I remember being scared to death when I was 10 and clutching my pillow tight as a T-Rex tormented the passengers of one unfortunate Ford Explorer in the Spielberg classic Jurassic Park. It was a nerve-racking experience that I will never forget, and to this day I wonder what would have happened if the film had taken place 20 years later.
Samuel L. Jackson would probably have been banging away on a much thinner keyboard and would have been forced to smoke in a designated outdoor area. Sam Neill would be even more serious looking, Jeff Goldblum would still stutter, and the kids would more than likely be taking selfies all the way up until the bitter end, when President Trump ultimately decides to nuke the entire island just to play it safe.
All joking aside, what they really needed in the film was a more agile vehicle. While the Explorer made its big screen splash and sold extremely well because of its cameo, it was by no means a nimble or overly powerful piece of machinery. As a car nerd, I’ve given a lot of thought to what vehicle would have turned the tide in the film, and while Wrangler Rubicons, Range Rover Sports, and Ford Raptors are all killer contenders, they’re all still a bit too unwieldy.
Enter the supercharged Jaguar F-Pace, which single handedly takes performance crossover capabilities and turns everything up several notches. After driving both the 340- and 380-horsepower versions for hours up in the mountains of Colorado and then hammering it up a rally stage hill-climb, I can safely say that this is the vehicle Doctor Alan Grant should have been driving in the film. It has more going for it than any other vehicle I have driven in recent memory, and is chock full of surprises in every department. Here are six things we learned about the car while out in Aspen that got put to the test and proved their worth a hundred fold.
1. It hauls ass to two different tunes
In supercharged V6 trim, the F-Pace offers either a 340-horsepower “R-Sport” engine, or an “S-Tuned” 380-horsepower version that kicks performance up a notch. After learning that both of these engines are identical in displacement and design, I approached one of the head engineers in order to find out what is making one that much more potent than the other. Simply put, the S version’s ECU is tuned differently, which makes us wonder what else remains hidden in the F-Pace’s many computers.
2. Options are endless
One of the greatest things about buying a vehicle like this is that the options aren’t just limited to interior leather packages and what kind of wheels you want. While both of these choices are an important part of the pre-order process, there’s way more to this CUV than the typical options list: Buyers have the ability to outfit the F-Pace with things like deployable side steps, specialized all-weather cargo mats, and a fully customizable navigation screen that can be shifted in all of its 10.2-inch entirety to the digital gauge cluster.
3. It loves to be in the wild
Having taken the F-Pace off-road, braving steep rocky inclines, grass-covered mesa tops, and across abandoned creek beds, I can attest that it’s not just an urban-dwelling showboat. There’s a lot of capability that you won’t find unless you’re in the wild. It takes full advantage of decades of Range Rover technology, as well as Jaguar’s exclusive All Surface Progress Control (ASPC) crawl control, and throws just enough ground clearance at you in order to escape the jaws of that Velociraptor.
4. You have engine options
One thing that really impressed me about the F-Pace was the fact that it can be had with three different engine options. While the aforementioned retuning of the Roots-supercharged V6 produces both a 340- and 380-horsepower variant, it’s the addition of a turbo four-cylinder to the lineup that’s notable. While it wasn’t available for testing in Colorado at the time, I did get to experience this powerplant in the all-new Jaguar XE. So if it performs anything like it did in the sedan, buyers wanting improved fuel economy and 318 pound-feet of torque are going to love the Ingenium diesel.
5. Test out both suspension kits
While the adaptive dampening suspension setup (which monitors driving inputs 500 times per second and adjusts accordingly) will more than likely be the biggest hit with potential buyers, it’s the stock suspension that surprised me: Even though the F-Pace’s “Adaptive Dynamics” system is extremely well executed, I didn’t find myself missing it as the aluminum double-wishbone front and Integral Link rear setup performed flawlessly, offering a very balanced ride on and off road.
6. It’s more F-Type than you think
There’s so much F-Type in the F-Pace that just by looking at its lines and signature taillights you can see why it has been entitled as such instead of receiving a separate nameplate. But it doesn’t just stop with a few sexy lines and a set of LED lamps; with its aluminum architecture, torque vectoring technology, and ability to put 90% of all available power to the rear wheels in dry conditions, the sports CUV world has a new mascot.