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2019 Jaguar I-Pace SE EV400 – Car Review – Tesla, hold my beer

2019 Jaguar I-Pace SE EV400 – Car Review – Tesla, hold my beer

It’s not been long since Jaguar threw down the gauntlet at Tesla, if not to say you’ve had your time, now stand aside and let the professionals show you how it’s done. The internet is full of hype around Jaguar’s new I-Pace and the team at DriveLife were super excited to finally get some time behind the wheel.

Can the I-Pace live up to everything Jaguar claims, and can they really knock Tesla of the pedestal they put themselves upon?

The Range

The I-Pace is available in New Zealand in three different spec models. The range starts with the S (starting from $144,900) steps up to the SE (starting from $154,900) which we are testing and finishes with the top spec HSE (starting from $164,900).

Across the range, you also have the choice of roof types. You start with the standard aluminium body coloured roof, which can be changed to one of the other options; a black contrast roof or a fixed panoramic glass roof.

The standard list of features in the base model I-Pace S is huge, it would take too much room to cover all of them, so we will give you the highlights.

Exterior features include LED headlights automatic headlights, heated door mirrors with approach lights, flush exterior door handles, acoustic laminated windscreen and rain sensing wipers. Interior features include push-button start, two-zone climate control, ambient interior lighting, air quality sensors and Luxtec sport seats with 8-way semi-powered front seats.

Drivetrain and safety systems include all wheel drive, all surface progress control, hill launch assist, JaguarDrive control electric power-assisted steering, open differential with torque vectoring by braking, dynamic stability control, passive suspension, electric parking brake, low traction launch, enhanced brake regeneration, emergency braking, cruise control and speed limiter, driver condition monitor, traffic sign recognition and adaptive speed limiter, lane keep assist, rear camera park pack, 360° parking aid, rear traffic monitor and clear exit monitor, and park assist.

You also get Jaguar smart key system with keyless entry, electric cabin preconditioning, touch pro duo interactive driver display, navigation pro, Meridian sound system, 2 x 12V, 6 x USB. Told you it was a big list.

As we are testing the SE, here are some of its standard features in addition to what comes on the S variant. The SE gets 20″ 6-spoke gloss sparkle silver wheels, premium LED headlights with signature DRL, Headlight power wash, powered tailgate, auto-dimming, power folding and heated door mirrors with memory and approach lights, grained leather sport seats 10-way electric memory front seats and the Drive Pack consisting of Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, High-speed Emergency Braking and Blind Spot Assist.

HSe gets Matrix LED headlights with signature DRL, Powered gesture tailgate, Windsor leather sport seats, 18-way heated and cooled memory front seats with heated rear seats and Meridian™ Surround Sound System.

Just as the price grows with each model, so to does the array of standard options available. If we even tried to cover them and additional options we may never get to the main review. For a full range of details on standard and additional options you can visit www.jaguar.co.nz.

First Impressions

Before seeing the car in person I had hoped that it would not feel like those weird eco cars of the past, something that looks like it’s trying too hard and that would be embarrassing to be seen in. Thankfully the Jaguar I-Pace does not follow this trend. It had a modern flair to it while retaining many of the styling aspects from the Jaguar line.

The overall look of the I-Pace is rather striking, with a strong powerful front face, sleek and streamlined body, and rather large rear end. Almost every angle of the I-Pace has an aerodynamic design, however, I couldn’t help feeling that the rear was more like a slab of steel than an effective design. I was also not one hundred percent sure about the black trim along with the doors with jaguar embossed on them. Overall I like the design, and this colour as it contrasted and highlighted many of its design features.

You can’t help but notice those wheels, this I-Pace was optioned with the massive 22″ 5 spoke wheel, gloss black inner wheels with contrast diamond cut front face and finished off with carbon fibre inserts. They are a $5,650 option, and I dread to think about what it would cost to repair if they get curbed.

The Inside

Before getting in, it’s hard to miss the popout door handles. Either with the key or touching the hand free button on each handle, they would pop out from the doors to show the vehicle is unlocked. They were a good size and they felt nice and strong, well built. It’s not something new, but it’s a cool feature nevertheless.

Inside the cabin of the I-Pace, you are hit with a strong modern and minimalist design, clean lines mixed with a wide range of LCD and touch screen displays. There are very few buttons in the cabin, with the only noticeable ones being the engine or battery start/stop button, radio on/off dial and the aircon/heated seat dials. Apart from knowing the I-Pace is a fully electric vehicle, there is nothing inside the cabin that indicates or advertises this. For all intents and purposes, the inside is a regular as any other combustion-powered vehicle. Normal except for the fact it has no gear stick, and the central console has four transmission buttons, D for Drive, N for Neutral and R for reverse, and just below that was the P for Park.

