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The Jaguar F-PACE SVR is all the performance you need

Braaaap! I can hear the giggles from the back seat each time I stab the gas inside the 2021 Jaguar F-PACE SVR. As we crest another hill, I give it a little more juice to hear the staccato shot gun blasts from the four pipes in the rear. Pulling the big paddles behind the wheel produce a tight downshift and more cackles from the pipes. My daughter laughs with each rev. So do I.

This is a ridiculous SUV. Too bad it’s already dead.

Get one:

The whine of an honest-to-god supercharger. Torque for days. Comfy.

Don’t get one:

Drinks gas like it’s going out of style. Not the sharpest handler in its class.

Soul Score: 8

If you are not laughing after five minutes behind the wheel, check your pulse.

2021 Jaguar F-PACE SVR overview

Performance SUVs have always been a bit odd, sort of like being asked to run a marathon with a book bag strapped to your back. But they’ve been around for awhile now, and they’ve gotten a lot better since those first iterations appeared. Enter this Jag. Tuned by SVR (Jaguar’s Special Vehicle Ratings team), it’s equivalent to M, AMG, and all the other alphabet soups car makers slap on the most performance-oriented models.

Debuting in 2019, the F-PACE has aged well and still looks modern, both inside and out. It’s also well-equipped, a good thing considering its nearly 100k asking price. But with the news that Jaguar is going to an all-electric fleet by 2025, the supercharged V-8 in this F-PACE is headed for the museum. That’s a shame, because it’s a big part of what gives this car such personality.

Jaguar F-Pace SVR
Svelte looks give way to a subtle, aggressive body kit on the SVR.
Jaguar F-Pace SVR
22-inch wheels look the business.
Jaguar F-Pace SVR
Inside, it’s clean and modern.

Performance Score: 8. Dino-roar.

The Jaguar F-PACE SVR has a 5.0 liter supercharged V-8 under the hood, and despite the lux looks and feel, it’s an animal when you tip the throttle. It’s the same V-8 from the F-TYPE sports car, and with 550 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque, it’s as much speed as you might need in this type of SUV. But this V-8 has quite the history attached to it.

Remember when Ford owned Jaguar? One of the good things to come from that union was the AJ V-8. It was introduced back in 1996 and installed in a wide range of Lincolns, Fords, and even Aston Martins. Updated along the way, the V-8 in the F-PACE is the last of the breed.

And it’s somewhat of a miracle that the engine is even still in the F-PACE. Ford closed the Bridgend Plant in 2020, where the engine was produced. Despite the fact that Jaguar had already committed to electric power, they took on production of the AJ. Bravo to them.

Jaguar F-Pace SVR
Like all modern performance SUVs, the SVR is based off the more pedestrian F-PACE.

It was worth it. Power is available anywhere in the rev range, and the whine of the supercharger is both intoxicating and fun. An adjustable switch for the exhaust note is on the center console, but it’s a waste of dash space. Just leave the valves open all the time.

Surprisingly, peak torque isn’t available until the tach hits 3,500, and that makes you toe the gas a little more than you might initially think if you’d like access all of the SVR’s performance. It’s not a bad thing – launches are never an ordeal, and revving the motor means you get to hear the F-PACE roar.

Jaguar F-Pace SVR
You have to press the yum-yum button if you want to hear the exhaust at full-boom. Why would you ever not press it? The drive mode dial selects Dynamic, comfort, eco, and wet, and retreats back to it’s flush with the console when not in use.

There’s a chassis too.

The rest of the car is excellent, if not as sharp as an X3 M. That’s ok; it’s more comfortable for daily duties. Turning the drive control knob to the “Race” setting firms up the electronic suspension and makes the steering heavier, though no more precise. It’s nice to let the car adjust for you – without separate controls for steering, suspension, etc. You’re not always asking “Did I set it up right?”

That’s part of the fun here. Stabbing the gas makes the nose pitch up, and it’s plenty responsive on the back roads. You might be carrying a back pack around, but you’re still in Nikes.

The only niggle in the performance of the F-PACE is its brakes. Initially difficult to modulate for smooth stops, driving the car for a few days will help you adjust. Otherwise, they perform very effectively.

