Each decade seems to have its own family-car-of-the-moment. For the 2010s, it’s undoubtedly the mid-size crossover. And in 2018, these mid-size crossovers are very often powered by 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engines. That makes this 2018 Jaguar F-Pace 30t a very normal car.
Which is a strange thing for a Jaguar—this is a brand whose reputation was built on cars that were never quite mainstream. But for an automaker to survive today, it has to build a car like this, especially if it wants to compete with other luxury brands. A four-cylinder SUV might be an odd thing in the brand’s canon, but it’s a car Jaguar has to make.
And perhaps Jaguar has something to offer in this often-boring segment. Can a four-cylinder crossover live up to Jaguar name?
The 30t badge on the hatch means this F-Pace is equipped with a 296-hp version of Jaguar’s new Ingenium inline-four. It’s one of the most powerful four-cylinders on the market today, and it’s torquey too, with 295 lb-ft of torque. Those figures aren’t far behind Jaguar’s 3.0-liter V6 either, which offers 380 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque, but these two engines are world’s different from one another.
The inline-four does offer much better fuel economy than the V6, though. The EPA highway estimate is 27 mpg to the V6’s 23, and I saw 27 mpg on a 150-plus-mile trip that included city and highway driving. Genuinely impressive for such a big, tall car.
The other big benefit of four-cylinder power for the F-Pace is significant weight savings. Jaguar’s V6 is quite heavy, as it’s actually a V8 block with V6 cylinder heads. The F-Pace 30t is 198 pounds lighter than the V6 car, and presumably, much of that weight is off the front axle. This should prove to be a boon to handling, as is the case with the four-cylinder F-Type.
It’s not as exciting as I hope a Jag would be, but perhaps that’s necessary. Mid-size crossovers with turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinders are boring by their very nature, and it’d be unreasonable to expect Jaguar to transcend the genre in a profound way.