of us take them for granted. Anyhow — point is, since I hadn’t driven the F-Pace yet, I too was skeptical of its supposed performance prowess; having not examined one closely enough, its design hadn’t yet arrested my emotions.
But. For two reasons (well documented by other writers), I am now a believer.
The F-Pace is a subtle stunner. There’s little question that, among SUVs of its class especially, the F-Pace stands out as a svelte, curvy, aggressive-yet-classy shape. It’s way, way better-looking than BMW’s old and boring X3; it’s even better — because it’s simpler in design — than the Porsche Macan.
And the F-Pace really does feel like a sports car. I left all the F-Pace’s settings in “normal” mode for the first day I had the SUV and was completely, utterly unimpressed. Then, I switched into Dynamic mode and slapped the transmission into Sport and the damn thing slapped back. It leaps forward when you touch the gas, it crouches into corners sorta like its F-Type cousin, its exhaust barks like a maniac.
But, unless you opt for high trim levels and premium packages, the rest of the F-Pace experience may fall flat. Jaguar didn’t provide details about my loaner’s trim level, but the interior was boring and in places felt cheap. Not that I was doing much other than gripping the wheel and grinning like an idiot.