2019 Jaguar F-Pace to expand premium-crossover lineup with hot-rod V-8 SVR

2019 Jaguar F-Pace

2019 Jaguar F-Pace

What changes will make the 2019 Jaguar F-Pace different?

An ultra-high-performance variant of this premium compact crossover to challenge the likes of the Porsche Macan Turbo and Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio. Reportedly packing more than 550 horsepower, the 2019 Jaguar F-Pace SVR would be one of the most powerful SUVs of any size. But it would not be alone, as a new wave of monster performance sweeps the crossover field.

Among F-Pace competitors, Mercedes-Benz already fields the 503-horsepower AMG GLC63 S Coupe, Porsche a 440-horse edition of the Macan, and Alfa Romeo the 505-horsepower Stelvio. Audi is said to be working up a fire-breathing RS Q5. Performance purists may blanch, but ever more-powerful SUVs are where the buyers are, and where the profit is.

The F-Pace was introduced for model-year 2017 as Jaguar’s first SUV. It’s since been joined by the smaller and less expensive 2018 E-Pace subcompact premium crossover. The F-Pace is sized and priced to bridge the compact- and midsize-crossover classes. Bolster by an impressive breadth of models and performance, it’s been a critical and commercial success. Sales trail those of the Audi Q5, BMW X3, and Mercedes-Benz GLC, but the F-Pace found enough buyers to become the fastest-selling new Jaguar ever. A host of model-year 2018 enhancements, and intro of the 2019 SVR, should continue to bolster its success.

Why should I wait for the 2019?

To get your hands on the SVR, which reportedly will pack a supercharged V-8 with more than 550 horsepower and have a starting price likely to undercut that of the 440-horsepower Macan Turbo with Performance Package. The balance of the ’19 F-Pace line should see no major changes. That’s a good thing, if you’re not hankerin’ for the SVR. Jaguar made several updates to the 2018 F-Pace that make it a worthwhile alternative to a ‘19, especially since the carryover 2019 models will cost more than their mirror-image 2018 counterparts.

Should I buy a 2018 model instead?

If you don’t care about the SVR, absolutely. Jaguar made the 2018 F-Pace more competitive by replacing a supercharged V-6 with a pair of more fuel-efficient turbocharged four-cylinders. And it expanded availability of some key safety features – although it didn’t expand it enough, in our view.

Other than addition of the V-8-powered SVR as the new flagship, expect Jaguar’s windy 2018 model-naming strategy to carry over for 2019. The automaker delineates the core of the F-Pace lineup by engine: the gas four-cylinder 25t and 30t models, the turbodiesel four-cylinder 20d, and the supercharged V-6 S. The sport-themed S stands alone, but all other models are available in Premium, Prestige, and R-Sport trim levels. The 25t additionally has an entry-level base grade, and the 30t tops out with a luxury Portfolio-trim offering.

Will the styling be different?

Save for the SVR, probably not. Given Jaguar’s history of groundbreaking design, we understand why some pundits deem the F-Pace generic-looking. It’s not as flashy as the brand’s F-Type sports car, for example, but we’d hardly consider the exterior design uninspired. Jaguar lets the body form make a subtle, sophisticated statement, and punctuates it with a lovely mesh grille, artfully narrow headlights, and fender vents. Spy shots of camouflaged prototypes of what’s likely the SVR show it’ll keep the F-Pace shape but add larger wheels, tires, and brakes, quad exhaust outlets, and perhaps some subtle aero and air-intake enhancements.

For 2019, the F-Pace driver, front passenger, and outboard rear passengers will continue to benefit from headroom and legroom that exceed most compact-class rivals. While it can accommodate a center-rear occupant, the driveshaft tunnel creates an intrusive hump along the spine of the floor. Cargo volume will also remain at the upper end of the competitive set, abetted by a handy 40/20/40 split-folding rear seatback that, when lowered, creates a nearly flat loading floor.

