Jaguar I-Pace Review
The all-electric Jaguar I-Pace SUV has the performance, space and range to beat Tesla at its own game
Strengths & weaknesses
- Striking design
- Scintillating performance
- More than 200 mile range on one charge
- Ultra-fast chargers not available yet
- No seven-seat option
For now the Jaguar I-Pace is in a class of its own. It doesn’t just set the standard for premium electric cars, it may well be the best car of its size full stop - with one big assumption. That you’re willing to pay the £60,000 to £80,000 price.
It’s a polished package, thanks to a high-tech interior; smooth, sporty performance; and a flowing design that’s unlike anything else on the road: the I-Pace is taller than the average saloon car, but not as high as most rugged sport utility vehicles (SUVs). Its curved roof resembles that of a sporty coupe, but it’s virtually as spacious inside as the diesel-powered F-Pace, as well as the chunky BMW X3, Audi Q5, Mercedes GLC or Lexus NX.
The car’s official range when fully charged, as tested in a laboratory, is 298 miles. This varies depending on where and how fast you drive but our tests suggests that you’ll get at least 200 miles, even during fast motorway driving - which demands a high amount of energy.
It means that the I-Pace doesn’t require a great deal of compromise. As long as you have a garage or driveway where you can install a charging point, can charge the car overnight and it should have enough range to get you through most days.
For the occasional long trip, high-speed 50kW chargers at motorway services will give you 150 miles of power in less than an hour. The I-Pace is also compatible with faster 100kW chargers, expected to arrive in future, which will make this even faster.
Thus the I-Pace avoids the major downsides of other electric cars, which require detailed route planning to co-ordinate rest stops with chargers (which may already be occupied).
Inside the lack of an engine is an advantage: the dashboard is pushed into the area that an engine would normally occupy and he batteries are laid along the bottom of the car, giving it a long, flat floor so passengers can stretch out. The 656-litre boot is around 100 litres lager than much of the competition, but there’s no seven-seat option that is available with the Land rover Discovery Sport or Tesla Model X
The displays look cutting edge, thanks to a double-touchscreen system that incorporates two rotary controls, which appear to float above the glass and are easy to use while keeping your eyes on the road. Audi and Mercedes still have the edge when in comes to high-tech luxury interior design, but Jaguar isn’t far off and the I-Pace is light-years ahead of the petrol- and diesel-powered E-Pace SUV.
As the car starts silently, there’s little clue that the two electric motors can deliver the performance of a sports car. Acceleration is blisteringly quick, taking just 4.8 seconds to go from 0-62mph, which would embarrass a Porsche 718 Boxster. Top speed is limited to 124mph.
Installing the batteries low on the car means that their hefty weight is barely felt in corners where the I-Pace’s switches direction more like the 718 Boxster than an SUV, including the nimble BMW X3, Porsche Macan and Tesla Model X.
That’s partly due to the two motors, which can shift power between the front and back wheels. This four-wheel drive ability also means that the I-Pace is capable of tackling muddy surfaces and craggy inclines.
Whether you buy one or not is likely to come back to price. Even when you take into account the fuel savings and government grant available to new electric car buyers, that still makes the I-Pace around £20,000 more expensive than a conventionally-powered SUV, such as the Mercedes GLC.
But being an early-adopter never came cheap, and it’s the premium that you pay for owning cutting-edge technology. That is, of course, until the i-Pace is joined this autumn by Audi’s eTron electric SUV, followed a few months later by the Mercedes EQC electric SUV.
|Warranty||Vehicle = 3-years / Unlimited miles Battery = 8-years/100,000 miles|
|Boot size||656 litres + 27 litres in front|
Best Jaguar I-Pace for...
Best for Economy – Jaguar I-Pace S
Fuel economy isn't really a consideration with electric cars but this entry-level S model is the cheapest to buy outright. Be warned, the smaller alloy wheels don't do much for the exterior styling.
Best for Families – Jaguar I-Pace SE
This mid-range model features plenty of premium touches, including a leather interior, but keeps the cost to families down slightly.
Best for Performance – Jaguar I-Pace HSE
All models have similar performance figures, but the HSE, the most expensive model in the range is naturally the most generously appointed and comes 20-inch wheels, a premium sound system and a suite of the most advanced driver assistance systems.
2010: Jaguar begins unveiling its future-gazing concept cars, including the stunning hybrid C-X75
2011: Further hints at electrification come in the form of the C-X16 and C-X17 concept cars
2017: The Jaguar I-Pace concept car is unveiled and it goes into production with very few stylistic changes - a rarity in today's world.
Understanding Jaguar I-Pace names
Trim level HSE
There are three standard trim levels on offer - S, SE and HSE - with a limited First Edition model offered to early customers. Each trim level includes more standard and thus commands a higher price.
Electric vehicles don't require a conventional gearbox, so I-Pace is fitted with a single-speed epicyclic transmission, which is the automotive equivalent of a 'twist and go' scooter.
There is no internal combustion engine offered here, just two permanent magnet electric motors and a 90kWh battery pack. More powerful battery packs may be available in the future.