The main feature of the cabin is not the multitude of LCD displays, it’s the roof. The fixed full glass roof spans from front to back without single interfering support. Everyone that got in was instantly amazed by it. It’s probably one of the nicest glass roofs I have experienced. The great thing about it was that it was tinted, which means it does not bake the cabin interior on a hot day. The downside of this is that there is no cover if you want to not let any light in through the roof to the cabin.

The rest of the cabin is rather normal, nothing jumps out, no crazy features. Nice materials and it all oozes a sense of high quality. Space inside the cabin is noticeably roomy compared to other luxury fully EV vehicles. The floor is at the same height in the front as it is in the rear, so legroom is great all around. I was easily able to fit in the rear seat even behind my own tall driver seat position. For anyone sitting in the rear seats, they have the best view of the large panoramic glass roof.

Back in the driver’s seat is where all the action is, with a mixture of displays within arm’s reach, a large LCD driver’s display cluster. The cluster was clean and simplistic, split into two dials, left and right of the screen with an information area between them. The left dial displayed your speed, transmission mode currently selected and a handful of other small warning indicators. The right dial was a combination of the battery charge remaining, showing the range remaining and how the power was used. When standing still the needle sat in the middle, between charge and power. Once you moved away it moved towards power to indication a draw from the battery, and as soon as you let off or brake, it goes over to charge, where energy was being collected and stored back into the battery. In between both of these displays, you can display the map or other driver information options. If preferred you can select to have one central display with two side information areas. Both worked well, but I prefer using the two dial display over the single central one.

The central console has the Touch Pro Duo 10” and 5” touchscreens. Touch Pro could be an entire article to itself, there are so many features and options available. It, of course, covers the basics; media selection, phone, navigation, cameras for parking the parking assistant, climate controls displayed on the smaller 5” screen.  

The biggest addition with this Touch Pro system in the profile settings. Much like have settings linked to each key, this system goes one further. The profiles are linked to your phone and carry with them every aspect of how you like to have the I-Pace. From seat positions to which radio station you want to use. It also has the ability to learn from your patterns, for example, if you like the heated seats on in the morning on the way to work, and off on the way home. After a few days of this, it will just action these settings for you without any requests. That’s pretty cool.

The only aspect of Touch Pro that I did not like was how the parking system for the camera displayed. It used a really small area of the screen, which you can zoom in on, but it was just not as useful as many other systems on the market. It could have shown several different cameras at the same time as the top down, instead of a small overview and a big black screen. BMW’s parking assistant is light years ahead of this, easily the benchmark for everyone else to strive for.

The boot was surprisingly good; it’s been set up as more like a fastback with a large parcel shelf, which has many benefits. This space is 656 litres, and with the parcel shelf and the 60/40 split rear seats down, it opened up to 1,453 litres, which is within keeping of typical midsize SUVs. The boot floor was higher then I might have preferred, but I assume this was due to the chassis battery and onboard computer systems. Overall it’s a pretty normal space for a car of this size.

The Drive

Driving the I-Pace is about as eventful as a ride on lawn mower. It’s a super easy system to use, and it does everything you expect from it effortlessly, and since it’s so quiet, it does it in an undramatic fashion. You jump in, you press which transmission setting you want, and you move off in the desired direction. Using it is as normal as using any other car, the only real difference is that there is less sound and a lot more torque available from those motors if requested.

The range from the I-Pace was great, on a full charge it displayed over 500km, which is pretty similar to any combustion vehicles. This means you don’t have to worry about charging it each and every night, you can get a few days out of it without worrying about the remaining battery power.

As it was a review, I had to test all aspects which included standing still foot to the floor test. I am not sure what info this helps any buyer with, but it makes me feel we tested all aspects of the vehicle, which helps me sleep at night. When the foot hits the floor, your already moving, power comes on in one continuous powerful wave. Before you can really work out how fast you are going, the I-Pace will hit 100kmph in 4.5 seconds. That’s fast, real fast. For comparison, my 2009 Audi RS6 has a 5.0L twin-turbo V10 engine from a Lamborghini with almost 600hp, both cars weigh about the same, and the Audi also does 0-100kmph in 4.5 seconds. What requires a thunderous roar and several litres of petrol from my Audi, the Jaguar I-Pace can do in a much more civilized manner.

The handling from the I-Pace is not to be scoffed at, as all the weight is in the bottom of the vehicle. Thanks to all of those batteries, it means the centre of gravity is much lower than standard combustion vehicles. This means that even though it’s a bit of a crossover SUV-sized vehicle, when pushed it handles more like a sports car. Since I was fizzing from my standing start test, it would be unprofessional not to follow that up with a spirited drive around my review route. This car handles really well, so much better than you would expect it too, great control, hitting all the points you want it to in each and every corner. Well done, Jaguar.

The driver’s pedals felt like they were not placed right or a bit small or close together. It was an issue I have never come across in all the cars I had tested. I got used to it, but I am pretty sure the pedals are bunched too close together, which could be dangerous if you’re not aware of it.

