Jaguar I-Pace review

Category: Electric car

The I-Pace remains a compelling electric-car choice – it's fun to drive with a user-friendly interior

Jaguar I-Pace front cornering
  • Jaguar I-Pace front cornering
  • Jaguar I-Pace rear cornering
  • Steve Huntingford test driving Jaguar I-Pace
  • Jaguar I-Pace boot open
  • Jaguar I-Pace charging
  • Jaguar I-Pace right driving
  • Jaguar I-Pace front cornering
  • Jaguar I-Pace front cornering
  • Jaguar I-Pace rear right driving
  • Jaguar I-Pace rear left driving
  • Jaguar I-Pace front right static
  • Jaguar I-Pace interior dashboard
  • Jaguar I-Pace infotainment touchscreen
  • Jaguar I-Pace interior detail
  • Jaguar I-Pace front cornering
  • Jaguar I-Pace rear cornering
  • Steve Huntingford test driving Jaguar I-Pace
  • Jaguar I-Pace boot open
  • Jaguar I-Pace charging
  • Jaguar I-Pace right driving
  • Jaguar I-Pace front cornering
  • Jaguar I-Pace front cornering
  • Jaguar I-Pace rear right driving
  • Jaguar I-Pace rear left driving
  • Jaguar I-Pace front right static
  • Jaguar I-Pace interior dashboard
  • Jaguar I-Pace infotainment touchscreen
  • Jaguar I-Pace interior detail
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Introduction

What Car? says...

Since the Apple iMac computer came along, the letter I has been used to brand everything from newspapers to teddy bears in the hope of giving them a bit of Silicon Valley credibility. And to be fair, the Jaguar I-Pace we're reviewing here does actually feel like a product Apple might have created.

As an electric car and an SUV, it’s competing in two growing sectors of the car market. But just as importantly, Jaguar didn’t play it safe and simply stuff lots of batteries into one of its conventionally powered SUVs (a tactic used for the BMW iX3).

Instead, it created a car specifically designed to be an electric vehicle which remains faithful to the dramatic I-Pace concept that was so enthusiastically received at motor shows. As a result, the production version of the I-Pace looks like it has driven straight off the set of a sci-fi movie, despite no longer being in the first flush of youth.

Things have moved on since the I-Pace's launch, of course. Back then, it had only the much more expensive Tesla Model X as a direct electric SUV competitor. Today, the list of rivals includes the Audi Q8 e-tron, BMW iX3, Genesis GV60, Mercedes EQC and Volvo EX40 (to name just a handful).

So, how does the Jaguar I-Pace stack up against the best electric SUVs? To find out, read on – in this review we’ll cover everything from what it’s like to drive and how practical it is to how much it will cost to buy and run.

Overview

Whether you’re looking for an electric car or a luxury SUV, the Jaguar I-Pace remains a worthy contender. It’s enjoyable to drive and has a smartly finished interior. Just bear in mind that there are newer rivals that can go further between stops and charge up faster, as well as more practical alternatives that offer more space.

  • Entertaining handling
  • User-friendly interior
  • Surprisingly capable off road
  • Restricted rear visibility
  • Range and charging speed are nothing special
  • Not as hushed as rivals
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Our Pick

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Jaguar I-pace 294kW EV400 R-Dynamic SE Black 90kWh 5dr Auto review
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox

Every Jaguar I-Pace has four-wheel drive courtesy of two electric motors – one at the front, the other at the rear. Together they pump out 394bhp, which is enough for 0-60mph in 4.7 seconds.

That’s slower than the monstrously rapid Performance variants of the Tesla Model 3 and Tesla Model Y but quicker than we managed in an Audi Q8 e-tron 55 (5.4 seconds). Either way, the I-Pace zips off the line eagerly and has plenty of punch to pin you back in your seat.

