Nobody questions the sportiness of the 550 hp 2019 Jaguar F-Pace SVR. But does it have even an ounce of utility?
What is it?
The Jaguar F-Pace is a five-passenger crossover. Depending upon its particular trim, it can be a high-value premium crossover, a luxury crossover, or a rip-snorting beast of a sport utility vehicle with the emphasis on sport. That’s the one we tested. In an ice storm.
Pricing and trims
The F-Pace is always all-wheel drive in our market. The trims break down mostly by the power plant. The base F-Pace with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine starts just under $50K. Not a bad deal considering what you get. The trims with the 3.0-liter supercharged V6 start in the mid-$60Ks. We tested a top-trim SVR with the 5.0-liter supercharged V8. The price as tested was $89,900.
Performance – On Ice
With 550 hp and all-wheel drive, the Jaguar F-Pace SVR is not quick off the line – it’s explosive. This Jaguar can snap your head back, even from a roll. Floor the SVR on dry pavement and the world rushes by like you’ve hit light speed. It also handles like a sports sedan. It hugs the road and the massive 21″ tires keep you stuck to the road on dry pavement way past the point at which you’d say to yourself, “shouldn’t I be sliding by now?”
We didn’t get much chance to put the power down since Mother Nature brought us our third ice storm in as many weeks during our time with the vehicle. So, in that context, we will review this very special crossover.
Before we go too far, let’s start with rubber. The F-Pace SVR comes with Pirelli Scorpion all-season tires. If it had come with summer-only rubber, like many performance vehicles we test do, we would have parked it. Our opinion of these high-performance all-season tires is “thumbs up.” The grip on ice and slush was very good. Stopping and turning were predictable and exceeded our expectations. By comparison, we drove a 2106 Subaru Forester with winter Bridgestone Blizzaks and found the difference between the two in terms of grip surprisingly minor. The all-season Pirellis are not meant to be as good as the Blizzaks in ice, of course. But they did just fine in our mess of a New England ice storm. We would say they were more than safe. They were fun.
The F-Pace will slide a bit in icy corners if you let it, and it is completely neutral (as long as you are not braking or accelerating). We’re graduates of the Team O’Neil Rally School’s Winter Safe Driving Program, but we didn’t need to use many of the aggressive maneuvers we were taught. These were public roads. Instead, we kept the vehicle in control at all times. In every situation, the F-Pace SVR shined.
The F-Pace SVR also has a serious snow mode called Adaptive Surface Response (AdSR). This mode is similar in ways to the X-Mode that Subaru offers. If you are in the really slippery stuff, this will keep you moving forward.
Don’t let our screenshot of the infotainment display fool you. It is actuated via a button on the center console and it is easy to use.
Our F-Pace tester came with many features targeted specifically at winter driving comfort and safety. The SVR has a heated steering wheel and the sport seats are heated (and cooled). Those items are a given at this price point. The most unusual feature the F-Pace SVR had was a heated windshield. The glass has tiny wires running through the whole expanse. Tap that button and ice evaporates off the glass in under a minute. It is amazing, and we love how effective it is. It also helps keep the wipers from freezing up.
To our utter amazement, Jaguar includes a spare tire in the F-Pace – even this high-performance trim. We love the security that offers in a world with potholes visible from space.
The F-Pace has a large cargo area with a flat floor perfectly designed for sliding in and out heavy items. You can fill up about 34 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats, or drop them and have 66 cubic feet of space available to you. Compare that to a typical sports sedan that will give you under 20 cubic feet.
Out of respect for the vehicle, we lined the cargo area with a drop-cloth before we hauled a weekend’s worth of firewood home. We can report that the 550 hp engine this Jaguar packs was up to the task. If this vehicle could giggle at our measly load weight we suspect it might have.
Overall Opinion – Jaguar F-Pace SVR
We have had the pleasure of testing three versions of the F-Pace, and each of its engines. All of the F-Pace trims have a lot to offer a buyer and Jaguar goes the extra mile to enhance the ownership experience. We particularly like the extended – included– Jaguar warranty and maintenance plan. This offers owners a fixed cost of ownership over five years. Yes, the F-Pace handles and accelerates well. It’s a Jaguar. However, like the electric i-Pace (our favorite Jaguar of all), this Jaguar adds to the expected Jaguar qualities a unique feature. In this vehicle’s case, a heaping portion of utility and winter driving capability. Those shopping for a luxury/performance crossover who live in a wintery climate, and who also value utility, will find the Jaguar F-Pace SVR the ideal vehicle.