If cynics are to be believed, then modern cars are indeed becoming so homogenous that without their badges, we wouldn’t be able to tell them apart.
Well, that’s one way of looking at things. I, however, prefer a different angle. Cars have grown similar because of keen competition. Every brand has to offer similar (or more) features, or be seen as old.
We as drivers and consumers benefit from this.
That said, having two choices that are very similar makes things difficult. Case in point: If you’re in the market for a mid-size luxury SUV and have narrowed your options to the Jaguar F-Pace and Audi Q5, you’ll probably be in a quandary.
On paper, both models’ performance figures are very close and they are also almost level on price. Ahh, but this is where their similarities end.
Design-wise, these two SUVs are as different as night and day. With its slimmer headlights and tail-lamps, and more sloping roofline, the Jaguar F-Pace looks sleeker and more attractive to me.
The F-Pace’s larger 22-inch wheels are also just the right size. Meanwhile, the Q5’s 21-inch rims seem like they’ve been dwarfed by the cavernous wheel wells.
Now, while the Q5 has sharp lines and chiselled body panels, it does not have the same panache as the Jag. The understated styling is part of its DNA, though, and has its fans.
Both the Q5 and F-Pace have the same approach when it comes to their respective interiors, with each brand offering digital cockpits with neat control layouts.
I find the Audi’s cockpit to be more intuitive, with items such as the air-con controls being easier to figure out even if it’s your first time in here.
More importantly, it is Audi that can conduct a masterclass in build quality. Everything in the Q5 feels solidly put together, with button clicks even sounding classier.
The F-Pace has not been left behind, though. Following an extensive update, its instrument panel actually has snazzier graphics, while its Pivi Pro infotainment system looks even better and loads even quicker, too.
So, while the Q5 driver has to wait a few moments for MMI to load, the Pivi Pro system is good to go the moment the car is started.
AT THE REAR
The F-Pace comes with a panoramic sunroof that gives the space here an airier feel. The Q5 doesn’t have this, but it does have an additional climate zone, which is more useful in our weather.
Between the two, I find the Q5’s backseat a tad more comfortable than the F-Pace’s. Besides, without a sunroof taking up headroom, taller occupants will be happier here as well.
The Q5 provides between 550 litres and 610 litres of boot capacity (rear seatbacks up), which is relatively generous. But if load-hauling duties are part of your lifestyle, you’re better off in the F-Pace, which offers a an even more commodious 793 litres.
The Q5’s boot is more flexible, though, thanks to an extra netted portion and an elastic strap, which are handy for securing items such as cleaning cloths and other detailing accoutrements.
SPORT VS COMFORT
Both the F-Pace and Q5 are evenly matched in the performance department. Each is powered by a turbocharged 2-litre engine, with the Jag’s pumping out 247hp and 365Nm, while the Audi’s produces 245hp and 370Nm.
The Q5 is marginally quicker, finishing the century sprint in 6.3 seconds while the F-Pace takes 6.6 seconds.
But the key thing here is how both SUVs go about their business.
The Q5’s manners are smoother and more linear, which most drivers will appreciate. The F-Pace, on the other hand, exhibits more inertia and turbo lag, and needs a firmer prod to get going.
But once the momentum is there, the F-Pace comes alive. It’s more rewarding to drive spiritedly and feels nimbler than the Q5. Its steering is nicer, too.
The Q5 is better-suited to those seeking a more comfortable drive. It has a quieter cabin and a more pliant ride, which many drivers – and their families – will appreciate.
WHICH WAY TO GO?
In many ways, the Audi Q5 is the more complete car. It has the edge in build quality, a more comfortable backseat, and a more versatile boot. One cannot ignore that it’s also the ideal choice for someone who wants something easy and cushy to drive.
That makes the Q5 the obvious and possibly more sensible choice here.
Although my mind says the Audi is the way to go, my heart feels otherwise. The F-Pace has panache, and that ultimately makes it harder to resist.
Jaguar’s F-Pace looks sportier, has a snazzier cockpit and offers better handling, too. If you like driving (like I do), this is the SUV that will appeal to you.
Jaguar F-Pace P250 R-Dynamic S 2.0 (A)
ENGINE 1997cc, 16-valves, inline-4, turbocharged
MAX POWER 247hp (250PS, 184kW) at 5500rpm
MAX TORQUE 365Nm at 1500-4000rpm
GEARBOX 8-speed automatic with manual select
POWER TO WEIGHT 134.8hp per tonne
0-100KM/H 6.6 seconds
TOP SPEED 217km/h
CONSUMPTION 12.8km/L (combined)
PRICE INCL. COE From $276,999 (after $15k VES surcharge)
AGENT Wearnes Automotive
Audi Q5 S tronic S line 2.0 (A)
ENGINE 1984cc, 16-valves, inline-4, turbocharged
MAX POWER 245hp (245PS, 183kW) at 5000-6000rpm
MAX TORQUE 370Nm at 1600-4500rpm
GEARBOX 7-speed dual-clutch with manual select
POWER TO WEIGHT 139.2hp per tonne
0-100KM/H 6.3 seconds
TOP SPEED 240km/h
CONSUMPTION 12.5km/L (combined)
PRICE INCL. COE From $269,127 (after $15k VES surcharge)
AGENT Premium Automobiles
Click here to read our Jaguar F-Pace review