Also back will be the rotary transmission-gear selector that automatically rises from the console when you start the vehicle. That’s one of the few flourishes in an otherwise understated cabin design compared to the flashier interiors of, say the GLC or the Infiniti QX50.The F-Pace’s central touchscreen infotainment system and available imbedded navigation setup don’t operate with the slick precision of Audi’s MMI, but they’re far more user friendly than on past Jaguars.

It’s in some of the details that the F-Pace cabin falters a bit. The surfaces you see and regularly touch are padded and feel appropriately high quality. However, you don’t have to look hard to find trim pieces constructed of hollow, budget-grade plastic. The power window switches mounted high on the door sill are here an ergonomic faux pas borrowed from Land Rover, the sibling brand also under the ownership of Tata Motors of India. Other interior disappointments include a steering-wheel center cap that looks unfinished and climate vents that don’t move with the smooth precision found on other Jaguar vehicles. We might overlook these faults on entry-level F-Pace models, but not on higher-end trims with sticker prices over $65,000.

Any mechanical changes?

The SVR is the 2019 F-Pace headline here. At its heart would be a supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 borrowed from the F-Type SVR coupe. In the sports car, it produces 575 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. Packaging (and prestige) considerations could have it producing a bit less in the F-Pace, maybe 565 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque. Like the rest of the F-Pace line, the SVR would use an eight-speed automatic transmission and come standard with and all-wheel drive (AWD) system calibrated primarily to improve grip on slippery pavement and enhance handling on dry roads.

The 2019 F-Pace 25t and 30t models will return with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. The 25t has 247 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque, the 30t has 296 and 295, respectively. The 2019 20d will reprise a turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel four-cylinder with 180 horsepower and 318 pound-feet of torque. Gone for 2018 is the F-Pace 35t, which had a 340-horsepower supercharged 3.0-liter V-6. A version of that engine, with 380 horsepower and 332 pound-feet, lives on in the S model.

Despite its commendable torque, only the turbodiesel four seems out of place in the athletic F-Pace. It feels lethargic compared with the zingy nature of the gas engines, and it’s far rougher-running than appropriate for a premium crossover.

As for road manners, though, any ‘19 F-Pace would continue to rank with the Macan and Stelvio as the best-handling crossovers in the class, and easily place among the best-handling SUVs of any stripe. Precise steering, tremendous grip, and only a hint of body lean in fast turns are highlights. The 19-inch wheels and tires on Premium and Prestige grades offer the best blend of ride comfort and handling prowess. The 20s included on the R-Sport and S make the ride marginally stiffer, but still not uncomfortable. We hope Jaguar limits the SVR to 20s because the 22-inch wheels available on other F-Pace models brutalize ride quality.

Will fuel economy improve?

Expect no change for the returning model, but the SVR certainly would put a dent in the lineup’s average. Expect the hot-rod V-8 to have EPA ratings of around 16/21/18 mpg city/highway/combined.

Other F-Pace models should see no change from their 2018 ratings. Those were 26/33/29 mpg for the diesel 20d, 22/27/24 mpg for the gas four-cylinder 25t and 30t, and 18/23/20 mpg for the V-6 S.

All gas engines would again require premium-grade 91-octane fuel. The diesel needs ultra-low-sulfur fuel, along with special after-treatment fluid. Jaguar allows owners to top off the fluid in a pinch but recommends a dealer visit for a full service. Fortunately, this is covered by the brand’s 5-year/60,000-mile complimentary maintenance program.

Will it have new features?

Perhaps. One of our primary criticisms of the 2017 F-Pace was Jaguar’s limiting of key driver-assistance features to only the most expensive models. The company rectified this somewhat for 2018, making blind-spot alert with rear cross-traffic detection, automatic emergency braking, and lane-departure warning available on the volume-selling Premium and Prestige grades. However, you can only get them as part of a pricey option package, and adaptive cruise control remains available only on the R-Sport, S, and Portfolio. We would like Jaguar to make all these features standard across the board, or at least make them more accessible and affordable.

