The Jaguar F-Pace It's one of the cars we're really excited about for 2016.
And we will drive it fully later in the year but today, Jaguar has invited me out here to Whales, one of the chief exporters of rain and mud to have a go in one of their prototypes off road to see how this thing handles in the mud.
Now one thing we know for absolute certain is that the F-pace is entering into one of the most crowded parts of the automotive industry.
Every manufacturer is trying to carve out their slice of the SUV cake.
But what will make the F-pace stand out from the rest?
Well for starters That badge.
For the first time, you're gonna get a proper SUV with off-road capability with a Jaguar badge on it.
Along with that badge, our car had the 2 liter diesel engine with 177 brake horsepower, 317 foot-pounds of torque, and an 8-speed automatic gear box.
Zero to 60 was just over 8 seconds, and the top speed 129 miles an hour.
We took to a former rally stage to see how the F pace could handle off road conditions and my initial thoughts were pretty positive.
I was able to build up some speed with confidence on the more open sections and the car handled the more challenging sections with relative ease.
It's no surprise though that Jaguar has pulled off a decent off roader.
With sibling manufacturer Land Rover in the wings, Jaguar always had a bit of a head start on that front.
But the F-Pace is a Jaguar through and through.
And the experience of driving one has to feel different to any Land Rover, or any other SUV for that matter.
And it really does have its own driving character.
With all the driver aids turned on, it keeps you safe in control as you would expect.
But turn some of them off, and you feel the car play around a little more.
The F-PACE actually starts to act a little more like a rear wheel drive car, and you can have some fun.
I've only driven the x3 for a couple hours today, that's to say it's just a sneak preview before the cars fully ready to be showed off to the press in a couple months time.
But what I've found is that it's still al to of fun to drive, it still feels like a Jaguar, I've said it once I've said it a million times.
Cars like this are not going to get driven off road, but they still have to prove, to me at least, that they are capable of going there.
That's what I"m trying to figure out today.
How does this prototype deal with mud, difficult traction condition and an umpty like me driving?
Comfort wise, it feels like a Jaguar.
It doesn't feel abnormally tall.
It doesn't feel abnormally soft.
It's fun to drive.
I wouldn't necessarily call this car a looker, but the Jaguar stylings were all present and correct.
It fits in in the stable nicely.
Is it better looking than a [UNKNOWN] or a Q5 or an X3?
Well, you could argue that SUVs are all [UNKNOWN] these days, and you're looking at very small differences This is between the lot of them.
But this is not an ugly car by any stretch of the imagination.
There's been a lot of development in this car.
Jaguar could've been forgiven for just wee badging a Land Rover product and putting it in their stable, but This is a Jaguar from the ground up, and they are exceptionally proud of it.
This has to be a Jaguar when you drive it.
This has to be distinct from their Land Rover products.
This has to have more of that rear wheel drive feel, even when all four wheels are spinning.
In this very short sample That I've got to say that I feel they've to achieve it.
But we won't know for certain until we've had it out on a proper road drive.
SUVs are exceptionally popular.
That's why so many manufacturers are taking to them.
And economically, You can see this is one of the safest bets that Jaguar could have possibly made.
But they haven't just relied on that with this car they've fought to make this the best car it possibly can be.
And it's hard even at this prototype stage to find much wrong with it.
You could say that with all the safety features enabled and all the driver aides firing away it takes a little bit too long for control to be given back to you.
But everything it gives you in return pretty much makes up for it.
The Face grabbed my attention and in a world where it feels like a new SUV is dropping every other week.
That's saying something, there might now be slightly less to distinguish Acura's from Land Rovers but there is certainly enough jagness in the [UNKNOWN] to make the distinct proposition.
Now there's a jag that really loves to get its paws muddy.
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