An 84.7kWh (usable) battery gives the I-Pace an official range of 285 miles on a single charge. In our real-world winter range test it managed 197 miles from full to empty, which might seem disappointing. However, think of it as a worst-case scenario figure, because we have seen electric cars post improvements of up to 20% in warmer summer months. The Model Y Long Range managed 272 miles in the same winter test, though.

Suspension and ride comfort

Happily, the standard (passive) suspension is good enough to mean you don't have to splash out on the optional air set-up. It smothers the harshness of bumps, whether you're moseying on town or belting along an A-road, and makes the I-Pace a far more relaxing companion than, say, a Ford Mustang Mach-E.

Jaguar I-Pace image
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Our only criticism is that the I-Pace doesn’t control its mass quite as smoothly as the Q8 e-tron, exhibiting more vertical movement over crests, and swaying a little from side to side over uneven surfaces. However, it is by no means uncomfortable.

Those same movements are discernible with the optional adaptive set-up in its softest Comfort mode, but you can flick it into a firmer Dynamic mode that tightens up the body control. On the downside, doing that means larger road imperfections are transmitted through to the interior as thuds, and there’s slightly more fidget than rivals such as the Q8 e-tron and BMW iX xDrive50.

Jaguar I-Pace rear cornering

Handling

You feel the weight of the I-Pace shifting on to its outside wheels when you turn in to a bend at speed, but body lean is well controlled and the car hangs on to your chosen line gamely. True, if you push really hard it will gently run wide at the front end, but it does so in a safe, secure manner.

The I-Pace is also fun to drive – particularly for an SUV – because it feels eager to change direction and the meaty, precise steering offers a better sense of connection with the front wheels. Indeed, the only direct rival that beats it for agility is the BMW iX3.

If you really value handling and are willing to look beyond SUVs to lower-slung electric cars, you'll find that the Porsche Taycan and Tesla Model 3 corner even more impressively.

One trump card the I-Pace holds over those cars and most electric SUV rivals is that it’s surprisingly capable off road. That’s thanks to clever hill-climbing and descent systems borrowed from Land Rover, and the fact that the height of the optional air suspension can be adjusted for greater ground clearance.

Noise and vibration

As with all electric cars, the I-Pace has regenerative braking that captures some of the energy normally lost when you lift off the accelerator pedal, with the side effect that the car slows more dramatically than it otherwise would.

If you turn the regen to its maximum setting, the effect is so strong that you’ll rarely have to touch the brake pedal at all. Yet while a major downside of regen braking is that it often leads to inconsistent brake-pedal feel, the I-Pace’s brakes inspire confidence and allow you to stop smoothly. The I-Pace makes it easy to pull away without any jerkiness, too, because its power delivery is progressive.

The I-Pace is generally hushed, especially on the test cars we've tried that were fitted with laminated side windows. The Q8 e-tron and iX are even quieter though, with the I-Pace generating a little more road noise on the motorway, along with some buffeting from around the front windscreen. Depending on how vigorously you drive, the electric motors are either near-silent or make a sound like the Starship Enterprise going into warp speed.

Driving overview

Strengths Punchy performance; agile handling

Weaknesses Not as hushed as rivals; ride isn’t as polished as in some electric SUVs

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

Driving position and dashboard

By SUV standards, you don’t sit particularly high up in the Jaguar I-Pace, but even the entry-level R-Dynamic S model has 12-way electric adjustment to help drivers of different sizes get comfortable behind the wheel. As for pricier versions, they offer additional electric adjustment and allow you to save your preferred settings, but either way, the seats offer lots of support, aiding comfort over long distances.

You won’t find traditional analogue instrument dials in any I-Pace. Instead, all trim levels come equipped with a slick 12.3in digital display that lets you decide what information is viewed directly in front of you and in what hierarchy. It’s packed with features but the graphics could be sharper.

R-Dynamic S cars feature a climate control panel with touch-sensitive switches below the main infotainment touchscreen, while versions higher up the range have a second touchscreen. Fortunately, that's combined with two climate control dials, which make adjusting the temperature much less distracting than in rivals with touchscreen-only controls.

