Monday, May 23, 2022

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Cars in the City

Jaguar F-Pace


Speed, power and luxury combine for a truly spirited drive.

Test driven at Willis Auto: 2021 Jaguar F-Pace with R-dynamic package. $79,089; 22 mpg combined city/highway.

While browsing Land Rovers for a possible car review at the local dealership, the salesman asked if I was interested in driving a Jag.

Jag? As in Jaguar? Just the sound of driving an iconic sportscar with its history of speed and luxury lured me in. I’d never ridden in one, let alone drove one. I excitedly agreed. 

However, this wasn’t a Jaguar sportscar, but an SUV instead. He brought out the 2021 Jaguar F-Pace with R Dynamic package in Carpathian grey. I suspect the marketing department probably thought a simple grey color sounded too boring.

The sports-type seating included multiple comfort seating adjustment with a memory mode for different drivers. Passengers have the same option of saving their desired seat adjustments.

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I’d like to say I put the key in the ignition, but really — do any 2021 vehicles actually have a key? The fob was set next to the push button start, so I put the shifter in reverse and backed out slowly.

Slow is good, because this cat has power — 395 horsepower, to be exact. In comparison, my sedan offers a measly 177. With a 3-liter turbocharged engine and an 8-speed, all-wheel drive, the Jag leaves other SUVs whimpering.

Accelerating on the freeway, I passed every vehicle, as they were seemingly driving way too leisurely. My passenger remarked, “Wouldn’t it be funny if you got a speeding ticket doing a car review?”

I glanced at my speedometer — 84 mph? It was so sleek and smooth, I hardly noticed the escalating speed. I immediately took my foot off the accelerator and checked my rearview mirror for any flashing red lights. Whew. I vowed to tame my lead foot the rest of the ride.

But speed is what Jaguars were initially known for. In 1922, William Lyons owned the Swallow Sidecar Company, and in 1935, he created the first Jaguar. In 1948, a lightweight “E” car could reach speeds of 133 mph, and, before long, Jaguars were famous as race cars.

In 1951, the C Type Jaguar with its reduced bodyweight placed first in the LeMans France 24-hour race. Since then, Type 4 Jaguar race cars can hit a top speed of 174, or the Project 8 can reach 200 mph. In comparison, the Jaguar I drove could top 135 mph. A reporter is to verify facts, but I opted to trust the brochure this time.

Speed aside, there are the usual driver assist features, complete with 360-degree cameras, 11.4-inch touchscreen navigation, adaptive cruise control and nearly any imaginable amenity.

The Jaguar Drive Control means drivers can choose from diverse drivetrain modes, including eco, rain/ice/snow, comfort and dynamic. As expected, I had it in dynamic mode, which gears longer and increases steering feedback for a sportier feel. Their description says for a “spirited drive.”

Indeed. A spirited drive in this Jag left me purring all the way home. ♦

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