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Used electric SUVs: Jaguar I-Pace vs Mercedes EQC interiors

Our favourite used electric SUV, the Jaguar I-Pace, now faces an equally prestigious (and similarly priced) challenger, the Mercedes EQC. Can the I-Pace retain its crown?...

Jaguar I-Pace interior

Behind the wheel

Driving position, visibility, infotainment, build quality

The Jaguar I-Pace and the Mercedes EQC approach their SUV roles differently. The EQC is more traditional – it's taller with a higher driving position that gives you better front visibility along its horizontal bonnet. It's easier to judge when parking than in the I-Pace, where you sit lower down, unable to see the steeply sloping snout from the driver’s seat. The I-Pace's thicker front pillars don’t help, and 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 360-degree cameras and rear parking sensors (as well as front ones) to help out when you're reversing. You're not left living on your wits at night, either, thanks to highly effective adaptive LED headlights.

The I-Pace’s optional Performance seats have bigger side bolsters to keep you from sliding around in corners and 14-way electric adjustment (the standard seats adjust 18 ways). The driver’s seat in the EQC adjusts electrically and is just as comfortable on a long motorway run. It doesn’t hold you in place as firmly through corners, though.

Mercedes EQC interior

There’s plenty of adjustment to both cars' steering wheels and they have crisp, modern digital instrument panels. You can configure those to display all sorts of information, using touch-sensitive pads on the EQC’s steering wheel or the fiddlier conventional buttons in the I-Pace.

The EQC’s physical air-con controls are a paragon of straightforwardness. The I-Pace’s are harder to use because they're on one of two touchscreens with their own layers of menus, although you do get physical dials for adjusting the temperature. The screen’s angle means it catches the sun, making it harder to read.

Both interiors look very upmarket. In the I-Pace, there's a mix of leather and brightwork while in the EQC you get a swish avant-garde theme.

If you look at them more closely, though, 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. It also has more cheap-looking harder plastics in the rear seat area.

Infotainment systems

Jaguar I-Pace

Jaguar I-Pace infotainment

The infotainment system is controlled by the upper 10.0in touchscreen, which is not as sharp as the EQC’s screen and is less responsive at times. You get Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration (so you can use your phone’s software instead) plus 4G wifi and an app to see the car’s status and send information to it remotely. A punchy 825-watt, 15-speaker Meridian sound system is included with HSE trim.

Mercedes EQC

Mercedes EQC infotainment

The Mercedes EQC comes with natural-speech voice recognition, along the lines of Amazon Alexa. It’s pretty attentive, but you can also control the infotainment with the 10.25in touchscreen or (more easily when driving) a touchpad on the centre console. Like the Jaguar I-Pace system, it’s well-equipped, but it also has better graphics and responsiveness. The standard 590-watt, 13-speaker Burmester sound system sounds a tad flat.

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