Porsche Macan interior
The Porsche’s cabin has the greater impression of solidity of the two, its materials feeling smoother, smarter and more pleasant from ankle level right the way up to the windscreen and its fixtures showing greater apparent integrity. But the Macan’s interior is surprisingly plain and functional – and quite typical as such for a Porsche cabin. The Jaguar’s cabin, while it may not feel as well built as the Porsche’s, has the distinguishing sense of richness and luxury that features highly on the shopping list of so many SUV buyers. Another key point of difference.
The F-Pace’s cabin also offers the sense of space that is likely to feature every bit as highly on that list. A broad rear door grants access to a second row of seats in the Jaguar that will comfortably admit and ensconce two large adults – or three smaller ones. The Macan’s rear side doors are considerably smaller, their aperture obliges a more physically trying entry routine and, once inside, taller adults will find the car a little bit tight on knee and shoulder space. You wouldn’t even attempt to sit three across the back of the Macan, and while its boot is more than respectable on size, it’s notably smaller than that of the F-Pace. The bottom line is that the Jaguar is a practical and plush family car for those with grown-up children, while the Macan is really only as spacious as, say, a Nissan Qashqai or BMW X1.
Frankly, given the way it drives and the way it feels on the inside, it’s a surprise to find that the Macan is so little lighter than the F-Pace. The cars feel evenly matched on out-andout pace and flexibility, and despite a 41bhp deficit to the Jaguar on peak power and a bigger one on torque, the Porsche pulls every bit as hard when you accelerate.
Both diesel V6s have that abundance of mid-range thrust that overcomes mass so easily that you feel as if you could shunt rolling stock with these cars. But it’s the Porsche’s Audi-sourced V6 that is the marginally more responsive of the two engines, driving through a dual-clutch automatic gearbox that’s also quicker-shifting than the Jaguar’s ZF eight-speed torque converter auto.
The F-Pace counters with a greater willingness to rev than the Macan, but given that these cars are driven most often on their torque reserves, the advantage is not very telling. Both engines are pillars of strength. Both are perfect for a relatively heavy, pacey sports SUV. But neither is ultimately strong enough to pull the car it powers out of reach of the other.
Which is a regrettable shame – for the Jaguar. Truth be told, the Macan doesn’t need an engine that good. Even comparing an air-sprung Porsche with a Jaguar suspended by steel coils as we were, where you might expect the former to suffer with the sense of disconnection from the road surface that air suspension can confer, the Macan is head and shoulders ahead of the F-Pace as a driver’s car: on grip level, body control, steering feedback, cornering balance and handling response. The Porsche continues to do today, in the presence of the F-Pace, what it did two years ago in the Jaguar’s absence: it shows how agile and engaging a high-sided SUV can be – if that’s all it’s really got to be.Equally crucially and clearly, that isn’t all the F-Pace was ever intended to be.