Can Jaguar really take on the mighty Tesla or the Audi e-tron? Jaguar had first mover advantage when it launched its much awarded first fully electric car, the I-Pace, in 2018.
It has definitely succeeded in injecting some extra coolness into EV motoring and is one of the best electric cars going.
The I-Pace is without doubt one of the most enjoyable cars of its type to drive. It handles sharply, steers sweetly, and although it never quite shakes off its considerable weight, it’s still great fun to thread around your favourite country road. It’s also blisteringly quick. The twin electric motors combine to punt out a sports-car-worrying 400PS, and the muscle is never further than a quick flex of your right ankle away.
A pretty comfortable ride also makes the I-Pace family-friendly, as does the roomy cabin and big boot. The build quality can’t match the best-in-class, perhaps, with one or two trim pieces that don’t quite match up to the standards of the rest, but it’s still a very pleasant environment in which to spend time. Lots of luxury kit comes as standard, meanwhile, and it’s well stocked on the safety front, too.
And importantly for lots of electric car buyers, it has an impressively long driving range, longer than most EVs and longer than the direct rivals from Audi and Tesla with which it competes. This will make it a realistic proposition for more would-be EV drivers.
Styling & Driving position
So the I-Pace manages to take the style and practicality of an SUV, and the feel-good-factor and low running costs of an EV, and wrap it all up in one package that’s fun to drive and a pleasure to live with. If you’re after a family EV, and you’ve got a few quid to spend on it, the I-Pace is definitely worthy of your consideration.
“It’s a well-known fact that SUV buyers love a lofty driving position, so it’s perhaps a little surprising that the I-Pace’s isn’t loftier; it feels like you’re sitting considerably closer to the ground than in other SUVs. That said, the seats are very supportive and all come with some form of electric adjustment to help folk of all shapes and sizes find a comfy driving position.”
You get a pretty clear view out at the front of the car, but your rear view is hampered by a small, shallow rear window with very bulky pillars either side. Just as well, then, that you get a 360-degree parking aid as standard to help you with manoeuvres, and rear-cross-traffic alert to stop you reversing out into the path of oncoming traffic.
Because of all the touchscreens on show there are very few physical buttons on the dashboard; just a few remain to allow you to select drive modes and vehicle settings.
Boot space and storage
Electric cars have many benefits, and one of them is that you don’t have to design them around an engine and gearbox. This means designers have much more freedom about how they use the space available, and with the I-Pace, they’ve done a really cracking job.
For starters, the wheelbase is enormous in relation to the length of the car, thanks to wheels that have been pushed as far as possible to the corners of the car. This gives you really impressive legroom in any of the five seats, and headroom is also very generous. There’s even enough shoulder space for three adults to sit across the rear bench in reasonable comfort, and two bulky child seats will fit easily. Yes, rivals like the Audi e-Tron give you a wee bit more interior space to play with, but don’t forget that the Audi is a considerably bigger car.
The Jaguar I-Pace boot is also bigger than you might think, matching the e-Tron’s and beating the Mercedes EQC’s. What’s more, there’s no load lip to negotiate when you’re hauling in heavy items, and you can fold down the rear seats for even more space. However, the backrests don’t lie completely flat, meaning you’ll need to push your items up a shallow incline. The boot also conceals a pot of tyre sealant, rather than a spare wheel.
Watch as EV Powered’s Richard Alvin tells you everything you need to know about the £65k, 394bhp, all-electric Jaguar I-Pace.