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8f25a454d8f75e379a33a8205ba2d5ce Emerging in 2016, the F-Pace emphatically moved beyond the famously British maker’s walnut and leather heritage that had held it in a design and engineering time warp for so long.

Yes, the F-Type sports car broke a lot of that ice, but this was an SUV. Cool, contemporary, and aimed at young families, rather than ‘men of a certain age.’

As the name implies, the R Sport 25T leans on sporty looks and driver engagement to go along with the five-seater’s day-to-day practicality promise. So, how does this ‘around $80K’ machine, with the growling cat on the grille measure up?

For that many dollars, and In that company, you’d be expecting a handsome standard equipment list, and this F-Pace comes to the party with, perforated leather seats with contrast stitching (Luxtec faux leather on the doors and dashtop), an R-Sport leather-trimmed steering wheel, 10-way electric sports front seats (with driver memory and four-way electric lumbar adjust), plus a 10-inch ‘Touch Pro’ multimedia screen (with voice control).

Then you can add, dual-zone climate control (with adjustable rear vents), satellite navigation, 380W/11-speaker Meridian audio (with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support), keyless entry and start, 19-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, auto headlights, LED DRLs and tail-lights, front and rear fog lights, heated and power folding exterior mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, Illuminated front (metal) treadplates, and ‘Ebony’ suede cloth headlining.

Is there anything interesting about its design? 9/10

Few automotive brands can match Jaguar’s emotional appeal, and few automotive designers seem to understand that as well as Ian Callum. As Jaguar design director for 20 years (1999 to 2019), he was able to capture the essence of the brand and deftly express it in a modern way.

With the F-Type sports car (and the various concept models preceding it) Callum created a design language consisting of tightly wrapped curves, beautifully balanced proportions, and instantly recognisable details.

And that approach transferred seamlessly to the larger F-Pace SUV canvas. The big honeycomb grille, sleek headlights, and gaping side vents create a new-look Jaguar face, while tipping its hat to various classic models.

And I for one, think the current Jaguar tail-light design is genius. Taking the slim form of the early E-Type’s cluster, and morphing its circular reflector into a small curve that cuts into the body below the main stop light is a wonderfully creative blending of old and new.

The interior follows the exterior’s curvy form, with a small hood over the two main (circular analogue) instruments, and a 5.0-inch TFT screen between them. The signature rotary gear selector points to the F-Pace’s relative age, with the more recent compact E-Pace SUV moving to a more conventional shifter.

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How practical is the space inside? 8/10

At just over 4.7m long, a little under 2.1m wide, and close to 1.7m tall, the F-Pace is sizeable without crossing the borderline into huge. But a close to 2.9m wheelbase is ample to accommodate just the two rows of seats.

There’s plenty of headroom in the front, even with our car’s optional sunroof in place, and there’s enough storage to get by, with a good size lidded box between the seats (doubling as an armrest and housing twin USB-A ports, a micro-SIM slot and 12V outlet), two big cupholders in the centre console, small cubbies neatly scalloped into either side of the console (perfect for a phone and/or keys), an overhead sunglasses holder, and a modest glove box (with pen holder!). Door bins are small, but offer capacity for standard drink bottles.

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What are the key stats for the engine and transmission? 8/10

The F-Pace R Sport 25T is powered by a 2.0-litre, turbo-petrol version of Jaguar Land Rover’s modular ‘Ingenium’ engine, based on multiples of the same 500cc cylinder design.

This ‘AJ200’ unit features an aluminium block and head with cast iron cylinder liners, direct injection, electro hydraulically-controlled variable intake and exhaust valve lift, and a single, twin-scroll turbo. It produces 184kW at 5500rpm, and 365Nm from 1300-4500rpm.