I’ve driven many a stunning car over the years, but some extraordinary rides still catch me off-guard. The past week with the Jaguar F-PACE SVR has been a truly special motoring experience that took me to an unexpected place in both my head and my heart. It was also the very first time I’ve gone back to return a review car and asked if I could keep it a little bit longer; and I’d like to extend a giant thank you to Duncan & Ebbett for obliging.
Jaguar F-PACE SVR is bloody good at everything
This is the second time we’ve had a go in the Jaguar F-PACE SVR here at Tarmac Life so I knew to expect a thrill-ride. I picked up this car expecting to be treated by the pure, unadulterated and unapologetic raw power from its supercharged 5.0L V8 engine and I was. That power plant delivers everything a performance car fan could wish for and then some. It’d be a waste of everyone’s time to go into detail on kilowatts, newton metres or the vent magic Jaguar engineered to improve airflow and downforce – suffice to say that Jaguar nailed it with this one. As Jaguar transitions towards an electrified future, I’m convinced that there isn’t much more they can achieve developing this magnificent V8 further. This engine is a fitting celebration of racing performance technology; it is the perfect place to leave it.
Taking the Jaguar F-PACE out to the Waikato country roads was every bit as thrilling as you’d expect it to be. Jaguar’s racing pedigree is fully on show and the car delivers a heavy SUV driving experience like no other; the drive is controlled and impressively forgiving of road surface imperfections without detracting from the control that someone, who loves the experience of driving, demands. The car allows you to be the driver and that balance is not something that all competitors have perfected.
The dreaded F-word
So far so good, right? Nobody is shocked that the Jaguar F-PACE SVR is an absolute missile of a racing SUV. It’s self-evident from the second you glance at the spec sheet and this is what I thought I would write about. Before my time in the car, I had almost pre-written this piece in my mind like an adrenaline junkie. I still could, but I did not ask to keep the car for longer because I wanted to return it with slicks; I wanted to keep the car longer because it excels in absolutely everything my life threw at it.
The Jaguar F-PACE SVR is an exceptional family car. Whilst this car is bought and sold based on its racing pedigree, there are many fast cars out there that are great fun as thrill rides, but they end up as weekend joyriders because they are, frankly, quite impractical in everyday life.
Is the refined comfort there? Is the space versatile and plentiful? Does it intimidate the fragile soul out of your non-racer life partner if they do a school run in it? Can you run your business from it? Can you walk right after a few hours drive to your regional office for a staff meeting? These kinds of questions can leave you wondering if a car like this – fun as performance cars usually are – is a great choice for everything else that life entails; the Jaguar F-PACE SVR has answered all these questions with an unequivocal and emphatic yes!
We took the kids out in the Jag on a couple of occasions and whether it was a trip to daycare, visit the grandparents or anything else, the F-PACE didn’t miss a beat. My wife took it to Bunnings and came back with a boot full of garage insulation without any problems at all. Kiwi life is versatile and the Jaguar F-PACE SVR meets those needs on every level.
Real life isn’t always clean, tidy and perfect and this is where the Jaguar F-PACE SVR shines. It has the heart of a race car, but around it is a well-rounded and more competent package of family luxury and that ensures that the F-PACE doesn’t end up as a weekend joyrider.
Office on the move
If you are considering the Jaguar F-PACE SVR, there’s a good chance most of your drives are productive rather than idle waste of time. I like to schedule calls when I know I’m driving for a couple of hours and this is where not all cars are created equal; the Jaguar F-PACE is a phenomenally serene environment to get those calls done. Jaguar’s noise cancelling technology makes the cabin whisper quiet in normal driving and the car’s driving aids like lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control actually work to a full stop and refrain from being obtrusive. The car is your silent, refined and competent assistant on the road.
Cancel that appointment, I’m going for a drive!
The other unexpected experience I had in the Jaguar F-PACE SVR was probably the most profound. Thankfully the notion of mental health is an open topic these days and I’m not afraid to admit that I’ve had a pretty tough time recently. There’s uncertainty, children’s health, cabin fever… a never-ending conveyor belt of stress and anxiety over my own life and the responsibility I have felt over other people and their families that have placed their faith and trust in me. Over time, this has compounded and resulted in an expanding waistline (or shall we say “executive curve”) and loss of joy in everyday life.
My big moment took place somewhere between Taupiri and Gordonton; I found the best therapist in the world and it was that grotesque and obscene supercharged V8 under the hood of the Jaguar F-PACE SVR. I don’t know how it happened, but the Jaguar dug up some long-forgotten primitive emotions that overcame every shadow and doubt in my mind and replaced them with a renewed vigour, optimism and juvenile appreciation of every tight corner, every crackle and pop from the exhaust and that profanity inducing sensation of accelerating out of a turn and onto an open road (all within the law, of course).
I think we all know that the sun has been setting on the V8 for a while and there are many great reasons why this king of adrenaline belongs in the past, but I also know that my children will miss out on the raw emotions that I’ve experienced behind the wheel of these beasts. Of course I recognise it as the “okay, boomer” sentiment that it admittedly is, but I’m also honest enough to say that there aren’t many things that can invoke the kind of primitive psychotherapy that a car like the Jaguar F-Pace SVR provides its drivers.
It’s a now or never moment
We’re living a time of progressive transition to the next thing in performance motoring. It’s a bright, clean and exciting future for sure, but a part of me will always have very fond memories of the different kind of excitement that only a massive V8 can offer.
We’ll all have plenty of opportunities to experience and cherish the electric excitement of the future and it’ll be great, but if you are in a position to take this one last run in a luxury performance SUV sporting a rumbling and grumbling supercharged V8, you need to take it! You don’t want to end up wondering whether you should have taken that last opportunity when you had it.
The Jaguar F-PACE SVR is the final supercharged V8 masterpiece from Jaguar. The time is now.
How to get your hands on one?
There aren’t many left in the country, but the team at Duncan & Ebbett pre-registered a stack of them at the end of March and there are still a few left at the time of writing. These are the last cars to avoid the government’s Clean Car Fee, too, so there are significant savings to be had.
Call Duncan & Ebbett on 07-838-1211 to find out if any are left. The bell for last orders has gone so get in now or forever hold your peace.