The salacious Jaguar F-Type may set hearts afire, but the truth is it's the F-PACE that keeps the lights on. Since being introduced in 2016, the handsome F-PACE crossover has easily managed to outsell its stablemates. And how can anyone be surprised? It does, after all, live up to the classic Jaguar mantra of grace, space, and pace. The 2018 Jaguar F-PACE provides the pace with a newly available turbocharged four-cylinder, and the grace and space remain as undeniably Jaguar – and undeniably alluring – as ever.

Best Value

To option out an F-PACE is to master the art of mixing and matching. Besides the six trim levels, there are four engines available, including two 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinders, a supercharged V6, and a four-pot turbodiesel. Of all these, the V6 is the most tantalizing, but it costs a pretty penny and is reserved only for the top-tier models. The 296-horsepower turbo-four isn't as ritzy, but the combination of power and affordability make it our choice.

As for trim, we'd go for the R-Sport, which sits second from top in the F-PACE hierarchy. Compared to the lower-spec models, the R-Sport brings on board important and worthwhile features like automatic emergency braking, lane keeping and lane change assist, blind-spot monitoring, driver condition alerts, and other active safety features. There's also a nice heaping of frivolous features, such as 18-way power heated seats, genuine leather upholstery, and 20-inch wheels. If you want your F-PACE to act the part of a luxury crossover rather than just look it, the R-Sport with the 296-hp four-cylinder is the best way to go.

This is what our Coventry kitty would look like once the paperwork was finalized:

  • Model: 2018 Jaguar F-PACE R-Sport
  • Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
  • Output: 296 hp / 301 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: All-wheel drive
  • MPG: 22 City / 27 Hwy
  • Options: Comfort and Convenience Package ($1,840, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, electronically reclining rear seats, remote release levers for the rear seats, power gesture tailgate).
  • Base Price: $58,170 (including a $995 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price: $60,010

Performance

Jaguar F-Pace

With so many powertrain combinations, there's a whole spectrum of performance available to the prospective buyer. The two questions are only how fast you want to go and how much you want to spend.

While the base 247-hp 2.0-liter turbo-four is no slouch, it might not cut the mustard for some. Not to worry, there's also a 296-hp version of this engine available. That extra juice cuts the zero to 60 time down to 5.7 seconds – not too shabby for a 3,900-pound crossover. Unfortunately, our experience with this motor in other Jaguar products has been less than stellar. While the power is there, it delivers it with moans and groans, caterwauling its way up the rev range. While we haven't driven an F-PACE with this engine, we can only hope that it sounds more refined than it does elsewhere in the lineup.

The availability of the four-cylinders aren't too surprising. What crossover these days doesn't offer a 2.0-liter turbo-four? But a little more notable are the two other engines Jaguar is willing to plunk into the bay: a 180-hp turbodiesel and a 380-hp supercharged V6. As you might imagine, the former is a thrifty little powerplant that's also the slowest choice here. The latter, though, is a lovely piece of work, with effortless power and throttle response as smooth as polished marble.

No matter what's under the hood, all F-PACE models handle impressively for a vehicle with such a high center of gravity. It's not surprising, when you consider that this is a product of the company which built the D-Type, E-Type, and, its current superstar, the F-Type.

All that road-going heritage doesn't preclude it from having off-roading capability, either. Indeed, the F-PACE has taken a few cues from corporate sibling Land Rover, and boasts 8.4 inches of ground clearance and 20.7 inches of water-fording capability.

Style

It might not be quite as beautiful as the achingly-handsome XF shooting brake, but there's few crossovers which can match the tastefully elegant lines of the F-PACE. It refrains from chasing fads or turning the front and rear fascias into automotive Halloween masks. Instead, everything is subtle and traditional while also hinting at the potential of the mechanical hardware hiding underneath.

All this is a modern interpretation of the philosophies that have guided Jaguar since the days of Sir William Lyons. The interior, though, is a far cry from the wood-and-leather sanctuaries that defined old Jaguars. The F-PACE opts for a simple-but-functional cabin, one that doesn't even have genuine leather until you reach the R-Sport trim. We find it a bit spartan, especially when thoughts of the marque's old saloons sneak upon us.

Despite lacking the feel of a British smoking room, it's still a fine place to spend time in. There's good visibility all around, and the seats are firm, supportive, and comfortable. What we don't like are the many inconspicuous black buttons and the awkwardly placed windows and door locks. Once you unlock the doors rather than accidentally lower the windows, the passengers who pile in will find themselves with enough space to get comfortable.

The Best and Worst Things

The style and performance (from the optional four and six, at least) is classic Jaguar – effortless, smooth, and debonair. If James Bond metamorphosed into a crossover, it'd be the Jaguar F-PACE.

Unfortunately, the spartan interior and awkwardly placed switchgear make one wistfully reminisce about the parlor-room-on-wheels interiors of vintage Jaguars.

Right For? Wrong For?

Jaguar F-Pace

Those who love the elegance and performance of a Jaguar but need space and capability would do well to take a look at this crossover.

If you're looking for fuel economy, shop elsewhere. The four-cylinder's EPA ratings of 22 miles per gallon city and 27 mpg highway are disappointing. The diesel does manage 33 mpg highway, but the slow-moving oil-burner isn't for everyone.

The Bottom Line

It's hard to walk away from the 2018 Jaguar F-PACE without feelings of exhilaration and glee. That's what this machine is, after all – a crossover that's been spiked with emotion. Any faults or quibbles you have with it fall away as the F-PACE evokes a certain right-brain pleasure that few crossovers can match. We can say with confidence that this is one crossover Sir William Lyons would approve of.