Jaguar I-Pace review
|Car type||Official range||Wallbox charge time||Fast charge time|
|Electric||336 miles (NEDC)||12 hours 36 mins (7kW)||85 mins (50kW, 0-80%)|
The Jaguar I-Pace is the company’s first electric car, and while its only direct rival is currently the Tesla Model X, the forthcoming Audi e-tron and Mercedes EQC, and still more rivals from BMW and Volkswagen, are set to take it on 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 a real-world range of 298 miles – usefully better than the Tesla Model X 75D.
Just be aware that you can’t use Tesla's 100kW 'Superchargers’ to top up an I-Pace. A network of public supercharging points of 100kW or more is expected to be installed by 2020, but in the meantime the Jaguar misses out on being able get an 80% (roughly 240-mile) charge in 40 minutes, which is a significant benefit of the Tesla.
A 50kW rapid charger of the kind you find at motorway services is the fastest charging you’ll get for the Jaguar in the meantime; it'll charge the I-Pace to 80% in 85 minutes. A 7kW charger installed at home (which’ll cost around £300 after a government grant) can charge the I-Pace in 10 hours – acceptable if you’re charging overnight for use the next day.
Even the cheapest 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 there’s also a fully loaded First Edition model on offer for the first 12 months the car is on sale.
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. The class has been dominated until now by Teslas, which are characterised by blunt pace and neutral if flat-footed responses.
Ride quality suffers a little in the name of impressive handling, but while the 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.
Not only that, but 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 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. Safety equipment is good, and – while the I-Pace hasn’t yet been crash-tested by Euro NCAP – the five-star ratings achieved by other Jaguars suggest it’ll do well.
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. That year or so you’ll have to wait for 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.