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Used electric SUVs: Jaguar I-Pace vs Mercedes EQC
Our favourite used electric SUV, the Jaguar I-Pace, now has an equally prestigious challenger, the Mercedes EQC. Can the I-Pace retain its crown?...
Jaguar I-Pace EV400 HSE
List price when new £74,995*
Price today £52,005**
Available from 2019-present
The used electric luxury SUV to beat, with an impressive range and a plush interior.
Mercedes EQC 400 4Matic AMG Line Premium Plus
List price when new £74,610*
Price today £54,044**
Available from 2019-present
Slightly more powerful than the I-Pace and with a high level of equipment
* Before the £3500 government grant available in 2019
** Prices are based on a 2019 model with average mileage and a full service history using the What Car? Valuation tool and are correct at the time of writing
Waiting for 'early adopters' to get bored and sell their unwanted electronics is a great way to save money, as we know from second-hand mobiles and laptops. You just have to accept you won't get the most up-to-date tech.
That's not the case with used electric vehicles, though – especially the I-Pace. Despite being a few years old, it's still one of the best for range and our Real Range tests show it can go further than most other electric cars, including premium brand ones.
The Mercedes EQC is another large, luxurious electric SUV stuffed with cutting-edge tech and benefitting from a bit more power to boot. But which of these two-year-old used buys is your best bet? Let's find out.
Performance, ride, handling, refinement
Let’s start with the important bit. No, not how fast they go, but how far. The I-Pace managed 253 miles in our Real Range test, which simulates a mix of town, country and motorway driving, but the EQC’s smaller battery means it runs out of juice at 208 miles. That’s still a useful amount but, in today’s post-G-Wiz world, nothing particularly special.
Which is quicker, then? Well, if you haven’t tried an EV yet, you’ll be shouting “Gee whizz, that’s mega” as the EQC pings off the line instantaneously before striding from 0-60mph in 4.9sec – and the I-Pace is even quicker. Its nose lifts like a powerboat’s bow when you put your foot down, thanks to the kind of thrust that would make your gran go giddy. It’s astounding, especially when you consider that it weighs more than 2.2 tonnes.
The EQC weighs nearly 2.5 tonnes, and you can feel that heft when you corner hard. There’s a lot more body lean and the front tyres quickly break into chirrups as they cry "enough" and the nose runs wide. When you’re not in a hurry, the EQC handles ably, steering deftly around town and accurately enough on faster, flowing roads.
By performance car standards, the I-Pace feels hefty too. Still, its handling is impressive, with quicker, more feelsome steering, more grip and better balance. That encourages you to throw the I-Pace into bends with more conviction, and when it starts pushing wide at the front, simply lifting off the accelerator causes it to tuck its nose faithfully back to the apex.
So the I-Pace is more thrilling to drive, but does the EQC ride more comfortably? In some ways, it does. Around town, for instance, its softer springs offer more forgiveness over pernicious potholes than the firmer I-Pace. It’s fairly settled on motorways, if not quite as steady as its rival, but along undulating roads it bounces around in a rather uncontrolled manner. It’s reminiscent of being on the Waltzer at a fairground: you’re continually moving up, down and side to side. That narks you after a while.
The I-Pace isn’t perfect, swaying about more than a luxury saloon such as the BMW 5 Series, but it’s nowhere near as nauseating for passengers as the EQC. To be fair, our test car had optional air suspension (a £1100 feature you can’t get on the EQC), but it also had a faintly ridiculous 22in wheel upgrade (£500). We know from previous experience that, on smaller wheels, the I-Pace rides even more smoothly.
The EQC’s outstanding feature is, without a doubt, serenity. It’s unbelievably quiet. The motors operate as though they’re suspended in a vacuum, while there’s next to no tyre roar at 70mph and just a faint, unobtrusive flutter of wind noise. Even its brakes – often a problem on EVs because of the need to harvest electricity to recharge the battery when you slow down – are predictable 90% of the time. The only disturbance is some boom from its suspension over bumps.
The I-Pace’s brakes are grabbier, making it harder to come to a smooth stop, and while wind noise is no worse, there’s more noise from elsewhere. The enormous optional tyres generate a louder drone at higher speeds, while its motors whine more as you accelerate and decelerate – not enough to annoy, but you might find yourself humming the ethereal intro to Ghost Town by the Specials and wondering, “Why has that popped into my head?”
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