Is the new plug-in hybrid Jaguar F-Pace 400e the pick of the range? We find out…
New Jaguar boss Theirry Bollore’s battle cry to transform the brand into Britain’s answer to Tesla has seen the company plot out a startling path forward from 2025 onwards. The whole Jaguar line-up will have to change and in a relatively short space of time. But until then, electrified cars from the old regime will need to keep buyers interested.
Perhaps, then, this new plug-in hybrid variant of the F-Pace – the car that saw Jaguar cash in on the SUV craze – could in turn become the most important version of Jaguar’s most important car. Badged P400e, its introduction coincides with a significant mid-life update for the brand’s biggest SUV.
Though this is an all-new version of the F-Pace, the source of power is very familiar. The P400e plug-in hybrid powertrain makes use of a 221kW version of JLR’s 2.0-litre four-cylinder Ingenium petrol engine, which is used in all P400 badged Jaguar Land Rover models, alongside electric assistance.
The 17.1kWh battery pack is positioned under the boot floor and sends power to a 105kW electric motor driving the front axle. The F-Pace P400e can be driven on electric power alone at up to 140km/h – or, more importantly, for up to 50km – by putting the car into EV mode.
The battery takes one hour 40 minutes for a 0-80 per cent charge using a 7kW wallbox. 32kW DC charging is standard too, so using a rapid charger a top-up to 80 per cent will take 30 minutes.
With the exception of DC charging, which is often not fitted on plug-in hybrid vehicles, those are pretty much benchmark specifications for a plug-in hybrid SUV of this size and price. You’ll have to step up beyond the F-Pace P400e’s size get into something with a larger battery, such as the six-cylinder BMW X5 xDrive45e, with its promises of 80km on electric power.
With peak outputs standing at 297kW and 640Nm of torque, buyers unconvinced of four-cylinder power in a large SUV needn’t worry as there’s plenty of punch here. But before you begin to explore the combination of petrol and electric power, EV mode is where you’ll likely start.
Activated by pressing a new button on the F-Pace’s revised centre console, it moves off silently and without much struggle up to speed around town and on slower A-roads. But, if you want to cruise on the motorway while not producing any CO2 emissions, you’ll have to be patient.
The F-Type P400e tips the scales at just over two tonnes, and you’ll almost certainly have to push through the kickdown on the throttle and engage hybrid mode to get up to speed, before flicking it back to battery power.
Leave it in the default Hybrid mode and there’s a good mix of power and refinement. The headline act is the 640Nm of torque, which comes with minimal fuss. Reaching high into the rev band isn’t necessary, nor is turning to the Dynamic drive mode, which brings out some strange, V8-aping sound actuation from the speakers.
Instead, settling into a cruise turns out to be the best option in the F-Pace P400e. Thanks to its great steering and a ride that isn’t compromised too harshly by the extra weight, it’s a very relaxing large SUV to drive, only losing refinement when the battery is drained and the engine is called upon to provide all the power. However, it can be recharged on the move if you put the F-Pace into the Save drive mode (which will be renamed Attain in the near future).
Elsewhere, the wide-ranging interior update introduced as part of the facelift continues to impress, with the smart new 11.4-inch Pivi Pro touchscreen infotainment screen a huge improvement on the old set-up. The spacious cabin oozes quality, and the new design improved in all the right places.
With the P400e powertrain proving its worth elsewhere in the JLR line-up, it’s an unsurprising but welcome addition to the F-Pace. Power, pace and refinement are on hand with both battery and engine working together, but when the battery runs flat, those claims of 7L/100km will fall flat quickly too. The rest of the package feels like a strong update though, with well thought-out improvements over the pre-facelift car.