The Jaguar I-Pace is a luxury electric “performance SUV” costing a cool $164,900. Do its enhanced features justify the price tag?
By Paul Smith
My kids couldn’t get enough, “floor it again, Dad!” The Jaguar I-Pace goes like stink while accommodating passengers in luxurious comfort. But this child-pleasing performance comes at a price.
Which, to be precise, is $164,900 for the HSE version I trialled (though you can get the lowest specification S for $144,900). While that price tag is high, it’s unfair comparing the I-Pace to electric vehicles (EVs), such as the Hyundai Kona or Kia Niro, which cost half the price – just as you wouldn’t compare a Jaguar F-Pace SUV to a Toyota RAV4. The I-Pace isn’t an EV for the masses.
The price of performance
As I expected from a luxury “performance SUV”, the cabin was a lovely place to be and the driving experience outstanding. The I-Pace is practical too; it easily swallowed my family of four and our holiday luggage.
If I felt adventurous, it also packs all-wheel-drive for off-seal excursions. Its driver aids and intelligent safety features worked exceptionally well. Adaptive cruise control regulated speed to maintain a gap to other traffic (it even brought the I-Pace to a halt automatically), which made driving on both open roads and congested highways a breeze. Lane assist recognised lanes even on rural highways – over hundreds of kilometres it faltered only a handful of times. It also self-steered gentle bends at highway speeds. While these features aren’t exclusive to EVs, they just work better coupled to an electric drivetrain that has instant, smooth responses. The I-Pace’s ample power, combined with its cosseting cabin, made covering big distances truly a pleasure.
Running cost and range
Over the past few years I’ve trialled a few EVs. Their efficiency isn’t something I’ve lost sleep over so far, as they’ve all been much cheaper to run than a petrol-fuelled alternative. However, the I-Pace used a whopping 27kWh/100km on my 130km test route (around Wellington and over the Remutaka Range to Featherston). This is significantly more than the next highest-consuming EV I’ve trialled – the Hyundai Kona, which used 16kWh/100km. Running costs might not be the most important consideration if you’re buying an I-Pace, but its energy use meant the 90kWh battery packed into the floor was only good for about 315km. Compared to the real-world 400km I got from the Kona, it’s disappointing – though the price you pay for all that performance.
Would I buy it?
Yes, I would. It has all the space my one-car family needs and comfort in spades. It’s effortless and fun to drive, and capable of tackling a family ski trip to Whakapapa or shuttling bikes to the end of remote metalled roads.
However, realistically, it’s too flash for me. Of course, this is hypothetical, because the I-Pace costs far too much for me to consider. However, even if it were affordable, I’d still have reservations. While more than 300km of range is good for an EV, I think Jaguar has the balance wrong – foregoing efficiency for nausea-inducing acceleration. In my eyes, the I-Pace would be just about perfect if it was more frugal with its electrons and eked out more distance between charges. While the driving experience is fantastic, sitting waiting at a charger for an unnecessarily long time isn’t.
Jaguar I-Pace HSE AWD Auto
Price: $164,990 (S $144,990, SE $154,990) CO₂ emissions: 0 gCO₂/km Battery: 90kW (84.7kW usable) AC Charging: Up to 7kW (0-100% in 12.9 hours) DC (fast) charging: Type 2 connector, up to 100kW Range (claimed): 470km (WLTP standard) Motors: Front and rear axle synchronous electric motors generating 400PS power and 696Nm torque.
All-wheel-drive with Adaptive Surface Response
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