25.9.2019Jaguar I-Pace SE P400e review
The Jaguar I-Pace manages to sit in its own niche in the electric vehicle market. With a range that approaches 300 miles and a price that undercuts its premium SUV rivals, the stats look good. Factor in good looks and a fine driving experience and the Jaguar I-Pace ticks a lot of boxes.
Review by Chris Lilly
Fitted with two electric motors, producing a combined 400 hp, the Jaguar I-Pace doesn't lack for performance. Combine all-wheel drive with the instant pick-up of electric motors and a 0-62 mph time of 4.5 seconds is perfectly achievable. The Jaguar won't shove you back into its seat like performance Tesla models, but it's not far off, and the pace will be plenty for most. The accessibility of the performance makes the I-Pace one of the quickest cars to drive across country in real-world conditions that I've encountered, as it's such an easy car to drive - slowly, moderately, or quickly. There's certainly a sense of fun that some EVs are missing, and the I-Pace is not just a convenient car, but a desirable one.
Jaguar's engineers have done great things with the I-Pace, continuing fine traditions from the company to handle both dynamically and comfortably. The car corners pretty flat and with plenty of grip, and the steering is precise. There's a poise and agility to the I-Pace's handling, thanks mainly to a fine suspension set-up and a low centre of gravity. This latter point is primarily because the battery is in the floor of the car, but also because Jaguar's electric SUV is barely an SUV. I parked it next to taller family hatchbacks during my time with it, and although it has all the styling cues and SUV stance, it's actually quite squat. This is all to the good for those looking at the car's handling, as the Jaguar is nimble around a car park or urban streets and fun on twisty country roads. It's also as refined as you would expect a premium model to be on the motorway. In short, it's a proper Jag to drive.
I really like the I-Pace's design, with subtle surfacing details but enough to catch the eye on further inspection. Features like the air channel from the grille through to the bonnet aren't there for style either, but work hard to smooth out the aerodynamics and improve efficiency. The clean sheet of paper design makes the most of improved packaging opportunities from EVs as well, as the I-Pace remarkably practical. The rear boot space is very good for the Jaguar's footprint, and there's good space in the rear for passengers. A front boot allows the cables to be stored conveniently, or it could hold a few shopping bags for example. Rear leg space isn't as much as that found in rival premium SUVs, and neither is the boot, but this is simply because those models are physically larger. The I-Pace packs in more space to a compact footprint than you would expect.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
Jaguar Land Rover's latest cabin design principles are found in the I-Pace, with a large, widescreen infotainment system across the centre console, and a second, smaller one beneath. This second screen controls functions such as the air conditioning, which feature a couple of rather lovely dials that change different settings depending on whether you pull out or push them in. Customisation is a key feature too, with both the driver's digital instruments able to be moved around, and the home screen for the infotainment system. Controls are clear and relatively fast to respond, with only the Audi e-tron's interior better to look at and use. The Jaguar's cabin is still a lovely place in which to sit, with comfortable but supportive seats, and a top quality interior. Materials feel good and controls sturdy, matching or bettering many rivals.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
According to the official figures, the I-Pace will cover up to 292 miles on a charge. It's a very good distance, particularly considering the price compared to rivals from Audi and Mercedes, which have shorter ranges. In real-world driving, I found that 255 miles was a more realistic mark, calculating distance covered against charge used. That was over a mixture of driving routes and driving styles, with little effort to drive economically. A lighter right foot, or greater use in town, and the I-Pace will easily get closer to its official figure, with more than 280 miles possible for drivers. A greater focus on performance saw my range drop to about 235 miles on a charge, so it's a flexible powertrain.
The I-Pace features many systems found on EVs, with brake energy recuperation a core element. There are two levels - High and Low - which allow for almost one-pedal driving on the former and greater coasting with the latter. One small gripe is that there's no quick way to switch if you've got the navigation on for example, even though you can set the home screen to have the regen button on it. It will still take a couple of button prods to change strength, where a manual button or short cut would improve flexibility. Other systems include connected and in-car charging timing and pre-conditioning. There's a drive mode selector which include Eco, Normal, and Dynamic, plus a Low Power mode for when you're really desperate for charge. Charging the I-Pace's 90 kWh battery uses the CCS inlet on the front flank, which can accept up to 100 kW DC or 7 kW AC.
The Jaguar I-Pace P400e SE tested features the Touch Pro Duo infotainment system with navigation, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Bluetooth, and DAB radio. Also fitted were a Meridian audio system, WiFi hot-spot, heated steering wheel and front seats, synthetic leather upholstery, rear camera with parking pack, keyless entry and start, cruise control, automatic wipers and lights, and climate control. Added to the test model were 20-inch alloys replacing the standard 18-inch wheels, 360-degree surround camera, head-up display, panoramic sunroof, air suspension, and Meridian surround sound system.
There are very few 'master-of-all-trades' models available to buy, but the Jaguar I-Pace is one of them. It's one of the best cars on the road, and uses its electric powertrain as a strength rather than a weakness. Performance, price, practicality; the I-Pace ticks all the boxes.
Model tested: Jaguar I-Pace SE P400e
Engine / CO2: Twin electric motors / 0 g/km
Trim grades: S, SE, HSE
On-road price: £66,495
Warranty: Three years / unlimited mileage
In the showroom: Now
Review rating: 5.0 Stars