New Tesla Model 3 vs Jaguar I-Pace

After three years of hype, Tesla’s cheapest electric car, the Model 3, has finally arrived in the UK. Jaguar’s I-Pace will show whether it’s a damp squib or a spark of genius...

Jaguar I-Pace interior

Behind the wheel

Driving position, visibility, build quality

Getting into the Model 3 for the first time can be a confusing experience, especially if you’re a bit of a traditionalist. For starters, to unlock the doors, you have to tap a smartcard on the central window pillar, and then on an area just in front of the central armrest to turn the motors on. Thankfully, there’s a simpler solution: you can download an app on your phone that turns it into a digital key. Provided it’s on you, the car’s doors will unlock as you approach. The app can also remotely operate the climate control and even honk the horn to help you find the car. 

Jaguar offers a conventional key fob with keyless entry and start, as well as a slightly more limited app.

Once you’re inside the Model 3, you’ll notice that the interior is about as minimalist as the dress code at a naturist’s birthday party. The huge central touchscreen and two rotary knobs on the steering wheel control almost everything; there’s barely a button in sight. 

Tesla Model 3 interior

The I-Pace, meanwhile, has a more conventional layout employing a number of buttons and dials. This makes it easier to use in some respects, because even adjusting the steering wheel and door mirrors in the Model 3 can be done only via the touchscreen and steering wheel controls.

Both interiors look suitably posh in their different ways, and there’s no doubt that the Model 3 has the sturdiest build quality of any Tesla to date. However, the I-Pace seems even better bolted together, even if it doesn’t feature such classy materials as you’d find in the more expensive E-tron.

The sharply angled windscreen pillars of the Model 3 also inhibit your vision at some junctions, but the view out the back is markedly better than in the I-Pace; its sloping roofline makes looking in the rear-view mirror like peeping through a letterbox. At least you get a rear-view camera (or a 360deg camera as an option). A self-parking function is standard, too, whereas it’s part of a pricey package of options in the Model 3. Despite having many cameras for its driver assistance systems, Tesla still doesn’t offer a 360deg camera for parking – just a rear view, plus front and rear parking sensors.

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