Jaguar I-Pace trial

The Jaguar I-Pace is a luxury electric “performance SUV” costing a cool $164,900. Do its enhanced features justify the price tag?

Couple walking past the Jaguar I-Pace.

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.

Jaguar I-Pace cabin interior
The cabin was a lovely place to be and the driving experience outstanding.

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.

Jaguar -I-Pace frontal
The Jaguar I-Pace was effortless and fun to drive, but too flash for our triallist.

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.

Specs

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

Member comments

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Martin R.
28 Oct 2019
Experience of an iPace owner

I test drove a Tesla Model S and the iPace before deciding which one to buy. The iPace is much more 'lively' to drive. It has more responsive steering, road holding dynamics are superior and it is more spacious inside with a slightly higher seating position so one gets a better view of the road. It is a delight to drive long distances on the open road. I took it to New Plymouth from Auckland, stopping for 35 minutes in Te Kuiti to charge it from 40 to 80% ( time to walk the length of the town's shopping area, buy a pie and a coffee.... exercise on a long trip is good for you!). Distance to NP is about 348 km whereas range of iPace in winter mode with 'aircon' going and heated seats is 325 km so a charge en-route was essential. In summer mode with aircon and heated seats off and by pre-conditioning the main battery before charging then a range of 420km is said to be possible. It's energy use on this trip was 23kw/100 Km with one person on board.
I have a 7kw home charger used on the cheap electricity from 11pm for top-up charging. For going to work and driving around town I only need to recharge it once a week on a Friday night. My wife drives a Porsche Cayenne 3.0L diesel and the iPace's road-holding and dynamics are as good as the Cayenne. I also own a Porsche 911 Turbo which does 0-100kph in 4.4 secs, the same as the iPace, but one does not drive that fast in normal driving but good to do when one's neighbour says 'what'll she do mate' and wants to come for the astonishing ride!
The iPace is a fantastic piece of engineering, it is a luxury sports SUV, expensive, yes, but worth it. Martin R.

Lloyd B.
27 Oct 2019
Alternatives

In Europe or Australia where they have 350kW fast chargers, you can charge your Mercedes or Porsche EV SUV up to 80% charge of a 400km range in a very short time, but in New Zealand our standard fast chargers are only 50kW

Heath & Claire M.
26 Oct 2019
Towbar & roof racks available?

If not, it's not a family SUV. Just another luxury EV. Tesla Model S or 3 a fairer comparison than a Kona.

Clark M.
26 Oct 2019
Compared to a Tesla in the same price bracket?

Not sure if Tesla's pricing goes that high but that would be a fairer comparison.
(No, I don't own an EV [yet, waiting for out current car to die])

Eric F.
26 Oct 2019
Priorities?

1. Waiting for car to die, or
2. Waiting for planet to die ...