This is how the Rockies were meant to be traversed: at the helm of a 380-horsepower bruiser, scaling a boulder-strewn trail high above sea level, with the majestic Aspen Valley stretching out before you.
But this is no sexy sports car or sinewy roadster you’re piloting. It’s the Jaguar F-Pace, the first SUV ever birthed in Coventry, England, and the snarling face of the brand’s new era—an era that began back in 2008, when Indian conglomerate Tata bought the faltering automaker and poured about $10 billion into its reinvention.
The F-Pace is its inaugural offering— and it’s a stunner. One of the most seductive cars in a typically dull category, it harbors beneath its skin the same aluminum-intensive chassis found in Jag’s all-new XE—meaning it digs into dirt and asphalt and cuts into corners with all the muscle you’ve come to expect from a high-performance Jaguar. And with its beefed-up chassis, ascent and descent control, and all-wheel drive, the F-Pace is one Superlative Utility Vehicle.
If this revved-up V6’s 0–60 in five seconds and terrain-toppling 332 lb-ft of torque (both thanks to a partnership with Land Rover) aren’t enough speed and power for you, then we don’t know what you’re up to during your driving hours, but “borderline legal” comes to mind.
However, no matter where you’re headed—a mountainside begging to be climbed, a kayak race in Class 5 rapids, a country with no extradition treaty— there’s one thing you won’t have to worry about: losing your keys. With the F-Pace’s first-of-its-kind Activity Key, the chip in the waterproof wristband you wear locks and unlocks your ride.
The unlocking is a helluva lot more fun.