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Best-seller gets a cabin makeover and now flexes big PHEV muscle, but to what effect?

Our original 2016 road test of the then-new Jaguar F-Pace began by discussing how wary Jaguar was of introducing an SUV. Traditionally known for luxury saloons and sports cars, it feared a backlash from what might seem like a drastic change of character.

Today, that thought seems almost naive, because SUVs have taken off in popularity, making the F-Pace one of the few Jaguars in recent years that could be considered a success story. As the world has lost its appetite for saloons and estates, and made cars like the XE and XF critical successes but commercial slow-burners, the F-Pace has played a key role in keeping Jaguar afloat.

There are many paint colours available through the ‘SVO Premium Palette’. I dearly hope someone will order an F-Pace in Sorrento Yellow. It costs a mere £4590.

Two decades of trying to chase the German premium brands haven’t worked out well for Jaguar, then. But now Jaguar Land Rover CEO Thierry Bolloré is changing tack in a major way: Jaguar will become a pure-electric sub-Bentley luxury brand by 2025. Until then, its existing models need to continue to earn their keep.

All of them have had facelifts with drastic interior revamps and some major powertrain shake-ups. With that previous focus on the German brands came big investment in JLR’s own range of Ingenium diesel engines. With hindsight, that now looks like the wrong direction to have taken, of course, but in recent years the firm has gone full steam ahead in developing plug-in hybrids as well.

To see how successful this effort has been, we’re revisiting its most popular model, the F-Pace, with arguably what is now its most important powertrain: the P400e petrol-electric plug-in hybrid.

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The Jaguar F-Pace line-up at a glance

As well as the plug-in hybrid, there are plenty of petrol and diesel models to choose from. All come with all-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox. With the exception of the SVR and P250, all benefit from 48V mild-hybrid assistance.

There is a plain ‘F-Pace’ trim level available on the D165. Above that, the range starts at S and rises to R-Dynamic S, SE and HSE.