Inventors have been putting pen to paper since the beginning of time and many of the things we enjoy today have come through generations of refinement. The telephone, the lightbulb, the aeroplane, medical advancements… It all went through some change or the other to where it is today.

The Jaguar F-Pace is also a first for the British manufacturer: a first SUV. It is a step away from what Jag normally offers and is a step into unknown territory. Immediately I hear that age old saying “If it first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” But the irony of it all: Jaguar really has produced a proper first attempt.

Well, hello there

Jaguar delivered the 3.0d AWD S – the top-of-the-range diesel – dressed in a seductive shade of white and big 20-inch wheels. That alone basically guarantees that it’ll always be the bell of the ball. Moreover, the F-Pace has the design traits to not disappear in the crowd. It’s flowing lines, bulging wheel arches and sloping profile makes it a draw card for all to indulge in. Everyone wants to know about the SUV and what it is, while those who are perhaps a bit too reserved to ask will watch from a distance.

The F-Pace is a conversation starter, a magnet for wanted and unwanted attention. It looks the part without diverging alienating onlookers. Jaguar’s first SUV certainly won big in the looks department and was also awarded the 2017 World Car Design of the Year.

That interior, though!

If you’ve stepped inside a Jaguar XE, XF, XJ, or F-Type, the F-Pace’s interior is not any different to that of its road cars’ siblings. In typical Jaguar fashion the ergonomics are devoid of unwanted button and dials and is everything well-placed and within reach. And that, from a user’s perspective, is a plus.

The touchscreen with its big readouts and images is easy to navigate through. At first it’ll take some time to grow accustomed to the menus and their various settings, but once understood it becomes second-nature knowing where to find each setting. But undoubtedly one of the F-Pace’s best aspects is that the roof is aligned with suede. Goodness, the touch and feel… you’d almost swear you’re about to be seduced! It all adds up to create an ambiance of note when prodding along.

However, as well laid-out as this F-Pace is, a few things stood out. For a vehicle costing in access of R1-million, it is without key-less entry, heated front seats, and an electrically operated boot lid. All of this can be had optionally, but this is the top diesel derivative and features like that should come as standard – even if it is to make it just that much more special than what it already is. Still, the F-Pace remains a solid proposition and the interior is about as much testament to that as you’ll get.

700Nm!

This F-Pace is powered by 3.0-litre V6 engine, pushing out a walloping 221kW and colossal 700Nm between 1500 – 1750rpm. To fully comprehend and appreciate the force de cat, the F-Pace is best suited to long distance travel. It is scary how effortlessly this Jag goes about devouring the kilometres, with each passing moment feeling like an effortless leap towards the horizon.

The surge each time the accelerator is depressed is addictive and intoxicating, but the power the driver has to his/her disposal is appreciated on the open road. Heading up the West Coast, the F-Pace trotted up the N7 at a leisurely pace. Overtaking was seamless and scaling Piekenierskloof Pass just outside Citrusdal a laugh. Soon after I turned off the national road and went in search of “hidden” gravel roads that leads to the proverbial Rome. Though riding on 20” wheels, the F-Pace managed to pounce the gravel and soldier on undeterred.

Yes, the firm ride and low profile tyres does require some fine driving over more rugged and pothole-filled sections of the gravel, but more times than not it was a boss that had no problem conquering the gravel.

The one to have?

The F-Pace, since I first laid eyes on it, had me. How Jaguar managed to bring forth an SUV that runs and competes with the best the market has to offer has to be applauded. This is one very good SUV and though it doesn’t really do anything spectacularly to blow your socks off, it is pretty impressive as an all-round package.

Couple it to the sweet 3.0-litre engine and the very capable eight-speed ZF gearbox, this diesel F-Pace could just be the one to have. Sure, there is a 2.0-litre diesel that is more fuel efficient with enough oomph, but it just doesn’t do the big Jag justice like this V6 diesel does. This is the pick of the bunch.

Price: R1 130 146