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Jaguar I-Pace​ Test Drive Review

Jaguar I-Pace​ Test Drive Review

By Swansway Motor Group 14-01-2019

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Rebecca Chaplin puts the new Jaguar I-Pace to the test on road, track and off road to find out if that claimed 298-mile range is realistic and if electric motoring is finally easy for anyone to live with

What is it?

Electric cars have seen huge growth in their first decade as a readily available mode of transport – but they’ve still not made it into the public consciousness as a viable vehicle for everyday life. Try now to forget all your preconceived ideas about EVs. Forget the gimmicks and concept-like design, and instead imagine a performance Jaguar with enough practicality to suit your nuclear family.

Not only has Jaguar produced a car that looks as desirable as any other car from the marque, it’s apparently capable of travelling up to 298 miles on one charge, takes just 45 minutes to charge to 80 per cent and it’ll be available from just under £60,000 with the government grant. You’re right, it sounds too good to be true.


What’s new?

The I-Pace is a completely new car, designed from the ground up specifically for Jaguar. It’s the first electric car created by the brand – if we forget about the one-off electric E-Type – and follows on from the design language of the Big Cat’s existing SUV ‘Pace’ range.

That said, while it is recognisable as part of the family, this electric vehicle has a unique style as it’s been created with maximum range in mind.


​​What’s under the bonnet?

For the technically minded among you, the I-Pace has two permanent magnet electric motors that each produces 197bhp, putting power directly to each wheel and giving you all-wheel drive. The battery has a capacity of 90kWh.

But what does that actually mean for those who buy one? It means Jaguar has taken the best of both worlds in this car. Performance cars have become synonymous with worsened economy figures, and I’m not going to pretend that if you put your foot to the floor it won’t hurt your range, but this car will manage up to 298 miles on one charge if driven sensibly. That’s paired with blink-and-you’ll-miss-it acceleration thanks to the instantly available 696Nm of torque. There’s only one powertrain available and it has 395bhp.


What’s it like to drive?

If you put all of the numbers to one side, there are two key benefits to driving an electric car that you really have to feel to understand. Firstly, because torque is available as soon as you put your foot on the accelerator, power delivery is nearly instant, giving that 4.5-second time of 0-60mph. Then there’s the regenerative braking – something that you can switch between high and low if it’s too aggressive for you on the I-Pace – which means as soon as you pull back off the accelerator pedal the car will start braking for you and you’ll find you rarely need to use the actual brake pedal.

Thanks to the air suspension on the First Edition and available to specify on other models, the I-Pace floats down the road. The stability is increased too by the batteries that sit as low as possible in the car and reduce its centre of gravity. Handling is responsive, although this can be switched up as well by putting the car into Dynamic mode, but Comfort and Eco modes are also available.


​How does it look?

There are some key style points that make the I-Pace stand out from other Jaguars. It might be billed as an SUV but it doesn’t really look like one. Designer Ian Callum explained that to accommodate the batteries the car had to be taller, which led to this profile, but at 1.5m the I-Pace still has a sleek, sporty look.

The wheels sit flush with the body of the car, giving it a stockier appearance but aiding with the aerodynamics too. It’s also got a cutaway in the bonnet for cooling that you might not even notice unless you’re standing next to the car.


What’s it like inside?

The interior is unmistakably Jaguar, with a leather finish in the First Edition cars. The dashboard protrudes into the car as if someone had pinched it in the middle and pulled, further giving a feel of elegance and speed inside. Sporty seats in the front and three in the rear give space on a par with other C-segment saloons and SUVs.

There are 656 litres of space in the boot – however, it’s high and flat with the boot lip because of those batteries and motors. At my measly height of four inches over five foot, lifting something heavy from the ground into the boot isn’t easy.


What’s the spec like?

While the whole car might be new, you’ll recognise the infotainment as very JLR. In particular, the dual touchscreen on the centre console is from the Range Rover Velar. You also get a third screen behind the wheel and can specify the car with a head-up display. These features all look the same, but for an EV there are some extra touches to make life simpler.

If you’re planning a route, the I-Pace can tell you how much battery will remain at each destination and this data will update as you drive. It also has other electric-specific features, such as a false futuristic noise you can have pumped around the cabin as you drive. If you’d rather just enjoy the silence, though, you can turn this off, which acts as an exterior noise canceller too.

What’s the best thing about this car? Once out on the open road you could soon forget that it’s an electric vehicle at all if it weren’t for the dials showing your electric range rather than fuel remaining. While the price will still make it unattainable for a lot of drivers, let’s not forget it’s still a Jag and a luxury one at that.

However, compare it with the only other all-electric SUV on the market, the Tesla Model X, and this car is a bargain even in this high-spec First Edition guise. With genuine performance credentials and more range than most owners would ever need, the Jaguar I-Pace makes an extremely convincing case for EV driving.


Facts at a glance

  • Model as tested: Jaguar I-Pace EV400 First Edition
  • Engine: Two permanent magnet electric motors
  • Power (bhp): 395bhp
  • Torque (Nm): 696Nm
  • Max speed (mph): 124mph
  • 0-60mph: 4.5 seconds
  • MPG (combined): n/a
  • Emissions (g/km): 0g/km
  • Range: 298 miles
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