Visibility, parking sensors and cameras

Forward visibility is good, but wide rear pillars and a shallow rear window (with no windscreen wiper) restrict your view of what’s behind. It’s fortunate, then, that you get a rear-view camera as standard on every I-Pace, although the camera display can be a bit laggy and give the impression that you’re approaching an obstacle faster than you actually are.

As an optional extra, you can add ClearSight, which enables you to turn the rear-view mirror into a screen that displays the view out of the back of the car. It's based on a feed from an external camera so it’s not affected by a dirty rear window or passengers blocking the view.

Range-topping R-Dynamic HSE Black cars have matrix LED headlights that can automatically adjust their light pattern to avoid dazzling other drivers while retaining full-beam illumination.

Steve Huntingford test driving Jaguar I-Pace

Sat nav and infotainment

The upper centre console of the I-Pace is dominated by a 10.0in touchscreen, through which you can access the built-in sat-nav, phone and stereo functions. True, it’s nowhere near as big as the tablet-style screen in the Tesla Model Y, but it’s quick to respond to commands and the menus are well laid out.

There are some neat features, too. For example, the I-Pace can use each driver’s key fob to learn their preferences and ensure their usual climate control and infotainment settings are ready every time they get behind the wheel. And it helps that Android Auto and Apple CarPlay come as standard.

On the other hand, the I-Pace’s set-up is still more distracting than the fantastic iDrive system in the BMW iX3 which pairs the touchscreen with a rotary controller to help you navigate the menus on the move more precisely.

Quality

Modern Jaguar interiors haven't always used the finest materials, but the I-Pace feels classy inside. Okay, the plastics aren’t going to give Audi and BMW quality controllers sleepless nights, but they’re very impressive by the standards of electric cars generally.

The Audi Q8 e-tron and BMW iX offer a greater level of "wow factor" though, thanks to a wider range of plush materials used. And while the I-Pace feels well screwed together on the whole (the stalks that sprout from the steering column look and feel solid), there are some areas that lack that last degree of tactility. For example, the dials on the secondary touchscreen on the dash feel a bit flimsier.

Interior overview

Strengths Easy-to-use controls; all versions come with electric seat adjustment

Weaknesses Rear visibility isn’t great; the screens could have sharper graphics

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

Front space

You’re not likely to have a shortage of head or leg room in the front of the Jaguar I-Pace – even if you’re really tall. And the front seats are a good distance apart, so you won’t be banging elbows with the person next to you either.

The abundance of oddment storage is another strength. Each door bin can take a large bottle of water, there’s a useful cubby at the base of the dashboard and you’ll find an enormous storage bin between the front seats.

Rear space

There’s enough head and leg room in the back of the I-Pace for two six-footers, but they might feel a bit claustrophobic due to the relatively small windows and the way the roof curves downwards to the sides of the car. Despite those curves, there’s more space than in the BMW iX3, but the Audi Q8 e-tron and Tesla Model Y are slightly more accommodating.

Life is quite uncomfortable for a central rear passenger though, because their seats have harder backrests than the others. Plus, wide sills mean getting in and out could be easier, and there's no seven-seat option. 

Storage trays beneath the bench are a neat touch, allowing you to keep expensive possessions away from prying eyes.

Jaguar I-Pace boot open

Seat folding and flexibility

The rear seats in the I-Pace split and fold in a versatile 40/20/40 arrangement as standard, just like in the Q8 e-tron and iX3.

You can’t do anything fancier with the back seats, such as slide or recline them, but the backrests lie almost flat when folded forward. However, unlike in a Q8 e-tron or iX, you can’t fold these remotely from the boot.

Boot space

You get two boots in an I-Pace, although the one at the front is only really big enough for the charging cables. There is also a dedicated (and waterproof) space for the charge cables in a cubby under the boot floor, while the boot itself is 656 litres – enough for seven carry-on suitcases.

