Jaguar F-PACE, Maserati Grecale, Porsche Macan: Right-Sized Sport
Luxury compact SUVs have only become a thing in the last decade or so. Perhaps due to increased urbanisation, larger SUVs may be seen to be unwieldy about town, yet people still want the same level of luxury. That’s where these compact SUVs step in. A further sub-category is those who want them sporty - and in this feature we’ve brought together some of the options in the market for consideration.
You could say that this sparked the idea for this feature: a new entrant to the sport-oriented luxury SUV segment, the Maserati Grecale GT. It brings to the table Italian craftsmanship (just smell and feel the leather inside!), a soulful exhaust note (as you would expect) and a coveted badge that you might not expect at this price point.
Of course, there’s no escaping the fact that the stalwart in the ring is the Porsche Macan, arguably the car that defines the segment. It looks more like a Porsche 911 than its bigger Cayenne brother, while it drives far sharper, too. In fact, it’s something of a benchmark in its class for handling and driving pleasure. But it is also ageing - it was launched in 2014 and has already gone through two product updates. Whether it keeps its crown is something we would be keen to find out.
Lastly, we brought from Great Britain the Jaguar F-PACE - arguably the one here that straddles between the other two in terms of luxury and performance. It is the car that considers not just the driver but also its other passengers as keenly. Is it the dark horse here?
For a fair comparison, we have brought together comparable specifications of each car: the base GT model of the Grecale going for $279,800 without COE; the basic Macan 2.0 PDK at $268,788 without COE and the F-PACE R-Dynamic S at $218,888 without COE.
They all come with 2.0-litre four pot engines, with the Jaguar having 247 hp, the Macan in the middle with 265 hp and the Grecale GT topping out with 300 hp.
Despite its age, the Macan most definitely doesn’t feel old at all behind the wheel. On the contrary, it offers an alacrity from its steering and sophistication from its damping that still impresses. Its interior is an ideal mix of old (lots of buttons - great!) and new (wireless CarPlay/Android Auto, for example), and has great materials too. In terms of technical capability, there’s very little to fault the Macan here, save for its 2-litre turbo engine which could do with more verve. Where the Macan also feels a little short of is its interior space, which is a trade-off for its compactness. Noteworthy though that all new Macans now come equipped with the Sport Design Package, which comprises of black sport tailpipes, 21" 911 Turbo Design rims, a unique filler cap and LED door projectors with the Porsche logo.
The Grecale GT embodies what an Italian car is all about - the sensory experience. The Grecale GT offers an emotional treat for its driver in terms of aural, visual and touch. Despite having a 2-litre 4 cylinder turbo engine, the Grecale GT roars and upshifts produces pops and farts just like a mini-V8. The standard Sonus Faber sound system also provides a different symphony treat for passengers. Its looks are also distinctly Maserati and the trident logo provides a certain level of snob appeal. Build quality of the Grecale GT is excellent both inside and out, with leather cladded surfaces throughout and even a stitched dashboard.
You can tell that the Jaguar F-PACE has comfort as one of its top priorities the moment you sink yourself into either its front or rear seats. Furthermore, the British have managed to achieve a great balance between luxury and sport in its drive. Its damping is just so, and its 2.0-litre turbocharged Ingenium engine manages to churn out 247 bhp of power and 660 Nm of torque, all whilst maintaining composure no matter how rough the road turns. On the inside, imagine it as a 21st Century version of Blenheim Palace – it has a regal, yet clean and crisp feel to it. Its 11.4 Inch Pivi Pro infotainment system front and centre and 2 simple yet effective rotary buttons for its air conditioning control unit, the Jaguar makes you feel at home.
Photos by New Gen Marketing
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