Jaguar F-Pace SVR
It’s a little softer than some other high-powered SUVs, but the harsher ride of others is never missed.
Jaguar F-Pace SVR
This is “Velocity Blue”, and it’s a $4,550 option. It’s worth it.

Utility Score: 7. Shapely and stately.

The regular F-PACE is already an excellent SUV, and the SVR does nothing to take away from its hauling capability. The rear window has an aggressive slope to it, and the opening is a bit narrow for loading boxes, but there’s always a price to pay for sexy. Think of it as a good compromise between the boxy shape of a traditional SUV vs one with a sloping coupe roof line, such as an X4.

Rear seat space is very good, and my daughter’s car seat fit nicely. There’s also plenty of cubbies situated throughout the car. The glovebox is even cooled. Overall, the F-PACE makes for one bad-ass daily. Just keep away from opening the exhaust on your test drive, and your normally suspicious spouse would be none the wiser.

Jaguar F-Pace SVR
The SVR does not suffer from badge overload, and features just a few tasteful reminders inside.
Jaguar F-Pace SVR
The infotainment system is easy to use, with a nice graphic interface.
Jaguar F-Pace SVR
The transmission is the same ZF 8-speed that’s offered in many current cars. It’s just as good in the SVR.

Efficiency: 4. V-fate.

Maybe it’s my fault. I did love to push that gas pedal at every stop light. But in this day and age, the 15 MPG I averaged for the week wasn’t doing the fate of the V-8 any favors. Gas prices being what they are, it’s something to consider.

Turbocharged 6-cylinder engines may perform just as well as this V-8, but none sound nearly as intoxicating.

Jaguar F-Pace SVR
Does get a bit thirsty…

Features and Comfort: 8. It’s special inside.

Step inside, and you’re greeted by a driver’s seat with single piece seat-backs, quilted Merino leather, and Alcantara. Settling in is easy, and the side bolsters offer excellent support. I always prefer longer seat bottom cushions to help support my 6’1 frame, but smaller drivers should find the seats perfect.

There’s a Meridian Sound System and an infotainment screen with a really nice graphics interface. If you’re coming from the business of iDrive, this is a breath of fresh air. The sunroof is gigantic and tinted in such a way that doesn’t let a lot of heat in.

Jaguar F-Pace SVR
Big sunroof looks great. Sport seats offer support for days.

A mix of Alcantara and leather lives throughout the cabin, particularly on the dashboard and doors. The console shifter is shaped like the throttle on a jet fighter, and paddles are integrated into the nicely-shaped steering wheel.

Disappointments? Not many. I prefer floor-mounted gas pedals that are bigger in size for easier throttle manipulation, but this might not affect you. I’d go with an interior color that doesn’t resemble Darth Vader’s bedroom. Some of the buttons are in odd places (the radio in particular – why can’t we just have a dial next to the screen?) Speaking of screens, it should be mounted higher in the dash so you don’t need to look down.

Jaguar F-Pace SVR
I wonder why digital dashes exist if they are just going to replicate real gauges.

Performance SUVs should be tuned like the F-PACE SVR.

Are you taking your F-PACE SVR to the track? Probably not. And that makes me wonder why I need the super stiff suspensions and go-cart like steering response that might be in a typical high-performance SUV.

What I do want in my performance SUV is theater, and fun, along with performance I can access safely on the street. That’s easy to do in the SVR; just stab the gas.

Braaap!

Jaguar F-Pace SVR
I loved this big cat.

Specifications

Jaguar F-Pace SVR
2021 Jaguar F-PACE SVR

Vehicle Type: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 5-door SUV.

PRICE

Base: $84,600;
Price as tested: $97,379

POWERTRAIN

5.0-liter Supercharged V-8
550 horsepower @ 6,250 – 6,500, 516 lb-ft @ 3,500 – 5,000.
Eight-speed automatic transmission.

DIMENSIONS

Wheelbase: 113.15 in
Length: 187.48 in
Width: 85.63 in
Height: 65.74 in
Headroom Front/Rear: 37.80 / 37.48 in
Legroom F/R: 40.28 / 37.17 in
Curb Weight (Competition model, manufacturer’s measurement): 4,535 lb

EPA FUEL ECONOMY

Combined/City/Highway: 18/15/22 mpg

All press cars prepped with AMMO NYC products.

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