The launch of the Jaguar I-Pace in 2018 was a triumph for the historic British manufacturer. It represented a departure from traditional Jaguar design, the launch of Jaguar's first electric car and also the opportunity to steal a march on some of its main rivals. Many were surprised and delighted at how close the production car was to the concept I-Pace that had been teased, which gave Jaguar's reputation a welcome boost at a key time in the motor industry, when electric cars were just coming into the foreground.
It is fair to say that Jaguar has really hit the spot with the I-Pace. It is an unconventional SUV with enough talent to upset competitors such as the Tesla Model X and Audi E-Tron. This big cat is elegant, powerful and cavernous inside, with many innovative features that will please seasoned Jaguar owners and gadget lovers alike.
The Jaguar I-Pace is also a blueprint for the company's all-electric car future, as Jaguar has recently announced its intention to have the whole range electric by 2025. This Jaguar I-Pace review will look at this trailblazing electric SUV in more detail to see why it is so popular, and what may lie ahead for Jaguar in the coming years.
The Jaguar I-Pace is futuristic and space-age inside and out, which is befitting of a modern pure electric car. It has lots of neat touches such as its nifty door handles, which are flush with the bodywork when the car is moving or locked, and which pop out when you want to open the door.
The I-Pace achieves a good balance of looking unmistakably like a Jaguar, particularly in the grille and headlights, but also looks like a futuristic concept car. While it is considered to be an SUV, it does not look like a conventional one. Jaguar has resisted making the I-Pace look like an off-roader as is often the case with this type of car, and has instead made it look elegant and athletic. It is large and tall but there are no signs of chunky bumpers or wheel arch extensions as with other SUVs.
The I-Pace was the first platform to showcase some of Jaguar's new interior trims and equipment, and some of these features have now filtered through to the rest of the Jaguar range. The Pivi Pro infotainment system is worthy of particular note; it features a large widescreen display, is intuitive to operate and is able to update over the air using its internet connection, rather than needing a trip to the dealer.
The interior is nicely put together, with high-quality materials that are mostly worthy of the luxury image and price of the I-Pace.
The cabin of the I-Pace is designed around the driver, who sits lower than in other SUVs, and is enveloped by the dashboard like a cocoon for a feeling of maximum involvement. This is Jaguar's way of giving the driver maximum involvement and enjoyment from the driving experience.
The driver is greeted by three digital screens - one housing the Pivi Pro infotainment system, one for the digital dashboard and one lower down which controls the climate control and other functions. The centre console has a floating effect, bringing the controls up towards the driver. All this combines to give the interior of the I-Pace a hi-tech effect. Most of this works very successfully but the lower screen for the heater controls can distract you and have you looking down away from the road if you aren't familiar with it.
Four adults can sit in relative luxury aboard the Jaguar I-Pace, with plenty of legroom and headroom for all. There is space for a fifth passenger in the middle rear seat of the rear bench, so three adults can get in, but there isn't that much shoulder room and the interior light casing on the roof lining causes quite a considerable loss of headroom, so the middle seat is probably restricted to children.
Jaguars are well renowned for seat comfort, and the I-Pace is no exception, with part-electric front seats on entry-level models, which become fully electric on higher specification versions of the Jaguar I-Pace. In combination with the decent range of movement of the steering wheel, you will not find it difficult to find a comfortable driving position behind the wheel.
Larger wheels do have an impact on the ride quality, making it feel slightly harder and transmitting a little more road and tyre noise into the cabin. Otherwise, the Jaguar I-Pace is quiet, rapid and comfortable, wafting along in luxurious silence, without too much intrusion from wind noise thanks to its aerodynamic shape. This is not something that can be said for every electric SUV.
The boot space in the Jaguar I-Pace is fantastic, with a powered tailgate giving access to a large load area. The rear seats fold down in a 40:20:40 split to give even more space inside the boot or allow long items to be loaded between the rear seats, and there is also a small area underneath the boot floor for extra storage. If you open the bonnet at the front you will also find a small "frunk," almost unique to electric cars, which provides another small cubby for stowage. The lithium ion battery pack and the electric motors are hidden beneath the floor of the Jaguar I-Pace, so there is minimal cabin intrusion.
There is plenty of other storage space in the I-Pace, with large door pockets and plenty of cupholders and cubbies dotted around the cabin. Practicality was clearly high on the list for Jaguar when it designed the I-Pace.
