Jaguar's F-PACE is at its most sophisticated in P400e plug-in hybrid form. Jonathan Crouch drives it.
In Plug-in P400e form, Jaguar's F-PACE offers a powerful blend of performance, efficiency, class and practicality. Pricing's a little higher than some obvious rivals, but you get more power beneath your right foot. And, as usual with a PHEV, you'll make some handsome tax bill savings.
If you're choosing a premium badged mid-sized executive SUV these days, the clever choice tends not to be a conventional diesel but a plug-in hybrid. Jaguar's F-PACE, long hobbled by not being able to provide such a thing, now includes PHEV tech within its revised range, creating the car we look at here, the F-PACE P400e. The tech you get is much the same as features with this model's two arch-rivals, the Audi Q5 TFSI e and the BMW X3 30e. But the combined power output on offer with this Jaguar - 404PS (yes really) is quite a lot more. So, hot rod performance and high rate returns should both feature here. Is that what's delivered? Let's find out.
So what have we got here? A 2.0-litre Ingenium petrol engine coupled with a rear-mounted 17.1kWh battery and a 143PS electric motor that when fully charged will take you up to 33 miles without troubling fossil fuel. You'll certainly need to burn a bit of petrol though, to exercise the total output - rated at 404PS. That's good enough to take you to 62mph in just 5.3 seconds and on to a top speed of 149mph. To give you some perspective here, an Audi Q5 55 TFSI e offers a total output of 367PS and tops out at 140mph and though it can replicate this Jaguar's 0-62mph time, it falls a bit short with driving range, rated at 26 miles. The other main option in this class, the BMW X3 xDrive30e, has a combined output of 256PS which can be enhanced by an extra boost feature adding an extra 42PS. The rest to 62mph time of the BMW is 6.1s and the driving range figure is 34 miles. With this P400e, there's the usual drive controller, plus a separate set of EV settings - 'EV', 'Hybrid' and 'Save'. The EV system adds quite of lot of weight though, which you'll feel if you start throwing the car around. Refinement and ride quality are excellent though.
Apart from the P400e badgework and the addition of a charging flap, there's nothing to visually mark out this plug-in hybrid F-PACE variant from a more conventional combustion engine derivative. Which means that it gets all of the visual updates that have embellished this revised F-PACE range. That means a more sculpted bonnet with a wider power bulge and more precisely defined surfaces. It flows down into a larger grille with 'diamond' detailing, while the side fender vents now feature the iconic 'Leaper' emblem. The front bumper's been re-designed and there are super-slim LED quad headlights with 'Double J' Daytime Running Light signatures. At the rear, re-designed slimline lights feature Jaguar's 'double chicane' graphic. And the bumper and tailgate now have a more sculpted look. Inside, there's a sporty-looking centre console that sweeps up to the instrument panel which features a sophisticated 'Pivi Pro' 11.4-inch curbed-glass HD touchscreen in an elegant magnesium alloy casing. The Drive Selector for the auto gearbox has been re-styled too and the seats have also been re-designed and feature wider cushions. Otherwise, things are as before. You may sit higher than any other Jaguar but it still feels more sports car than SUV and there's no seven-seat option. There's comfortable space for a couple of adults in the rear. There is a boot space downside this PHEV though. Because this car's D7a platform was only ever designed to take a space saver spare wheel, there isn't much room under the boot floor, the rear-mounted battery intruding into luggage space, which falls from 601-litres with a conventional model (dry capacity behind the second row) to just 485-litres with this PHEV. So you might have to flatten the second row bench more often, using the provided 40:20:40-folding split. Which will free up a dry capacity of 1299-litres.
There's no shortage of choice for potential F-PACE P400e customers. Jaguar offers its full range of F-PACE trim levels here - which means that the range starts with base 'S' spec for around £56,000. You will almost certainly though, want to find another thousand pounds to get the more sporting look of the 'R-Dynamic S' model, which costs around £57,000. If you can stretch your budget up towards the £60,000 mark, then your dealer will offer 'R-Dynamic SE' and 'R-Dynamic Black' variants. Finally, if you can stretch right up to around £65,000, there's the top spec 'R-Dynamic HSE'. All models get Premium LED headlights, LED tail lights and wheels of at least 19-inches in size. Inside, there's two-zone climate control and 8-way powered front seats trimmed in 'Luxtec' man made leather. You get an 11.4-inch centre dash 'Pivi Pro' touchscreen with Connected Navigation, plus a DAB sound system and 'Apple CarPlay'/'Android Auto' smartphone-mirroring. There's also a 3D surround camera, cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, JaguarDrive Control drive modes and the All Surface Progress Control system for icy, slippery roads. 'R-Dynamic' models get a special body kit and unique 19-inch 'Style' 5-spoke Gloss Black wheels. Plus 12-way powered front seats upholstered in Ebony perforated leather with contrast stitching. There's also an 'R-Dynamic' steering wheel and a powered tailgate. Safety kit across all models includes Emergency Brake Assist, Lane Keep Assist and a Driver Condition Monitor. There's also traffic Sign Recognition with an Adaptive Speed Limiter.
We gave you the all-electric driving range figure of this P400e in our 'Driving Experience' section - 33 miles. You'll also want to know about charging times - allow one hour and 40 minutes using a 7kW garage wall box. Obviously a rapid public charger will be a lot quicker. A 32kW DC fast charger is capable of delivering 0-80% charge in 30 minutes. The WLTP-rated combined fuel consumption figure is 129.7mpg. And the WLTP-rated CO2 emissions reading is 49g/km. That's not particularly noteworthy for a PHEV, but it does still mean an attractive Benefit-in-Kind tax banding of between 11 and 14%, depending on the trim variant you select. To give you some perspective, all other F-PACE engine variants are rated at a BiK figure of 37%. So there are lots of tax savings to be had here. If you can afford the initial outlay of course. What else? You get the usual unremarkable three year warranty, though to be fair it does cover you for up to 100,000 miles. And service intervals are set at 21,000 miles or every 24 months, whichever comes first, though it would be sensible to consider one of Jaguar's Service Plans that cover you for virtually everything in advance. There's a 'Standard Mileage Service Plan' that covers you for five years/50,000 miles. Or a 'High Mileage Service Plan' that covers five years/75,000 miles. Both packages include engine oil and filters, checking and topping up brake fluid and a 24-month guarantee on any replacement parts. Should anything go wrong, Europe-wide breakdown assistance is part of the deal for three years.
Jaguar's decision to add an extra injection of performance to the market for mid-sized premium brand plug-in SUVs is interesting, though we're not convinced that many likely customers will want to find the extra cash necessary to get it. Still, if you can justify the outlay, the certainly nothing else quite like an F-PACE P400e. You might even see it as the ultimate car for a wealthy small family, combining classy quality, practicality, sharp performance and trendy efficiency. You pay handsomely for that package here. But if you're happy to do so, you might find the resulting confection rather satisfying.
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