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Can the 2017 Jaguar F-Pace Be Practical?

2017 Jaguar F-Pace

CARS.COM — The all-new 2017 Jaguar F-Pace brings together "sporty handling and dramatic beauty with everyday practicality and efficiency," according to the automaker. I've always appreciated the beauty of Jaguars, but haven't thought of them as particularly practical.

Related: Our View: 2017 Jaguar F-Pace Review

Practical for me, a suburban mother of three plus a dog and a husband, is a bit more involved: It's cargo space, fuel economy, spaciousness, safety and helpful features. To my eye, the F-Pace brings together sporty handling and beauty, though "dramatic" may be a stretch, and it's more fun to drive than most compact SUVs. The F-Pace serves up some solid pragmatism along with its sporty handling.

One of my favorite things about the F-Pace is the reversible floor in the cargo area. By simply lifting a handle and turning over the floor, you go from durable carpet to an easy-to-clean rubber surface. Whether it's a dirty dog or muddy boots, this rubber floor is practical and wipe down is easy once the SUV is unloaded. It's infinitely easier than trying to scrub mud out of carpet. This feature should be mandatory in every SUV.

The cargo space seemed cavernous at 33.5 cubic feet. There is ample room for backpacks, groceries and anything else you haul around on a daily basis. The F-Pace 35t Prestige I tested featured the Comfort & Convenience Package ($1,800), which includes a hands-free power liftgate. This is a great feature when it works, but sometimes I felt like I had to employ a full dance routine before my gesturing would open the liftgate. I would hope that over time, one would find the sensor's sweet spot and be able to make it work without too much fanfare.

A few other practical standouts include the easy-to-access Latch anchors, the 40/20/40-split backseat for those times that you need to manipulate the seating and storage situation based on passengers and cargo; handy cubbies beneath the center control stack for cellphones or keys; and an easy-to-use infotainment system, which employs a rocking Meridian sound system that's part of a $3,200 Technology Package.

There are, however, some shortcomings when it comes to practicality that I hope Jaguar tweaks in the near future. We (read: busy people of the world) need better fuel economy. Yes, I understand that there is only so much Jaguar can do to preserve the vigor of a 340-horsepower, supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine, but I've no doubt the automaker can improve upon the F-Pace's 18/23/20 mpg city/highway/combined. We don't have time to stop at the gas station two or three times a week.

Jaguar says the F-Pace fits three adults comfortably in the rear seat, but that's not the case. Three children, elementary aged like mine, fit decently in the backseat, but they aren't swimming in extra space. Jaguar should either alter its claim of backseat roominess or create more space. While Jaguar is at it, could it please create more space in the center console? Not even my small purse could fit in it, which is a pity since most of us usually carry giant handbags.

The F-Pace is a luxury vehicle, and with that should come more standard safety features. The intelligent high-beam headlights work well, as do the blind spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert systems, but they cost an additional $2,100.

Jaguar doesn't even include a standard backup camera on the F-Pace's base trim. The Honda Fit at a starting price of $16,825 and the Chevrolet Spark at $13,875 both have standard backup cameras. And that's a practically perfect place to end this.

2017 Jaguar F-Pace; Cars.com photos by Courtney Messenbaugh

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