Charging was simple, as it should be. The cables provided plug into your standard home outlet and then into the plug under the flap in the front left guard. I was about to say fuel flap, maybe charge flap is what we need to say for full EV’s. The charge cable has a power management box in the middle it, with one cable coming out of each side, standard plus on one side and the cable to the vehicle is bright green. At first, I thought this odd, but it makes sense, a good bright colour would highlight to all when parking and charging in a driveway that there is a cable to be mindful of.

Most nights I had the car parked off the street in my driveway, plug popping out from beneath my garage door to plug in the I-Pace. I never had any issues with it anytime I did it and every morning the car was ready and waiting at 100%. There was an additional cover under the charge flap, that allowed you to use the fast charge system, I, unfortunately, did not get a chance to use one during the review.

If you are interested to know more about charging and the types of EV, check our How-to Guide on EV Charging.

Oddly the I-Pace has height adjustable electronic suspension, and much like my own Land Rover Discovery’s air suspension system, it can adjust its body height to 3 different settings. The I-Pace has its normal running mode for everyday driving, which can be lowered to an access mode. This mode is only available at low speeds and designed to lower the body for easier access. The highest mode is targeted for offroading, which can provide up to 230mm clearance. The I-Pace looks totally ridiculous when it’s set to the highest mode, displaying an enormous gap between the top of the wheels and top of the wheel arches. At the New Zealand launch, they had time to go offroad, we didn’t make that event, but had heard that the I-Pace is a rather capable machine in the mud. Why anyone would want to get the I-Pace for even light offroading is beyond me, when there are many other more suitable options around.

What it’s up against

The fully electric vehicle market is still very small and the luxury EV market is even smaller. It won’t be for long until it grows. Tesla has the name, but right now they can’t seem to deliver cars to those who want them.

Fully Electric Cars

Brand / ModelBattery /kWhPower kW/NmRange km0-100km/h, secondsBoot Capacity, litresPrice Highest to Lowest
Tesla Model X Long Range75270 / 4415054.6NA$156,500
Tesla Model S Long Range75270 / 4415903.7840$146,500
Audi E-tron 55 Quattro95300 / 6644176.6660$157,400
Jaguar I-Pace SE EV40090294 / 9694504.5656$154,000
BMW I3s42135 / 2702606.9260$85,900
Hyundai Kona EV Elite64150 / 3954497.9361$79,990
VW e-Golf28100 / 2902209.6380$68.490
KIA Niro EV40100 / 3952899.8451$67,990
Hyundai Ioniq EV Elite2888 / 2952006.9350$65.990

ProsCons
  • Modern styling
  • Everyday useable design
  • Spacious cabin
  • Luxury interior
  • Eco-friendly with sporty performance
  • Modern technology
  • That glass roof
  • Price is not affordable for everyone
  • Small pedals, close together.
  • Parking camera display could use more of the screen space
  • Flat rear end

What do we think?

What makes a great EV car? Simple. The fact that it does not feel or require anything special to be an EV car. The I-Pace is as easy and familiar to use as any other petrol or diesel vehicle I have driven. It has a good range, nice power and even if you didn’t charge it every night you could give it a good charge once a week. It works and feels like an expensive luxury vehicle, which does not leave you asking why it costs so much.

My only gripe about this car are the foot pedals – they feel a bit small in width and close together. But that’s it and it’s not often that a car has so few issues. From a design point of view, I personally think the I-Pace should have been a shooting brake; the lines are set up nicely for it and would have given you a much larger boot space too.

The I-Pace is a big game changer, in the same way that Tesla was a game changer. Tesla showed us that it could be done: the world can have electric vehicles for everyday life. What Jaguar’s I-Pace showed us all, is how it should be done. The high price means high quality, something Tesla has yet to be able to offer or understand. The Jaguar I-Pace is the first glimpse of what is sure to be a long list of high-end luxury electric vehicles available on the market.

If I had to choose between the Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla Model X, the I-Pace would win hands down every time.

Rating – Chevron rating 5 out of 5

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2019 Jaguar I-Pace SE EV400

Vehicle TypeAll-wheel drive fully electric vehicle
Starting Price$154,000
Price as Tested$172,650
Battery90kWh
Power, Torque294kW / 969Nm
TransmissionConcentric single speed transmissions
Spare WheelSpace saver in boot
Kerb Weight, Kg2133
Length x Width x Height, mm4682 x 2011 x 1565
Cargo Capacity, litres656
ConsumptionAdvertised Spec – Combined – 22,0kWh/100km
Towing Capacity

Kg, unbraked/braked

N/A
Turning circle, metres12

Small: 6-10m / Medium 10-12m / Large 12m+

WarrantyThree-year manufacturer’s warranty and optional extended warranty.
ANCAP Safety Ratings5 Star

 

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