Jaguar I-Pace long-term test: report 1

When Jaguar launched the fully electric I-Pace, it had few rivals, but that’s certainly not the case any more. So, is it still worth considering? We’re living with one to find out...

Jaguar I-Pace front cornering

The car Jaguar I-Pace EV400 R-Dynamic HSE Black Run by Steve Huntingford, editor

Why it’s here To see if Jaguar’s electric SUV still feels like the future, or if it’s had its day

Needs to Combine its sleek looks with dynamics, luxury and range worthy of a prestige electric car

Mileage 1480 List price £77,495 Target Price £77,495 Price as tested £84,035 Test range 200 miles Official range 261 miles Options fitted Firenze Red metallic paint (£735), Dynamic Pack (£3300), four-zone climate control (£630), Clear Sight rear-view mirror (£625), wireless device charging (£350), Secure Tracker (£340), illuminated metal treadplates (£305), premium interior lighting (£205), and twin front cupholders with cover (£50)

25 February – New family cat

At the start of his day off, Ferris Bueller famously points out that life moves pretty fast. However, while that’s true, it’s got nothing on the rate at which electric cars are being launched.

In 2018, when the Jaguar I-Pace went on sale, it was competing exclusively with a couple of models from Tesla. But just a handful of years later, most manufacturers have at least one electric car in their line-up, and some a hell of a lot more than that; Audi and BMW offer five apiece, for instance, and Mercedes has six.

Jaguar I-Pace with Audi Q8 e-tron and BMW iX

On the other hand, despite being an electric vehicle (EV) pioneer, Jaguar has so far failed to capitalise on its early advantage.

It got close to putting a zero-emission successor to the Jaguar XJ saloon on sale, before ultimately deciding against it. And we know that the brand is planning to introduce a wave of new electric cars from 2025. However, in the meantime it’s left the I-Pace to carry the (battery-powered) torch alone. So, is this up to the task, given that it's no longer in the first flush of youth?

Well, that’s what I’m going to be finding out over the next few months, because I recently took delivery of an I-Pace.

More specifically, I’ve got the R-Dynamic HSE Black version, which sits on the third rung of a four trim ladder, and comes loaded with luxuries: the leather sports seats are heated, cooled and adjust every which way electrically, while the rooflining is trimmed in suede – or at least something that does a very good impression of it.

Jaguar I-Pace red rear

Then there’s the long list of driver aids that are included as standard, including adaptive cruise control with steering assist to take the strain out of long journeys; blind spot monitoring to help make up for the somewhat restricted over-the-shoulder visibility; and a plethora of cameras and sensors to ensure that parking when you arrive is a doddle.

And I’m pleasantly surprised by the infotainment system. Yes, it’s accessed via a touchscreen, which isn’t ideal, but it’s far more responsive than the one in early I-Paces, and requires less clicks to get to the things you want. For example, where previously you had to press a minimum of three icons to pick a radio station from a list of options, now it’s just the one, as it should be.

As for optional extras, the most significant – and expensive – that I’ve gone for is the £3300 Dynamic Pack.

Jaguar I-Pace infotainment touchscreen

This brings a system called Adaptive Surface Response, which is said to detect what sort of conditions are under the wheels and setup the I-Pace to suit. Plus, you get a rear spoiler, 22in alloy wheels instead of the standard 20s, and air suspension that automatically lowers the car at speed to improve the aerodynamics, and consequently the range.

Ah, range. All I-Paces come with an 84.7kWh (usable capacity) battery, which is officially good for 261 miles in my car. However, so far I’ve found around 200 to be more realistic.

That’s slightly less than I got during the winter months in the BMW iX3 that I ran last year, but more than the Audi E-tron Sportback, which I had prior to that, managed. Given how much the ranges of both of those cars improved when the weather warmed up, though, I’m hopeful that the I-Pace will offer closer to 250 miles come the summer.

Jaguar I-Pace right driving

The other reason for specifying the air suspension is for what it does to the ride. This is freakishly good given those steamroller-sized wheels fitted to my car, smothering most bumps, whether you're pottering around town or belting along an A-road.

And yet despite this forgiving nature, I reckon the I-Pace is also one of the most entertaining electric SUVS to drive, thanks to fine body control and precise steering that has just the right amount of weight.

It’s early days, then, but so far I’m reminded of another Ferris quote: If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.

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