For comparison, the Q8 e-tron, iX3 and iX can take eight. The Model Y, meanwhile, managed a staggering 10 cases below its parcel shelf.

Still, the I-Pace's boot is a usable shape, with a wide opening and a smallish lip that helps when hauling in bulky items. Practicality is improved further by a space beneath the boot floor dedicated to the charging cable and a second storage area at the front of the car (although it's too small for even one carry-on case).

Practicality overview

Strengths Will comfortably fit four occupants; useful boot capacity

Weaknesses Space is tight for a fifth occupant; fixed rear seats

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2

The Jaguar I-Pace is priced broadly in line with the Audi Q8 e-tron and BMW iX3, but costs considerably more than an entry-level version of the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Tesla Model Y. Like all zero-emissions vehicles, it's a very tempting company car choice because it attracts an extremely low BIK tax rating.

Recharging the battery from flat with a 7kW home wallbox takes a little under 14 hours (it has a big battery, after all).

If you can find a public charger capable of reaching the 104kW maximum charging speed, a 10-80% top-up should take 45 minutes. The Q8 e-tron, Model Y and Mustang Mach-E Extended Range are all capable of charging more quickly.

Equipment, options and extras

The entry-level R-Dynamic S spec I-Pace comes with quite a lot of luxuries, including keyless entry, dual-zone climate control and ambient interior lighting.

We’d be tempted to upgrade to R-Dynamic SE Black, which brings sportier looks, a powered tailgate and heated and electrically adjustable front seats.

To this, R-Dynamic HSE Black adds matrix headlights, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, fancier leather, a suede headliner and upgraded infotainment.

Finally, there’s Sport, which has the largest wheels at 22in, thinner Performance front seats, and adaptive air suspension. If you really want air suspension, you can add it to lesser trims as an option, rather than forking out for the priciest I-Pace.

Reliability

The I-Pace came eight out of nine models in the electric SUV section of our 2023 What Car? Reliability Survey (the Vauxhall Mokka Electric came bottom). And Jaguar as a brand finished a disappointing 29th out of 32 manufacturers, beating only Vauxhall, Alfa Romeo and Cupra.

The I-Pace comes with a three-year, unlimited-mileage warranty, while its battery is covered for eight years valid for 100,000 miles. That's fairly typical, although Tesla offers eight years' battery cover without any mileage limit.

Jaguar follows Tesla's example by offering wireless software updates for the infotainment system and battery charging kit, reducing the need to visit dealers.

Safety and security

Every I-Pace comes with automatic emergency braking (AEB) and lane-keeping assistance, while traffic sign recognition, which displays the current speed limit on your dashboard, is also included.

Mid-spec R-Dynamic SE Black cars and above can be optioned with the Blind Spot Assist Pack, which adds a blind-spot warning system, adaptive cruise control to keep you a set distance from the car in front, and rear cross-traffic alert to warn you of approaching vehicles when reversing out into a road.

The I-Pace performed quite well in Euro NCAP crash tests, gaining a five-star safety rating. However, the Audi E-tron (now renamed the Q8 e-tron) was found to be better at protecting adults and children in a collision.

Costs overview

Strengths Well-equipped

Weaknesses Newer rivals have a faster charging rate; concerns over reliability


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Jaguar I-Pace charging

FAQs

  • We think this question has arisen because it skipped a model year for the US market, but the I-Pace is still very much a part of the Jaguar line-up in the UK.

  • The I-Pace has an official WLTP range of 285 miles from its 84.7kWh (useable) battery. We saw it drop to 197 miles in our winter range test but the real-world figure improves significantly in warmer weather.

  • No. You’ll have to look at the Mercedes EQB and Mercedes EQS SUV or find a used Tesla Model X to get an electric SUV with seven seats.

At a glance
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From £38,500
RRP price range £69,995 - £79,995
Number of trims (see all)4
Number of engines (see all)1
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)electric
Available doors options 5
Warranty 3 years / No mileage cap
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £140 / £160
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £280 / £320
Available colours