We received news of a deadly predator prowling the streets of Kathmandu and it immediately caught our attention. A rare breed to find in this part of the world, it was imperative that we respond quickly; which we did. What followed were a series of events that left us sweaty, shaking and with a massive grin across our faces.

Here, we bring to you the exclusive review of our adventure with the Jaguar F-Pace, a phenomenal machine that integrates the driving enjoyment of a sports car, the practicality of an SUV, and the impeccable styling of a modern Jaguar.

EXTERIOR

The Jaguar F-Pace is the company’s first SUV, where they’ve taken a page out of their cousin’s handbook and integrated some Land Rover genes into the Jaaaaag! So, it isn’t completely surprising that it’s the F-Pace is roughly the size as the Discovery Sport. However, it isn’t an exact copy of the Land Rover. This, of course, was a carefully strategized maneuver. Slapping the leaping cat emblem on any one of the SUVs from the Jaguar Land Rover roster would have resulted in a lukewarm product. On the contrary, its underpinnings have more in common with the Jaguar’s XE and XF saloons. This means it has a rigid, largely aluminum (80%) structure to improve agility.

Concealing all this effort is a body that has been designed by the very best from Jaguar. It is an SUV that has been packaged in a sporty and exclusive manner. Come up to face the F-Pace and you’ll get the chance to admire the stunning beauty of the machine. The Jaguar crest sits in the center of a large honeycombed grille, flanked by bright LED headlights on either side that stare right back at you with a strong confident frown.

Move on to the side and you’ll notice the bulk of the F-Pace. The swooping roofline gives it a sporty appeal. The sleek taillights inspired from the F-Type wrap around to the rear which is where the F-Pace resembles the mean stare of a big cat. Since you’ll have most of the traffic behind you when you’re driving the F-Pace, it is certain they’ll be receiving a pretty decent view. If we dare to gripe about one single thing on this wildcat, it would be the less than enticing tailpipes.

INTERIOR

As you’d expect, the interiors are a splendid affair. Leg, knee and shoulder room are adequate for all passengers. Get into the driving seat and you’ll have in front of you a chunky three-spoke steering wheel with a plethora of buttons for telephony and audio controls. The layout is driver-friendly and has a premium feel to it. The SUV gets a digital instrument cluster which different types of displays to suit your needs. The center console gets a large touchscreen, which is very easy to connect and operate.

Additional cool features like the panoramic sliding roof and the circular rotary gear selector that smoothly elevates and reveals itself upon ignition brings a wide grin across your face. You get a good vantage point out of the cockpit with a clear view of what’s going ahead of you. The same can’t be said about the rearward visibility, albeit the large ORVMs do a good job of letting you know what’s going on. A quirky bit of design, which can also be seen on the Land Rover SUVs, is the placement of the window switches, which is on the windowpane instead of the door panel.

PERFORMANCE

We have established that the Jaguar F-Pace is a sight for sore eyes. It has all the amenities you’d want in your everyday SUV and more. But what the F-Pace really brings to the table is the DNA it shares with the F-Type. So, what that means is, in essence, is that this surpasses the performances of a normal SUV. And boy does it deliver.

It isn’t a sports car by any definition of the word, the corner-carving prowess of the F-type is impossible to replicate on an SUV; it’s just physics. Having said that, it is important here that we emphasize how good the F-Pace really is. The body control is superbly sustained for an SUV this size and it maintains its composure deceptively well in the corners. Much like a predator fixated on its runaway prey, it throws caution to the wind and flings itself into corners with reckless abandon and regains its poise on the exit, still fixated on its target. As difficult as it may be to believe, the Jaguar F-Pace turns into even more of an animal on the straights.

Powered by a 2.0 Liter engine that churns out a 250Bhp and peak torque of 365Nm. This translates to a machine that is eager to impress.

The idle growl emanating from the bonnet explodes into a  full-grown blare when you stamp your foot hard down on the pedal.

While there is a slight bit of lag in the power delivery, the Jaguar makes up for it by reaching its maximum torque very early. The engine is mated to an 8-speed automatic gearbox, offering smooth shifts but the cogs aren’t swapped at lightning speed when you need it; good thing though is, you can manually take control of things using the steering mounted paddles.

There are several driving modes you can choose from that alter the throttle response, steering weight and gearshifts according to the mode you choose. You get to choose from the eco mode, adaptive service response mode, low friction launch, and (our favorite) the dynamic mode.

Sharply poke the accelerator and the F-Pace responds like an angry caged Jaguar would when you poke it with a stick. It prances into action with a hefty drone of the engine and aggressively gathers speed. And to bring things to a stop, the braking system performs in a topnotch manner.

SAFETY FEATURES

The Jaguar F-Pace gets safety features like multiple airbags and ABS with EBD along with other techs like autonomous emergency braking, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Driver Attention Monitor, Blind Spot Monitor, Reverse Traffic Detection, Park Assist, Surround Camera System and Adaptive Cruise Control with Queue Assist.

VERDICT

Although Jaguar has been a prominent name in the automotive world, it has always been outnumbered in terms of sales by other European firms, mainly the German monikers. They sell cars in the millions per year, while Jaguar sells fewer than 100,000 per year. The F Pace is the British carmaker’s wild card that is set out to change this by taking the fight to the Germans. However, in the Nepalese market the Jaguar is king of the jungle.

Rivaled only by its Range Rover cousin, the F-Pace is as fun as an SUV gets. There are a mindboggling number of features that you get and the quality of the interiors speaks for its class. And when you drive it, a wide smile is guaranteed.

Last, but not least, the appearance puts the Jaguar F-Pace right up there in the head-turn-o-meter. The only shortcoming is that the dealers did not bring the F-Pace in red, which they should have. But we’re just going to let it slide this one time.