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Used test: Jaguar I-Pace vs Tesla Model S

Two premium electric cars do zero-emissions battle as we line up a Jaguar and a Tesla. You can save a packet on both by buying used, but which should you go for?...

Jaguar I-Pace vs Tesla Model S fronts

The Contenders

Jaguar I-Pace EV400 SE

List price when new £69,495
Price today £40,000 
Available from 2018-present

On paper, the I-Pace has the power, prestige and official range to compete with the Model S.

Tesla Model S 75D

List price when new £70,105
Price today £42,000
Available from 2012-present

The Model S is incredibly fast, yet it can still manage long journeys on a single charge. 

*Price today is based on a 2018 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing

Ask a group of people what their dream car is and, now more than ever, you'll likely hear the word Tesla at least a few times. The popular US manufacturer knows a thing or two about pioneering tech, performance and zero-emissions motoring – and this has certainly garnered the world's attention. 

The electric car to really kick the company into overdrive was the Tesla Model S. It arrived back in 2012 with impressive power and range, and Tesla has been improving it ever since.

Jaguar I-Pace vs Tesla Model S charging

Do the changes up to 2018 make such a car a good used buy, though? Well, here we're pitting a Model S of just that vintage against a Jaguar I-Pace of the same age and similar price to find out. It's set to be a tough one, because the I-Pace is a champion of luxury, and the EV400 variant featured here has more power than the Model S 75d it faces. 

So, which of these desirable electric cars deserves a spot on your driveway? Read on to find out. 

Jaguar I-Pace rear


Performance, ride, handling, refinement

With a motor driving each axle, making them four-wheel drive, both cars deliver neck-snappingly impressive acceleration from a standing start. Despite having a power advantage (394bhp versus 362bhp), the I-Pace is just pipped by the Model S to 60mph, although it begins to claw back some ground above 50mph. The truth is, you’ll find the performance on offer in both cars exhilarating.

The difference in handling is more obvious. The Model S has light but accurate steering that makes stringing together a series of sweeping corners effortless and even quite enjoyable, and the car always shifts its not-inconsiderable weight in a composed and measured manner.

Tesla Model S rear

The I-Pace handles tidily, too. Its steering is sharper and heavier, giving the impression that it’s the sportier car at low speeds. However, it's also taller and narrower than the Model S, and suffers more body lean in faster corners and feels more reluctant to change direction in the first place. The I-Pace runs out of grip earlier as well, although both offer brilliant traction out of corners.

Both cars are very comfortable, although around town you feel more of bumps in the Model S due to its firmer air suspension. Above about 40mph, though, it actually feels more settled than the I-Pace, which tends to fidget around a little more. Engine noise, meanwhile, is almost entirely absent in both, but the Model S is quieter on the whole.

Jaguar I-Pace vs Tesla Model S front cornering

The I-Pace’s brake pedal is far from ideal. There’s quite a bit of travel before anything happens, and then the pedal suddenly becomes sensitive. The response also changes as the regenerative brakes try to harvest energy to top up the battery, so you never really get used to it. In the Model S, it’s easier to brake smoothly, because the pressure you put on the pedal feels more closely matched to how quickly you stop.

What about range? Well, according to our Real Range tests, the Tesla Model S will go for 204 miles from a full charge while the Jaguar I-Pace will go for an impressive 253 miles. That’s less than its official range of 298 miles, admittedly, but still one of the best ranges of any electric car we’ve tested so far. 

Next: What are they like inside? >>

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