A 14-year-old’s review of the Jaguar F-Pace and F-Type
Being invited to drive an F-type as my first driving experience is definitely something I wasn’t going to pass up.
I have just turned 14 and apart from driving a ride-on lawnmower, I have never been in charge of a vehicle let alone a brand new £40,000 Jaguar F-Pace. To say I was a bit nervous was an understatement.
My instructor was really friendly and my nerves turned to excitement as soon as I settled into the driver’s seat. I was worried my legs wouldn’t reach the pedals as I am only 5 ft 3 in. The seat adjusted easily so I needn’t have worried.
“What happens if I crash?” I asked. This was not a sarcastic question as I was genuinely a bit concerned that I might lose control of this huge 4x4. The instructor reassured me that he had his own brake pedal that he could use in case of emergency. Relieved, I felt my nerves subside as he set up the dash cam and talked through some of the controls.
As I pulled away from a standstill, I felt strangely confident and really very powerful. The F-Pace was very quiet and smooth for such a big vehicle. I’ve never really thought about how a car feels, only ever having been a passenger. I liked the feeling of being cocooned inside the leather upholstery, and the feeling of being in control of where the car was going. “Now slowly ease into the brakes”.
I hadn’t realised how sensitive the brakes would be, and how little pressure I needed to apply. “Ok, let’s try that again, a bit more gently this time…”. From outside we must have looked a bit jolty as I practiced braking more smoothly.
A photographer appeared at the passenger window and asked the instructor to hop out so he could take some pictures. I realise I must have still looked a little nervous as the photographer had to remind me to smile. Photos over, we were off again and this is where things started to get more challenging.
Still at a sensible speed of 10-15mph, the instructor talked me through how to steer correctly with correct hand positioning. At one point I got a bit overwhelmed with all the controls and the fact that we were moving, and nearly forgot not to drive off the road. There were so many things to think about!
Feeling more at home moving forwards, we moved on to parking using the on-screen cameras. Four posts were set out to mimic a garage, which I had to drive into. The cameras were really helpful and considering I have never manoeuvred a car before, I managed to do this without hitting anything. The next challenge was reversing straight back - again, no problems there as the cameras were incredibly reassuring.
“Okay, now let’s do some slalom.” To which I replied “Are you joking?”. But he wasn’t joking at all. Surprisingly, the F-Pace weaved happily in and out of the cones despite me being certain I would hit them. Somehow my hands on the wheel did the right thing and I heard the instructor say “Well done. Now let’s do it backwards!”
My immediate reaction was “oh my gosh, now you’re kidding!”, but actually I should have realised he wasn’t. Using the rear view camera, I managed to reverse through the cones perfectly. Admittedly he had to keep prompting me to turn the wheel quickly back the other way. The sun was still really bright so I needed my sunglasses but I did find it a bit tricky trying to see the screen with them on. That’s not a criticism of the car, just the weather!
I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie so when it came to speeding up, I was quite excited! “How fast can I go?” I grinned. “Probably a maximum of 30mph…” came the answer. As we turned onto a long straight section of road, the instructor said “okay, you can speed up a little now”. Needing no further encouragement, I pressed my foot on the accelerator and quickly found I was doing 30. I was grinning like a maniac as I checked the speedometer. I have to admit, I may have gone just a little over 30, but I won’t admit to it being deliberate.
Before I finished in the F-Pace, I got to try out the auto-parking function which blew me away. I just sat there while the steering wheel moved on its own. My hands were held reluctantly in front of me, I had to resist grabbing the steering wheel.
If that wasn’t enough excitement for one day, I got to drive an F-Type. I had only been driving the F-Pace for an hour and yet I had got quite used to the layout, so it felt odd climbing down into the low seat and I felt relatively cramped in the F-Type compared to the F-Pace.
My new instructor double-checked what I had already covered and we were off again. It didn’t take too long to adjust to the smaller car. It felt lighter and I felt that I had more control in the F-Type. I’m not sure if I went faster in it but it certainly felt like it.
To finish off the day, I got taken for a flat-out spin around the track. I’m pretty sure we were doing over 100mph but I couldn’t see the speedometer from where I was sitting. I was getting hurled around so I was gripping onto the seat for what felt like my life, but I was still smiling and maybe screaming (just a little).
What an amazing day and thank you so much to Jaguar UKPR for the invitation. It was a fantastic experience and I left with a huge smile on my face which lasted long after the boring drive home. I hope I can afford an F-Type when I am old enough. I expect my Dad will beat me to it though. You can find out more here.