Jaguar I-Pace review
|Car type||Official range||Wallbox charge time||Fast charge time|
|Electric||292 miles||13hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)||45mins (10-80%, 100kW)|
The Jaguar I-Pace is the company’s first electric car, and it can count the Tesla Model X, Audi e-tron and Mercedes EQC among its rivals with yet more competition from BMW and Volkswagen set to arrive in the very near future.
The I-Pace uses a 90kWh battery to power an electric motor on each axle, which gives it active four-wheel drive, a stonking 396bhp and an official range of 292 miles – usefully better than the Audi and Mercedes. However, our experience of it in varied real-world use suggests you'll get more like 220 miles, even in warmer conditions, which is disappointing given the claimed range.
In December 2019, Jaguar announced that lessons learned from its eTrophy racing series had allowed it to unlock a further 12.4 miles of real-world range from the electric SUV. While the official WLTP-verified range figure itself doesn't change, improvements to the car's thermal management system, regenerative brakes and torque delivery should help owners eke out a little more driving distance from a fully charged battery.
Be aware that you can’t use Tesla's Superchargers to top up a Jaguar I-Pace, but a network of public supercharging points of 100-150kW is being installed across the country currently. They're already becoming a fairly common site around main artery routes, and plug into one of these and you'll see a 20-80% top-up in around 45 minutes. However, an Audi e-tron charges even more quickly, so it does feel as if Jaguar could do better on this front.
A 50kW rapid charger of the kind you more commonly find at motorway services will charge the I-Pace to 80% in 90 minutes. A 7kW charger installed at home (which’ll cost around £300 after a government grant) can charge the I-Pace in around 13 hours – acceptable if you’re charging overnight for use the next day – and will cost around £12 depending on your home electricity tariff.
What is more disappointing is that the Jaguar struggles to get near its claimed official range of 292 miles. We've done a lot of miles in various I-Pace models and rarely see more than 230 miles on an easy run in warm weather, while cold weather or a lot of motorway miles could well see it drop to 180 miles. That's on a par with rivals like the e-tron and the Mercedes EQC, but it's more disappointing in the Jag given its promising claimed figure.
Even the cheapest Jaguar I-Pace is well equipped, but most buyers shopping in the £60,000 and up bracket will go for the plusher SE or HSE trims.
While the I-Pace is officially and undeniably an SUV, its low roofline, squat nose and tapering windowline give it the appearance more of sports hatchback or even a coupe; it’s taken the idea of a sports SUV further than most in the looks department, for sure.
It has the performance and handling to match the looks, with a 0-62mph time of 4.8 seconds. But it’s the fact that the car delivers quite playful, involving cornering that really sets a new benchmark for four-door executive electric cars. Only the Porsche Taycan handles better, as it should given its price and evident sportscar aspirations, but the Jaguar certainly outclasses even the Tesla Model 3 and Model S for handling panache. It really is very special to drive.
Ride quality suffers a little in the name of impressive handling, but while the Jaguar I-Pace feels wooden over sharp-edged potholes, it’s still well controlled and comfortable over most roads.
The I-Pace is roomy enough inside for four adults to be comfortable – it’s roughly on par with an Audi Q5 for space and practicality – and there’s a big boot complete with an underfloor cable-storage area that means you won’t have cable bags taking up the space.
The dashboard is a big step forward for Jaguar, with a clean, modern look surrounding the standard 10-inch touchscreen, complete with dense-feeling, classy materials and a perceived solidity that surpasses any recent model from the brand.
Insurance could be one of the higher costs involved with running an I-Pace, but most sporty SUVs with this sort of brutal performance are similarly expensive to cover. Otherwise, the Jaguar I-Pace will of course be cheaper to run than an equivalent petrol or diesel car, since it costs so much less to plug in than to fill up.
The I-Pace also benefits from zero company-car tax during the 2020/21 financial year, and business lease deals are also surprisingly competitive. Safety equipment is good, too, and the I-Pace received a five-star rating in Euro NCAP crash-testing.
Overall, the Jaguar I-Pace sets a new standard for electric SUVs. It’s a sports car, executive fat-cat and eco warrior all in one. The scarcity of public superchargers (of 100kW and more) is the only real niggle with the I-Pace, as it’ll make long-distance touring trickier than it would be in the Tesla.
Still, that doesn’t stop us from recommending the I-Pace. It’ll be interesting to see how the competition compares when it finally arrives, as Jaguar has set the bar very high indeed. For a more detailed look at the Jaguar I-Pace, read on for the rest of our in-depth review.