Jaguar I-Pace SE review.
For – handsome, luxurious, fast, quiet
Against – best stay local
Motorway range effective 125 miles/73.25%
Competition – Audi-e-Tron, Mercedes EQC, Tesla Model X, Ford Mustang Mach E, BMW iX3
Jaguar was quick off the mark with its first all-electric I-Pace, although I’ve often wondered whether, in this digital age, anyone seeking to buy one online would have ended up with a petrol or diesel model, assuming the E-Pace SUV must be the battery-powered one.
But the price – starting at £65,195 after a government grant – might have signalled the error before it was too late.
The I-Pace has all the qualities that an upmarket electric car or SUV will have; amazing performance and quiet with it. The I-Pace is unquestionably handsome, and the interior is very upmarket and impressive. The one I borrowed had cream leather seats with high-quality walnut inserts. The cockpit has an all-encompassing, luxurious wrap-around feel. You engage the automatic gearbox by pushing either D, or R and there’s N, and P for park. Prominently displayed is the all-important range availability, which I never managed to get beyond 252 miles from my home charger, despite the claim of 292 miles maximum. For charging on the road, a 50kW charger will add up to 39 miles in 15 minutes, and a 100kW charger 78 miles over the same period. Allegedly, if you can find one or afford its output. The 4-wheel drive I-Pace has two electric motors at each axle, providing 395 hp and 696Nm.
Motorway range 150 miles ish
The high-speed cruising capability – let’s call it the constant 130 km/h test – was much better than the Polestar 2’s 41%, after all it is quite a bit cheaper than the Jaguar – but the I-Pace delivered an average 73.25%. So if you set the charging capability at the recommended 80% (to save battery life) – say 200 miles – that means your high speed cruising range is about 150 miles. Anyone sensible would start looking for recharging with 50 miles remaining so being generous that gives an effective range of 125 miles. So a 300 mile journey which would take a cheap diesel about 4 hours, will take an extra couple of hours or maybe three more at least in the I-Pace as you wait for a charging space to become available then pace up and and down as it recharges.
On rural and urban rides the I-Pace returned 80.2% of the promised range, although after I discovered “regenerative braking” mode, I once managed 114.6%. That’s a free lunch. Most electric cars I’ve driven have direct access to “regenerative braking”, either via the paddle flaps behind the steering wheel, or some obvious button to press or lever to move. Not on the I-Pace. I only found it by accident after a long and opaque e-mail from Jaguar HQ. There was no indication on the dashboard that it had been engaged, or that after turning off the car and returning next day that it was still there, although the extra braking when you lifted off the accelerator suggested that it was still functioning.
Clear sight indeed
My SE version started at £69,795. Not surprisingly, it was extremely well equipped, with improved LED headlights, powered tail-gate, but only 12-way electric seats. More extras brought the total to £76,945 with stuff like bigger, better wheels £1,680, active air suspension £1,120, and 14-way heated electric memory front seats, £1,480. Standard was “ClearSight, a rear-view digital mirror delivering unimpeded visibility”. Not so. During the day it had an out-of-focus quality which made you squint and feel giddy, and would soon induce a bad headache, and after a drive in bad weather the camera seemed to get covered in dirt so was useless.
Handling was impeccable as you’d expect from a top of the line Jaguar, although road noise was a bit intrusive occasionally. That was probably more a reflection of the state of the “A”24, rather than any fault with the Jaguar.
What to buy?
For a while the choice was limited to Jaguar, Audi, Mercedes and Tesla but the field is filling up quickly. Soon there will more Audis, and extra Mercedes in the shape of the EQA, B and S, the BMW iX3, and Tesla Model Y. If you want to spend less there is a huge range of choice. In Germany, when you can get a government grant of $11,000 but for cheaper models, that will help make up minds. If your annual motoring includes a visit to your 2nd home in the south of France, you won’t want to bother. The range of even the most expensive electric cars just isn’t up to a long journey, not even a Tesla which most believe to be the best long-range cruiser. But if your needs are local, and you have your own charger the choice is amazing. The I-Pace, is a fine example of the genre, particularly if you can find regenerative braking every day. And electric cars this expensive are hugely impressive because their luxury and quiet performance. But it’s hard to give 5 stars to a vehicle (and a genre?) that can’t fulfill a basic task – the long-range visit to your holiday home – which any cheap diesel could do with no worries. It’s all very well electric car proponents (ElectriCarDerangement Syndrome EDS) pointing out the fact that most journeys are short and no problem, but it’s the final 5% of utility that lets them down. A bit like advocates of autonomous cars saying they are perfect, apart from the remaining 5% of tasks which they fail to do and which will bring them to a shuddering halt, or end your life. Let’s not kid ourselves. Electric cars are great for cheap and cheerful city cars, but not much else if you’re in the value for money market.
|Jaguar I-Pace SE|
|(*highway cruising at real world indicated 80 mph)|
|Battery:||90 kWh, lithium ion 388 volt|
|Electric Motor:||2 synchronous permanent magnet|
|Torque:||front/rear motors 348 Nm each|
|Claimed range:||253-292 miles or 407-470 kms (WLTP)|
|Claimed consumption:||35.4 kWh to 39.8 kWh per 100 miles|
|WintonsWorld Test:||range - capacity – 242 to 253 miles|
|Charging:||claimed 33 miles per hour from 11 kW domestic box|
|Acceleration:||0-60 mph 4.5 seconds, 0-100 km/h 4.8 seconds|
|Top Speed:||125 mph-200 km/h|
|CO2:||zero at tailpipe|
|Warranty:||8 years/100,000 miles|
|Boot capacity:||656 litres|
|Competition:||Audi-e-Tron, Mercedes EQC, Tesla Model X, Ford Mustang Mach E, BMW iX3|
|Price:||£76,045 after government grant|
|For:||handsome, luxurious, fast, quiet|
|Against:||Best stay local|