Likely returning as standard on the Base are 18-inch wheels, 10-way power front seats, a panoramic sunroof and rear liftgate, and a 380-watt Meridian-brand audio system. Note that for 2018 a rearview camera is optional on this model, but US government regulation mandates that all passenger vehicles must have one as standard equipment from May 1, 2018.

Upgrading to the Premium would net 19-inch wheels, power-folding exterior mirrors, and a memory driver’s seat.

Prestige grades would add keyless access, Xenon headlights, front- and rear-obstacle detection, ambient interior lighting, power lumbar adjustment for the front seats, imbedded GPS navigation, and leather upholstery with heated front seats and steering wheel.

R-Sport would have 20-inch wheels, a sport body kit, adaptive LED headlights, sport bucket front seats with 18-way power adjustment, lane-keep assist, drowsy-driver alert, blind-spot alert, rear cross-traffic detection, and automatic emergency braking. The S includes all R-Sport equipment plus an electronic adaptive suspension, and Jaguar Adaptive Surface Response, which adjusts engine and brake settings to maximize grip in virtually all road conditions. Figure on the SVR having similar levels of equipment as the S.

The Portfolio adds a larger infotainment screen, a fully digital instrument panel, 20-way power front seats, power-reclining rear seatbacks, cooled front seats, heated outboard rear seats, imbedded Wi-Fi hotspot capability, head-up instrument display, cooled glovebox, hands-free power liftgate, four-zone automatic climate control, and an 825-watt Meridian audio system.

How will 2019 prices be different?

They’ll certainly increase, especially if Jaguar adds the driver aids as standard equipment. Count on starting prices that span $44,000-$63,000 for models up to the Portfolio, including manufacturer destination fee, which was $995 for 2018. We expect the SVR to start at around $70,000.

Returning will likely be the Cold Climate Package ($1,430 on 2018 models) for the Base and Premium, which would include heated front and rear seats, a heated windshield and washer jets, and a heated steering wheel.

The Vision Package for the Premium ($2,145) and Prestige ($2,350) includes blind-spot and cross-traffic alert, emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and front- and rear-obstacle detection. Premium grades add Xenon headlights with washers, while the Prestige gets full LED headlights with automatic high-beam adjustment.

Prestige, R-Sport, and S versions offer a Technology Package ($3,265) that includes an upgraded audio system, 10-inch touchscreen infotainment, and imbedded Wi-Fi hotspot. The Comfort and Convenience Package ($1,840) includes cooled front seats, heated rear seats, hands-free liftgate, and power reclining rear seatbacks.

The Luxury Interior Package for the R-Sport and S ($2,350) adds a cooled glovebox, four-zone climate control, and unique interior trim. The Driver Assistance Package ($3,265) nets adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, and a surround-view camera.

The Adaptive Dynamics Package ($1,020) is available for the Prestige, R-Sport, and Portfolio, and it adds the S model’s adaptive suspension and surface response.

We expect the SVR to have no option packages, but it will probably offer a few standalone extras that you can also find on other F-Pace models, such as different 20- and 22-inch wheels ($1,020-$4,080), paint colors ($565-$1,530), heated windshield ($385), genuine wood inlays ($310), and head-up instrument display ($1,010).

When will it come out?

The 2019 Jaguar F-Pace SVR will likely be introduced at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show in March, with release date for all 2019 F-Pace models in summer 2018.

Best competitors

Acura RDX, Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Audi Q5, BMW X3, Infiniti QX50, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Porsche Macan, Volvo XC60

What change would make it better?

Number one on our list is for Jaguar to include driver-assistance features as standard equipment on all trim levels of the 2019 F-Pace. It’s almost inexcusable at this point because you can buy an $18,000 Toyota Corolla that comes standard with lane-departure warning and adaptive cruise control.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]