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 feels like a product Apple might have created.
As an electric car and an SUV, it’s right on trend, competing in two sectors of the car market that are growing fast. 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 also used for the BMW iX3).
Instead, it created a car that 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.
Now, though, things are very different to when Jaguar first launched the I-Pace. Back then, it had only the much more expensive Tesla Model X as a direct electric SUV competitor. However, today the list of rivals includes the Audi Q8 e-tron, the BMW iX3, the Genesis GV60, the Mercedes EQC and the Volvo XC40 Recharge (to name just a handful).
So, how does the Jaguar I-Pace stack up against the best electric SUVs? To find out, read on, because 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.
And remember, whether the I-Pace takes your fancy or you decide to buy another model entirely, make sure you get it for a great price by searching the discounts on our New Car Buying service.
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 4.5sec. That’s slower than the monstrously rapid Performance variants of the Tesla Model 3 and the Tesla Model Y, but plenty to pin you back in your seat.
An 84.7kWh (useable) battery gives the I-Pace an official range of 261 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 around town or belting along an A-road, so makes the I-Pace a far more relaxing companion than something like the Ford Mustang Mach-E.
Our only criticism is that the I-Pace doesn’t control its mass quite as smoothly as the Audi 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 setup 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, whereas in Comfort mode the I-Pace can absorb impacts better than most rivals.
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 running 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 precise steering has just the right amount of weight. Indeed, the only direct rival that beats it for agility is the BMW iX3, although 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 the Tesla Model 3 corner even more impressively.
One trump card that the I-Pace holds over these 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 over obstacles.
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.
Wind and road noise are generally well contained, especially on the test cars we've tried that were fitted with laminated side windows. 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.
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 part-electric adjustment to help drivers of different sizes get comfortable behind the wheel. As for pricier versions, these offer fully electric seats and allow you to save your preferred settings, but either way, the seats look great and offer lots of support, aiding comfort over long distances.
You won’t find traditional analogue instrument dials in any I-Pace. Instead, all trims levels come equipped with a slick 12.3in digital display that lets you decide what information is displayed directly in front of you and in what hierarchy.
R-Dynamic S cars feature a climate control panel with touch-sensitive switches below the main infotainment screen, while versions higher up the range have a second touchscreen here. Fortunately, this is 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.
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 Apple CarPlay and Android Auto 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 or the MBUX system in the Mercedes EQC, because those complement their touchscreens with a rotary controller (BMW) or a touchpad (Mercedes) to help you navigate their infotainment options on the move.
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.
There’s a strong ‘wow factor’, too, thanks to the fancy graphics on the various digital displays and the fact that the steering wheel is wrapped in soft-grain leather. However, while the stalks that sprout from the steering column look and feel solid, the dials on the secondary touchscreen in the centre console feel a bit flimsier.
Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
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.
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 the Tesla Model Y are slightly more accommodating.
Life is quite uncomfortable for a central rear passenger, though, because their seat has a harder backrest than the others. Plus, wide sills mean getting in and out could be easier, and there's no seven-seat option.
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. Trays beneath them are a neat touch, allowing you to keep expensive possessions away from prying eyes.
Jaguar had no need to reserve space for an engine at the front of the I-Pace, enabling the passenger compartment to be positioned unusually far forward.
This hasn’t quite resulted in the outstanding space you might expect, though. The 656-litre boot can accommodate seven carry-on suitcases, while the Q8 e-tron, the iX3 and the Mercedes EQC 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 boot at the front of the car (although it's too small for even one carry-on case).
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, the BMW iX3 and the Mercedes EQC, but costs considerably more than entry-level version of the Ford Mustang Mach-E and the Tesla Model Y. Like all zero-emission vehicles, it's a very tempting company car choice because it attracts an extremely low tax rating.
If you cover lots of miles or can’t charge at your home or office, remember that all Teslas give you access to the brand’s industry-leading Supercharger network. I-Pace buyers will have to rely on regular public chargers on longer trips.
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. However, 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. And, finally, there’s Sport, which has the largest wheels at 22in, thinner Performance front seats, and adaptive air suspension.
If you really want that last feature, you can add it to lesser trims; you don’t have to fork out for this priciest of I-Paces.
The I-Pace came second from bottom in the electric car section of our 2022 What Car? Reliability Survey (the Tesla Model S was bottom). And Jaguar as a brand finished a disappointing 26th out of 32 manufacturers, below Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche and Tesla, but above Ford.
The I-Pace comes with a three-year unlimited-mileage warranty, while its battery is covered for eight years valid for 100,000 miles. This is fairly typical, although Tesla offers eight years' battery cover without any mileage limit.
Where Jaguar follows Tesla's example is in offering wireless software updates for the infotainment system and battery charging equipment, 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.
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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 lineup in the UK.
The I-Pace has an official WLTP range of 261 miles from its 84.7kWh (useable) battery. We saw this drop to 197 miles in our winter range test, but the real-world figure improves significantly in warmer weather.
Thanks to the traction advantage of four-wheel drive and a combined output of 394bhp, the I-Pace is a quick car, getting from 0-60mph in a mere 4.5sec.
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.
|RRP price range
|£69,995 - £79,995
|Number of trims (see all)
|Number of engines (see all)
|Available fuel types (which is best for you?)
|Available doors options
|3 years / No mileage cap
|Company car tax at 20% (min/max)
|£140 / £160
|Company car tax at 40% (min/max)
|£280 / £320