Test Drive Notes Library
- Certainly one of the prettiest cars you’ll ever see on the road. While your Honda CR-V won’t be seen in museums in 100 years (other than the Museum of Practicality), this F-Type car very well may be. Some cars look like they were made from the inside out. Take the Subaru Forester. It looks like Subaru made an immensely practical interior, and then put some metal around it. This car looks like the opposite… like someone made a sculpture and then said, "let’s see if we can make this into a car.”
- Sports car experience. The F-Type is not the more ubiquitous “sporty car.” It’s a sports car. It’s low, it sticks to the road, it darts, it roars. If you want a real sports car experience, you can have it here.
- Four cylinder fun. The F-Type has several engine options; a four, two sixes, and an eight. Not a great poker hand, but a good engine lineup. Our test car had a 2.0 liter, 296 hp turbo-charged four-cylinder, which works great in this car. Sure, you can go all the way up to 550 hp in the V8, and have more power than you know what to do with. Or you can save $40K, and have this lighter 4-cylinder engine that provides plenty of fun. Step on the gas, and a couple of downshift jumps later you’re not thinking you have only four cylinders. We actually found the four-cylinder F-Type more fun to drive than the supercharged, 380 hp V6 convertible version we drove last year. That was almost too much. This isn’t.
- Some luxury. It’s not a bare bones sports car, like a Miata or an FR-S/BRZ. It’s heavier, more solid feeling, and more comfortable. The seats are great. They’re heated, as is the steering wheel and the windshield. It has blind spot monitoring (optional), 12 way power seats, and more. It’s hardly a bare bones sports car.
- Well programmed “sport” mode. In comfort mode, the 8-speed automatic transmission is smooth. Many cars now have something called a “sport mode,” which simply changes the transmission shift points and keeps you in each gear a bit longer. Some cars' sport modes also tighten up the suspension. The downside of lots of sport modes is that they simply make the car more uncomfortable to drive after a very short period of time, so they never get used. The F-Type’s sport mode remaps the transmission, but it seems to be smart about it. It doesn’t penalize you by holding the transmission in first and second gear forever when you’re just trundling along between traffic lights. But it does hold the gears longer when you’re really driving. We found we could leave it and enjoy it in Sport mode more than we could in other cars.
- Unusually good back up camera. Ultra clear, wide view, and even works well at night. It’s like they made the car and then said, “how the hell is anybody going to see anything out of this car?” They went to the engineers and said “Guys, bail us out.” They did.
- Mileage. We got a totally acceptable 23.1mpg in mixed, sporty driving. EPA says 26.
- Cool pop up vents. This Jag is all about beauty. So as not to ruin the curvature of the center console, Jaguar designed the air vents to pop up when in use, and disappear when the engine is off. See the video below.
Test Drive Notes Library
- It’s the high-heeled shoe of cars; you have to suffer a little bit to look this beautiful. And the price is a ride in which you feel and hear the road, plus a degree of impracticality. It’s low to the ground making ingress and egress a challenge for the less flexible. You can’t see anything out the back (thank goodness for blind spot monitoring and the rear view camera). The steering is precise (Buick drivers would say jittery on the highway). It’s strictly a two-seater. Behind the seats there’s just enough room for a little seat recline, and then you run into “car.” The hatchback provides good access, but the rake of the roof line leaves little room for more than a couple of suitcases. You’re not going to take it to the nursery and buy a couple of Rhododendrons. Even though the engine turns at a leisurely 2,000 rpm at 70 mph, it’s not a car that you’d necessarily want to drive across the country. On second thought, if you could take your time, and get off the highways, it could be a lot of fun.
- You have to want attention. Again, it’s the high heeled shoe of cars. If you wear high heels, you want people to notice you. If you drive an F-Type Jaguar, you’re going to attract attention. It’s not a great car for introverts.
- Infotainment system is OK, but not one of the best. It does what it needs to. If you switch your phone between the F-Type’s bluetooth and it’s USB, the system may get confused and give you no audio.
- Low front spoiler. The front spoiler scrapes on anything mildly resembling a bump. That’s going to make you cringe if you've paid $65,000 for this car.
- Surprise rear spoiler. This is not a dislike, but, because of the shape of the car, it requires a spoiler for airflow reasons at higher speeds. They didn’t want to mar the beauty of the car with a full time spoiler, so they built a pop-up spoiler into the trunk lid that deploys at speeds over 60-70 mph. Of course, we didn’t know this. So after picking up the car at the airport, on the drive home, we looked in the rear view mirror and said “Oh $#&*, we left the trunk lid open!” And then, by the time you pull over and stop, it’s closed again.
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