New Mercedes EQC vs Jaguar I-Pace
As Mercedes’ first dedicated electric car and a luxury SUV, the EQC goes toe-to-toe with the Jaguar I-Pace. Let’s see which one comes out on top...
Behind the wheel
Driving position, visibility, build quality
These two approach their SUV roles differently. The EQC has the more traditional approach: taller, with a higher driving position that affords better visibility out the front and down its horizontal bonnet. It’s easier to judge when parking than the I-Pace, in which you sit lower, unable to see its steeply sloping snout from the driver’s seat. Thicker front pillars don’t help; you find yourself leaning forwards at junctions to see what’s lurking behind them.
Both cars have relatively shallow rear screens and thick rear pillars, but salvation comes in the form of standard 360deg cameras and rear parking sensors (as well as front ones) to help out when reversing. You aren’t left living on your wits at night, either, thanks to highly effective adaptive LED headlights.
The I-Pace’s £1400 optional Performance seats have bigger side bolsters, to keep you from sliding around in corners, and 14-way electric adjustment (although the standard seats adjust 18 ways). The EQC’s driver’s seat also adjusts electrically and proves just as comfortable on a long motorway run. It doesn’t hold you as firmly in place through corners, though.
There’s plenty of adjustment to their steering wheels, behind which sit crisp, modern digital instrument panels. You can configure these to display all sorts of information – using touch-sensitive pads on the EQC’s steering wheel and fiddlier conventional buttons in the I-Pace.
Meanwhile, the EQC’s physical air-con controls are a paragon of straightforwardness. The I-Pace’s aren’t as easy to use; they’re on one of two touchscreens with its own layers of menus – although you do get physical dials for adjusting the temperature. The screen’s angle means it catches the sun, too, making it harder to read.
Both interiors appear very upmarket. In the I-Pace, this is conveyed via a cohesive mix of leather and brightwork; in the EQC, it’s delineated by a swish, avant-garde theme.
However, look closer and there are weaknesses. The I-Pace’s genuine metal trims have some sharp edges and the chromed plastics don’t feel especially premium. The EQC is let down by a cheap splodge of moulded plastic around the central air vents that flexes with the lightest of touches, plus a noticeable increase in cheap-looking, harder plastics in the rear seat area.