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Used test: Jaguar I-Pace vs Tesla Model 3 interiors

You can save between £7000 and £21,000 on these desirable electric cars if you buy them at a year old, but which is the better option?...

Jaguar I-Pace interior

Interiors

Driving position, visibility, build quality, practicality

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.

Tesla Model 3 dashboard

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 knobs on the steering wheel control almost everything; there’s barely a button in sight.

The I-Pace, meanwhile, has a more conventional layout with 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 has to be done 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 feels even better bolted together, even if it doesn’t feature such classy materials as you’d find in the more expensive E-tron.

Jaguar I-Pace rear seats

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. A self-parking function was standard, too, whereas it was part of a pricey package of options in the Model 3. Despite having many cameras for its driver assistance systems, Tesla didn’t offer a 360deg camera for parking – just a rear view, plus front and rear parking sensors.

The Model 3 is as efficiently packaged as a German’s suitcase. Its silhouette may be modestly sized by modern standards, but it’s remarkably spacious for an executive saloon. In fact, we managed to fit in 10 carry-on suitcases, using both the main boot and that beneath the bonnet.

Tesla Model 3 rear seats

We could fit only seven cases into the I-Pace’s boot (below the parcel shelf), with its tiny under-bonnet space fit only for charging cables. But while the Model 3 has a larger load area, the I-Pace has a far bigger boot aperture, making it much easier to load bulkier items into.

There’s plenty of room in the front of both cars. However, the Model 3 offers a smidgen more leg room for anyone really tall, while the I-Pace is both wider and taller.

Taller rear passengers have a decent amount of space in which to stretch out in either car, but the very loftiest will be a bit happier in the I-Pace. In addition, the Model 3 has quite a high floor in order to accommodate the big batteries underneath, so its rear seating position isn’t quite as comfy.