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Jag’s up to Pace with new SUV 

IT was new territory for Jaguar but the company’s first venture into the SUV market has been a resounding success.

And once you’ve driven the all-new F-Pace you will understand why it’s been receiving numerous global awards.

This performance SUV went on sale in April last year and has already become the fastest-selling Jaguar ever, already attracting more than 46,000 buyers.

The newcomer hasn’t gone unnoticed in Scotland where it was voted top SUV and was just edged out for the Scottish Car of the Year award back in November.

The F-Pace has collected more than 25 global awards and has just been named Best Large Crossover in the UK Car of the Year Awards – putting it in the mix for the UK Car of theYear to be announced later this month.

It comes with a choice of six power trains – from a four-cylinder 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel to a 3.0-litre 380PS supercharged petrol V6 engine taken from the F-Type.

My latest drive was in an R-Sport model AWD with the 180PS diesel engine under the bonnet.

It might be the least powerful engine featured in the F-Pace but it offered plenty of punch when required, as well as achieving 129g/km efficiency.

This is a big car but it powers to 60mph in just 8.2 seconds and has a top speed of 129mph.

And it is great to drive, being surprisingly agile on some twisting roads.

You can go into bends at speed and there’s super grip with this all-wheel drive model.

With its quick and accurate steering it really is hard to believe you’re sitting behind the wheel of a large SUV when you’re thrashing along country roads.

The F-Pace would also be ideal for long journeys as it cruises along ever so smoothly and quietly sitting at motorway speeds.

The eight-speed automatic gearbox was also quick to respond when need although you have the choice of making manual changes with the steering wheel paddles.

Fuel economy figures are impressive at 45.6mpg urban, 60.1mpg extra urban and 53.3mpg combined.

The R-Sport test model looked sporty with an aggressive touch, especially front on with its bold grille and muscular bonnet.

You get typical Jaguar quality and luxury finish in the F-Pace’s spacious interior.

Even back passengers in this five-seater enjoy luxuries such as heated, electrically-reclining seats.

There’s lots of head, elbow and knee room and also a huge boot at 650 litres, expanding to 1,740 litres if you drop the 40.20.40 split rear seats.

Standard features on all specs are far too extensive to list here but cutting-edge technologies include InCon-tol Touch Pro infotainment system and 12.3-inch HD virtual instrument cluster.

It has all the latest safety features and every day driving aids that include cruise control with auto speed limiter, lane departure war-ning, traffic sign recognition, front and rear parking sensors and powered tailgate.

The F-Pace is available in four trims – Prestige, R-Sport, Portfolio and S – with prices starting at £34,170.

Priced at £40,360, I reckon my test model is a super buy for luxury SUV drivers – delivering luxury and dy-namic driving enjoyment big time.