Jaguar I-Pace Engines
Driving an electric car feels slightly alien at first, with no real audible cue that the engine is on and very little in the way of mechanical 'creep' that occurs in most modern automatic cars.
Clamber inside the I-Pace, thumb a big on/off button and watch as the instrument dials and myriad interior screens come to life. Depress a large circular button marked 'D' and the vehicle is ready to go.
A gentle toe of the accelerator gets things moving and the I-Pace races ahead with surprising urgency.
It has been known for some drivers to give an over-enthusiastic prod of the right pedal only to find themselves lurching forwards at an alarming rate due to a lack of mechanical 'creep', which owners of any automatic vehicle will be familiar with.
With initial uncertainty overcome, the I-Pace settles into a role of zippy city nipper, accelerating away from traffic lights and roundabouts with impressive pace.
Like so many other modern vehicles, the I-Pace features a number of driving modes, so users can flick between the most economical, which reduces throttle response to squeeze the most from the battery packs, and a 'dynamic' mode that sharpens throttle response, quickens the steering rack and even pumps a faux acceleration noise into the cabin for a racy experience.
However, the lack of mechanical parts means much of the I-Pace's character is controlled by software, which also means there's an almost unrivalled amount of adjustability offered to the driver.
The amount of regenerative braking force (where the brakes recharged the battery) can be adapted, the faux engine noise can be switched off and even the amount of automatic 'creep' at slow speeds can be adjusted via the systems entertainment system.
But above all else, I-Pace drives fantastically. Offering a quiet and refined ride at higher speeds (thanks in part to clever interior noise cancelling technology), while proving highly entertaining on the twisty routes.
It also features some clever off-road technology, which more importantly sees the car adapt to different road surfaces and weather conditions to offer traction where it is needed most.
Jaguar I-Pace Trims
S, SE, HSE and First Edition
With prices starting at £63,495, the Jaguar I-Pace isn't a cheap car by any stretch of the imagination, but that does mean that even basic models come equipped with an impressive suite of technology.
There's no Tesla-inspired oversized iPad here, as Jaguar believes that drivers still want tactile controls, so all vehicles get two crisp displays and a slick version of the Range Rover Velar's 'floating dials' that take care of heating and cooling.
Jaguar engineers refer to the set-up as 'the flight deck', as it has a futuristic, almost aviation-inspired feeling about it, but it's very simple to use, even if it isn't the most responsive unit on sale.
Most of the functionality is controlled via this Touch Pro Duo system, which comes as standard across the range, but customers can also specify a head-up display should they so wish.
Entry level S models also receive LED headlights, a Park Pack that includes 360-degree parking aid, rear traffic monitor, rear cross traffic monitor and park assist, as well as a Wi-Fi hotspot via the built-in 4G Sim Card - although there will be rental fee for this to discuss with your dealer.
Step up to SE level and the exterior styling is improved with 20-inch, six spoke alloy wheels and premium LED headlights with daytime running lights, while the interior benefits from 10-way electric memory front sport seats, finished in grained leather.
There is also an additional Drive Pack that sees adaptive cruise control with automatic stop & go functionality, high-speed emergency braking and blind spot assist added to the mix.
Unlike Tesla, Jaguar isn't claiming its electric vehicle can operate on auto pilot just yet, but expect that sort of technology to come in time, especially given the fact the I-Pace can receive 'over the air' system updates via its on-board Sim card.
Sitting at the top of the range is HSE, which features a lovely set of five-spoke 20-inch alloy wheels, matrix LED headlights, 18-way heated and cooled Windsor leather electric memory front sport seats with heated rear seats.
These top spec models also receive a Driver Assist Pack, which includes adaptive cruise control with steering assist, high-speed emergency braking, a 360-degree surround camera and blind spot assist.
Finally, early adopters can plump for a First Edition model in the maiden year of sale and these vehicles see a bespoke 'First Edition' gloss charcoal ash veneer added to dash, special treadplates, configurable ambient lighting, a fixed panoramic roof and a cold climate pack that ushers in heated washer jets, a heated windscreen and heated steering wheel.
Expect to part with an eye-watering £81,495 for this version, which is almost enough to bag the most powerful Tesla Model S P100D, with its 100kWh battery pack that's capable of a claimed 393-miles of range on a single charge.
Jaguar I-Pace Reliability and warranty
Jaguar's overall reliability has improved greatly over recent years and a reflection of this is the fact the British marque came 12th in the 2017 Auto Express Driver Power Survey, placing just behind BMW.
A three-year/unlimited mileage warranty is generous on a premium car of this nature but the 8-year/100,000 mile warranty on the battery packs proves that Jaguar is confident in its engineering and choice of technology.
The fact of the matter is, battery technology in electric vehicles has surpassed expectation across the field, with even those early systems found in the Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe still going strong.
As a result, it has seen EVs boast some of the strongest residual values on the used car market, with even high-mileage Tesla Model S commanding at least 50 per cent of its original price tag.
Used Jaguar I-Pace
As the I-Pace is so new, there aren't any on the used market yet.