Some high-rise crossovers just refuse to act like tarted-up wagons with big wheels. They spring to life with high-octane attitude rumbling through their oversized exhaust pipes and quiver with white-line anticipation – much like a good car.
A few, like the all-wheel-drive 2019 Jaguar F-Pace SVR, even make you wonder about their intent: What exactly are they? – a question I often ask about my dates.
Several days after I got the F-Pace – a taut 550-horsepower rowdy – I came to view it as my cross-car, a stylish five-passenger vehicle capable of tangling with some muscle-cars, but dressed like a high-end trucklet.
It was spectacularly confused.
As you may recall, the F-Pace arrived in 2016 with a flourish, offering sleek, distinctive styling and impressive driving dynamics as Jag’s first luxury crossover/SUV.
Then SVO, the hot-rod hooligans at Jaguar, got hold of it, dropping a supercharged 5-liter V-8 into it and making – in my view – a good vehicle pretty close to great as a high-performance SVR model.
I know, I know. I could lose my membership in the Mustang club with that statement.
The F-Pace SVR is that compelling. Even as a crossover, it flashes proportion and style so good they make its 4,700 pounds of muscle and bulk seem smaller.
The deep red F-Pace I had recently sported one of Jag’s signature blunt snouts with a large blacked-out grille pressed into it.
Slightly sinister two-projector headlamps and blacked out grilles down low for extra cooling kept the hot Jag looking vaguely mysterious.
Is this just another looker, I initially wondered, or a serious road-heater? Both, as I discovered.
The Jag sparkles from every angle. A sculpted hood, for instance, offered more heat-vents, while a low, sloping top and smooth, muscular sides gave the Jag a lean, ready-to-spring look.
It rode tall and proud on 22-inch alloy wheels fitted with meaty 265/40 tires up front and 295/35s in back, stirring the air vigorously with four fat exhaust pipes in a black tray at the rear.
Of course, all of that would just be polished pretense if not for the magical supercharged 5-liter V-8 under the hood.
Unlike some supercharged and turbocharged engines, Jag’s huffed V-8 blasts the F-Pace away from stops instantly, with a dark howl and no stumbles.
Zero to 60-mph arrives in a really swift 4.1 seconds, according to Car and Driver, the Jag’s eight-speed automatic clicking off quick, positive shifts.
However, the supercharger doesn’t do much for fuel economy – a lackluster 18 miles per gallon overall. Though fairly tall at nearly 66 inches, the firm-riding F-Pace didn’t fear corners, though, powering into them eagerly with minimal body-lean and decent grip.
Likewise, the steering was quick and well-weighted with reasonably good road feel – attributes you don’t expect in most crossovers, even a $90,000 one.
Naturally, the Jag’s tuned suspension – with its performance dampers and stiffer springs – could get fidgety over bad pavement, but most of the time handled imperfections with good compliance.
Life’s bumps and bruises tend to disappear anyway in the Jag’s agreeable, upscale black interior.
A smooth, pliable black dashboard, for example, curved gently around the instrument panel, dropping down to a spare-looking horizontal center-stack featuring a 10-inch display screen.
Although the screen was fairly intuitive and functional, I once again had to go through it to tune the audio system.
If I had tried that while driving, I guess I would have relied on the F-Pace’s braking and steering assist systems, the lane-keep assist and the rear traffic monitor.
That should be OK, right?
Meanwhile, elegant door panels with stylized tops wore carbon-fiber trim, setting the tone for the vehicle’s performance leather seats with their supportive bolsters and patterned centers.
As you can see from the photos, the F-Pace is not a particularly large vehicle so legroom in the back is a bit tight, though head-room is pretty good, but it had plenty of options, including the driver-assist package ($3,600); the smart-phone package with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay ($300); the 22-inch wheels ($1,530); and a Meridian sound system ($450).
Just give me the SVR performance stuff. If the F-Pace SVR can’t quite figure out if it’s a high-performance car of sorts or a hot-rod crossover, I can definitely live with it.
2019 Jaguar F-Pace SVR
- What I liked most: The F-Pace’s sterling performance and handling.
- What I would change: Not much, though I would definitely prefer to use a knob to find my XM 60 Outlaw radio station.
- MSRP: Base price, $79,990; as equipped, $90,200.
- Official color: Firenze Red.
- Fuel economy: 16 miles per gallon in the city, 21 on the highway and 18 mpg combined with filler on the right.
- Odometer reading when tested: 3,498 miles.
- Spare tire: Temporary compact.
- Weight: 4,655 pounds.
- Length-width-height: 186.5 inches long/77.1 inches tall/65.7 inches wide.
- Fuel-tank capacity: 21.7 gallons.
- Towing capacity: 5,291 pounds.
- 2019 Jaguar F-Pace SVR in a few words: A handsome, seriously quick high-performance crossover that doesn’t shout ‘look at me’.
- Warranty: Five-year, 60,000-mile overall protection.
- Final assembly location: Solihull, U.K.
- Manufacturer’s website: www.jaguarusa.com
- E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Up next: 2019 Ram Power Wagon
Tags: 2019 Jaguar F-Pace SVR, Jaguar, F-Pace, New Vehicle Reviews, SUVs, Luxury SUVs