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Jaguar really is building an SUV, and it’s called F-Pace

Published: 11 January 2015

It’s happening. Jaguar has confirmed an SUV will join its line-up in 2016. What’s more, it has a name. Ready for this? It’s called the Jaguar F-Pace.

It’s called the what?

The Jaguar F-Pace. A tricky name to get used to, but certainly a memorable one. Forging a link in buyers’ minds with the halo-product F-type is partly behind the choice of moniker, as perhaps is a reference to Jaguar founder William Lyons’ famous mantra that Grace, Space and Pace should be key Jaguar attributes.

Director of design Ian Callum describes the F-Pace as inspired by the F-type, and from the sole badge shot Jaguar has issued so far it’s clear the production car has retained the concept’s F-type-aping tail-lights.

‘The Jaguar F-Pace, inspired by the F-type, represents a perfectly judged balance of style, performance and practicality,’ says Callum. ‘It offers a unique combination of Jaguar sports car inspired exterior design, fused beautifully with a thoroughly practical and spacious luxury interior. The F-Pace is our family sports car.’

So the Jaguar F-Pace is a family sports car?

That’s what Jaguar’s calling it. It’s being quite canny with the car’s positioning, as the F-Pace is referred to as a performance crossover rather than an SUV. Jaguar also describes it as a ‘practical sports car’ and promises ‘exceptional on-road dynamics.’

This car is being pitched into a section of the market that puts clear air between Jaguar and Land Rover to avoid bruised toes and compromised sales.

Just how practical will Jag’s crossover be?

The F-Pace will seat five and Jaguar describes interior space as ‘class-leading’, although it doesn’t cite any specific rivals. The original C-X17 concept was a four-seater, although a five-seat version was created for the Guangzhou motor show in China.

Although clearly it’s slanted far more heavily towards on-road use rather than off-, the F-Pace drives all four wheels.

It’s based on Jag’s new aluminium architecture, dubbed iQ-Al which will make its production debut on the new XE mid-sized exec saloon. Like the XE, it gets All Surface Progress Control, a sort of low-speed cruise control that uses torque vectoring to help each individual wheel find traction on snow, mud and other slippery surfaces.

The F-Pace will be manufactured at JLR’s Solihull plant.

Why is Jaguar building an SUV?

Jaguar can’t continue to ignore the boom in popularity of SUVs and crossovers, especially in potentially lucrative overseas markets. These are the models which are powering many of the most successful car makers’ sales increases, don’t forget.

Jag may have insisted its 2013 C-X17 SUV concept was a theoretical design study and not the forerunner of a road car, but few onlookers doubted there was an extremely good chance of it going into production.

Given the ‘practical sports car’ positioning and speedy nameplate, it sounds like the engineering and development test teams currently hard at work on the production car are
doing their best to make it drive like a proper Jaguar, even as it expands the boundaries of what type of product a Jaguar can be.

By James Taylor

CAR's deputy features editor, automotive design graduate, Radical champ