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Jaguar’s first SUV disappoints in Which? safety test

Watch our Jaguar F-Pace video to find out what happened

The Jaguar F-Pace, Jaguar’s first SUV, has not done well in the Which? hazard avoidance test. The consequences could leave you in an oncoming lane of traffic for longer.

It’s not a situation anyone wants to be in – having to suddenly swerve round an obstacle in your path is a hair-raising experience.

But if it does happen, you’ll want to know that your car won’t spin off the road, and will be able to steer back to its original lane of traffic as quickly as possible.

So, to make sure the cars we recommend have what it takes to keep you safe, every car we have a score for goes through our hazard avoidance test which simulates this exact scenario.

But, as you’ll see from our video footage below, some rival cars are much better at handling the same situation – and the Jaguar F-Pace has given us cause for concern.

If you’re in the market for a 4×4, make sure you head to our roundup of the best small SUVs and crossovers. Want something bigger? See our best large SUVs.

Jaguar F-Pace hazard avoidance test: video

The Which? hazard avoidance test simulates having to swerve round an obstacle at the last moment, and then return to the original lane. Cars enter the course at 56mph.

The test is designed to assess how well a car copes with sudden changes of direction at speed, and how well electronic stability control (ESC) intervenes to keep the car from skidding, oversteering (the car turns more than intended), or understeering (the cars turns less than intended).It also assesses how easy it is for the driver to remain in control.

Have a look at the video below, where we compare the Jaguar F-Pace to a rival car – the Audi Q5:

The F-Pace might be the brand’s first SUV, but Jaguar is part of Jaguar Land Rover and therefore has extensive experience producing 4x4s. However, as you can see in the video, the aggressive stability control locks up the F-Pace’s wheels,causing heavy understeer and preventing the car from returning to its original lane within our course area.

That means if you had swerved into an oncoming lane of traffic, it would take a bit longer to return to your original lane of traffic compared with other cars such as the Audi.

What Jaguar says

Jaguar says the F-Pace is doing what it is designed to do. When we showed our video footage of the test to Jaguar, a spokesperson told us:

‘Jaguar Land Rover has a comprehensive Roll Stability Control [stability intervention] development programme, which applies rigorous tests on every SUV product. All Jaguar Land Rover vehicles are designed for maximum safety.

‘The wheel locking shown in the video of the F-Pace is a deliberately applied intervention to prevent roll instability in a critical situation such as this emergency avoidance manoeuvre. The intervention is to stabilise the vehicle and this will typically last for less than 500 milliseconds, which is industry competitive practice. Attempting the manoeuvre at a slightly reduced speed will result in a lesser intervention.’

How does the Jaguar F-Pace handle at lower speeds?

We did test the same Jaguar F-Pace at lower speeds, and it was a lot more controllable. But it doesn’t change the fact that competing cars handled the same emergency avoidance test at full speed (56mph) better than the F-Pace.

The avoidance test is important, but it’s also not the whole picture. To find out more about the F-Pace, head for our Jaguar F-Pace review.

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