The only fly in the ointment is that the combination of the high boot lid, narrow windscreen, lack of a rear wiper and thick C-pillars can severely restrict rear visibility, which does affect how practical this car really is. However, this can be mitigated by the rear camera.
Jaguar has carefully engineered the I-Pace to be suitably athletic on the road in spite of its size and weight, making it feel like a genuine Jaguar to drive. It has 50:50 weight distribution and the suspension is tuned to give the I-Pace lively road handling.
The 0-60 sprint is literally that; a sprint. The I-Pace takes a blistering 4.5 seconds to reach 60mph from standing, beating many other models that call themselves performance cars. It is one of those cars that pushes you back into your seat when you plant your foot on the accelerator. It feels like a sports car to drive, but somehow in a silent, undramatic fashion.
Don't expect traction to be an issue either; the Jaguar I-Pace has two electric motors as standard, one each on the front and rear wheels to give it four wheel drive. These two motors provide a combined power output of 395bhp, placing this car firmly in performance car territory. This is the only power option available on the Jaguar I-Pace, and Jaguar claims this will be more than enough for most drivers.
Given that the Jaguar I-Pace only has one choice of electric motor power output, this takes some of the head-scratching out of the trim levels. Many buyers will find the standard level of equipment to be more than generous, but you can always get more equipment commensurate to the depth of your pockets.
The standard S model is packed with features including LED headlights and tail lights, 19" gloss grey alloy wheels, the excellent Pivi Pro infotainment system and satellite navigation system, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, keyless entry, heated front seats, cruise control, front and rear parking sensors and a rear camera.
Upgrading to the SE buys you 20" alloy wheels, premium LED headlights, a powered tailgate, heated electric leather seats, a Meridian sound system, a blind spot monitoring assistance pack and adaptive cruise control.
The Jaguar I-Pace Black is £7,000 more, but is packed with extra kit including rear privacy glass, a panoramic glass roof, heated windscreen and washer jets, 20" gloss black alloy wheels, a heated steering wheel, and a Black exterior styling pack.
You can also upgrade to the top spec HSE models if you wish. The HSE specification pack adds extra features including matrix LED headlights, animated indicators, upgraded heated and cooled leather seats, and a Meridian 3D surround sound system.
The Jaguar I-Pace is regarded as a very safe car, having attained the full five stars in its 2018 Euro NCAP crash test. This included 91% for adult occupant safety, 81% for child occupants and 81% for safety assist.
The I-Pace comes with a high level of safety equipment as standard, including six airbags, ASB and emergency brake assist, as well as a range of driver assistance technology including traffic sign recognition, lane keep assist, and a driver condition monitor.
If you tick some options from the list or upgrade to the I-Pace Black, you get the benefit of some extra safety and assistance equipment including blind spot assist, rear traffic monitor, and adaptive cruise control.
Jaguar is rarely top of the shop when it comes to reliability surveys, with the odd electrical or mechanical niggle, but there are no massive reliability issues known with the I-Pace at this time. It does have the backup of a three year unlimited mileage manufacturer's warranty, and the battery pack has a separate warranty that lasts eight years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first. This should offer suitable reassurance that the Jaguar dealer network will be on hand to help if you have any issues with your I-Pace.
The standard I-Pace EV400 S is £65,620 on the road, rising to £70,220 for the SE. The top spec HSE models start at £74,670 on the road. The suave I-Pace Black is £72,820, and the HSE version of the Black is £76,920. These are the basic prices before you become tempted by anything on the options list.
Unfortunately, the price point of the Jaguar I-Pace makes it too expensive for any government electric car grants. The level of the grant is currently set at around half the price of the entry level I-Pace, but in fairness if you are shopping in this market sector, that shouldn't be too much of an issue.
Jaguar has set out to make the I-Pace one of the best electric cars on the road. It is blazing a trail for the British marque and for the wider luxury electric car market, and the I-Pace manages to find a great balance between being a luxury car and a sports car, exactly as Jaguar hoped.
The Jaguar I-Pace is a premium alternative to rivals including the benchmark Tesla Model X, the Mercedes EQC and the Audi E-Tron. Its permanent all wheel drive system, ample 396bhp and instant power delivery make this an intoxicating car to drive.
The I-Pace is the first of many fully electric cars due to be launched by Jaguar as it aims to only manufacture electric vehicles by 2025, which is a hefty target. We have yet to see what Jaguar has in store to follow this first electric Jag, but if the I-Pace is anything to go by, the future looks very exciting indeed.