Road test: Jaguar I-Pace
Jaguar joins the electric car scene with a highly desirable model… at a price
What is it?
Jaguar’s first electric car, a svelte-looking and sassy SUV that combines style, performance and efficiency in a very appealing package, but at a premium price.
How green is it?
It’s a Z.E. – zero emissions – so it’s very green where you use it on the road, but there’s a whole other debate about the coal-fired power stations that supply the electricity.
Who should buy one?
An EV early adopter who wants to drive one of the quickest and classiest electric vehicles, and the only one wearing a Jaguar badge. Someone well-heeled who loves whispering performance.
Road test by Sue Baker, December 2018
DRIVING AND PERFORMANCE
Grace, pace and space are Jaguar’s traditional claims, and the I-Pace lives up to all three, but especially pace. It has vivid acceleration, zipping from stationary to the benchmark 100km/h or 62mph in under five seconds. The downside is that the more enthusiastic use you make of the car’s performance, the shorter its range will be before it needs to be plugged in for recharging.
The quoted range of 292 miles on the new Worldwide harmonised Light vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) figures is achievable, but only if driven moderately in mild weather without too much electrical equipment switched on. Around 230 to 240 miles range is more realistic in more typical conditions, and probably nearer 200 in mid-winter with lights, wipers, climate control and seat heaters all hard at work.
Most owners will recharge the car overnight on a home charge unit, and a 100-mile trip or daily commute there and back should be well within the car’s practical range. Faster charging is possible using a 100kW rapid charger, taking 40 minutes to restore 80 per cent of battery level. Locations for these can be found on zap-map.com.
Rapid acceleration characterises the electric Jaguar’s energetic feel on the road, and it is matched with strong progressive brakes and a slick auto transmission. As well as good performance, the I-Pace is a sportily civilised car to drive, with the clingy feel of a road-orientated 4×4.
Ride quality is mostly pretty fair, and cruising comfort on a motorway slog is fine. It sometimes feels a bit firm at lower pace on a country byway, with some minor fidgeting over surface undulations. Refinement is very good, as with most electric cars. At urban pace it is whisper-quiet, and although there is some tyre noise at higher speed it is mostly a hushed driving experience.
SPACE AND PRACTICALITY
Upper-crust quality is evident throughout the I-Pace’s cabin, which is beautifully appointed and roomy, although the car’s headroom suffers a bit if you choose the optional panoramic glass roof. Even so, that’s not really a problem except for very tall passengers. Legroom all round is pretty good, what you’d expect of an executive-class model. It’s helped by the I-Pace’s lack of engine allowing for a short bonnet, with the front seats set a bit further forward in the car’s overall length than usual, so freeing up a bit more knee space behind.
The boot is big at 656 litres, and folding the rear seats lets this be increased to 1,453 litres when using the car as a temporary two-seater load carrier. There is also a small compartment under the bonnet, where an engine would normally be in other cars. It is only 27 litres, but enough to accommodate an overnight bag or large briefcase. Stowage inside the cabin is quite good too.
Although the I-Pace has yet to be tested for a Euro NCAP score, it has been designed for a five-star rating and is expected to achieve that. It comes well-equipped with safety kit, much of it standard across the range. All versions have traffic sign recognition, lane-keeping assistance, driver condition monitor, emergency braking, 360-degree parking vision, a rear traffic monitor, and a clear exit monitor that warns disembarking passengers about any approaching vehicles.
Standard equipment on the I-Pace includes LED headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels, eight-way powered front sports seats, an interactive infotainment system with sat nav, a high-quality sound system, mobile phone induction charging, and a security tracker. The cabin can be pre-heated or cooled ahead of a trip via a smartphone app. The car has 4G wi-fi connectivity and the purchase price includes 500MB of data a month for three years.
The starting price for an I-Pace is a hefty £63,495 for the S model we tested. There are three other versions, the dearest of which is the EV400 First Edition at £81,495. As an electric vehicle the I-Pace is eligible for a plug-in car grant (PICG), although the value of this grant has recently been cut to £3,500. However, running costs and servicing bills will be lower than for an equivalent petrol or diesel model.
WE SAY Jaguar joins the electric car scene with a highly desirable model… at a price
AT A GLANCE:
Performance: 0-62 in 4.8 secs
Economy: 292 miles (WLTP)
Figures for the I-Pace EV400 AWD S