If you’re looking at buying a Jaguar F-Pace SUV and trying to decide between the Prestige, Portfolio, R-Sport, S and SVR trim levels, the R-Sport represents a great balance of price and standard equipment, combined with sportier looks than the less expensive Prestige and Portfolio versions.
The R-Sport trim level is the F-Pace’s equivalent of the BMW X3 M Sport, Audi Q5 S line, Volvo XC60 R Design and Mercedes GLC AMG line – all cars designed to offer a range of engines with reasonable running costs along with the looks of higher-performance, more expensive models in the brands’ ranges.
Visually, the F-Pace R-Sport is set apart by standard 19-inch alloys (up from the 18-inch wheels from lower down the range), a sporty bodykit, darkened window surrounds and roof rails and xenon headlights. Inside, occupants enjoy aluminium trim highlights, leather-upholstered sports seats, an R-Sport branded steering wheel and (if you go for an automatic gearbox) satin chrome gearshift paddles.
One of the big advantages of getting your F-Pace in R-Sport trim is that you can choose from any of the engines in the SUV’s range. The diesel line-up comprises a 2.0-litre 161bhp engine with rear-wheel drive and a manual gearbox, a 2.0-litre 177bhp engine with either rear or four-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox and the most powerful choice: a 2.0-litre 237bhp engine that’s only available with four-wheel drive and automatic transmission.
If you’d prefer petrol, you can pick between a 2.0-litre 246bhp or a 2.0-litre 296bhp engine – both only available as four-wheel drive automatics. The least powerful diesel is primarily intended for company-car drivers with an eye on CO2 emissions and Benefit-in-Kind tax rates; it can feel a little underpowered, so we’d recommend either the 177bhp diesel or 246bhp petrol for private buyers, with the former getting the big SUV from 0-60mph in just 8.2 seconds, as well as cruising calmly at motorway speeds.
The F-Pace four-wheel-drive system is worth getting, as it behaves like a rear-wheel-drive car most of the time, but gives you extra reassurance in wet or icy conditions, plus the ability to tackle some fairly rough terrain if required. When it comes to practicality, the F-Pace’s sporty nature doesn’t compromise things: it has a 650-litre boot with all seats in place, plus the ability to split and fold the rears for larger payloads.
Overall it’s a very impressive package, with our only real criticisms of the F-Pace concerning some interior materials of questionable quality, as well as some oddly positioned window switches that could take some getting used to.
The R-Sport is an ideal choice of specification for the Jaguar F-Pace SUV, blending appealingly sporty looks with a decent amount of standard equipment for a reasonable price.