2019 Jaguar I-Pace SE EV400 Road Test, Review
Sir William Lyons formed Swallow Sidecar Company in 1922, on his 21st birthday. That company became Jaguar Cars Limited, and was known for Sir Bill’s catch cry, “Space, Grace, and Pace”.
Since then, Jaguar has been synonymous for luxury and innovation, but things were tough.
Over the years, there have been many, many owners. It wasn’t until Indian car giant, TATA, bought Jaguar Land Rover that the company range went through expansion the likes of which the company had never before seen.
SUV models were limited to sister company, Land Rover Range Rover,
Buyers have turned their backs on Jaguar’s mainstay, the large, luxury, family sedan. The British car maker had to move with the times, so the executives put their heads together over a boozy late night pub meal, and lo, it was good.
Jaguar saw a market for a premium SUV, and the “Pace” range emerged. F-Pace and E-Pace have been good sellers, with F-Pace being the company’s top model. Jaguar’s 6 model range sold 221 units in January, a 53% increase on the same month last year.
I-Pace is the latest model, expanding the range to 7. It is an SUV-like car that runs purely on batteries. That’s right, Jaguar now has an EV, and isn’t it a cracker?
As well as looking cool, I-Pace has won a fistful of European awards.
Jaguars have muscular lines, and I-Pace is no different.
Its looks were inspired by the CX-75 supercar. A low roof and high waist have a slight whiff of Range Rover Evoque about it too. Unlike Evoque, I-Pace is curvaceous, like all big cats. It is a concept car that stepped straight off the paper and in to production.
The front is aggressive and in-your-face, with a coupe-like side profile. The rear end looks to hunker down on its 20” wheels, ready to pounce.
Aluminium has been used extensively to make I-Pace light and rigid.
Flush door handles extend only when required and are operated by buttons on the handle itself, or from the key fob, or the interior lock buttons. Unlocking the driver’s door only, prevents other doors from being accessed by malcontents. Using any of the other door handles unlocks all doors.
The front end is dominated by the “growler” emblem and a grille inspired by petrol engine cars. This grille is not required to cool the engine, but it is not just there for decoration, oh no. Instead, it directs air to cool the batteries, and for the heat pump climate control. Active vents open and close as needed.
LED Matrix headlights and LED taillights look great. They are not just there to look pretty at night.
Their low power consumption makes them essential when extending battery life is considered. Headlights include double J-Blade daytime running lights, and a majestic indicator that sweeps in the direction of the turn.
An electric tailgate with integrated spoiler looks good, but the extreme slant takes away some of the practicality you might want from an SUV. Who cares, it looks fabulous.
Interior design can be hit and miss but I-Pace feels cosy and inviting, yet crisp and modern.
Sadly, most of the high-tech stuff is where you can’t it. None the less, the cabin provides tantalising glimpses in to what lies under the skin.
You want electric cars to look and feel different, and I-Pace certainly does that.
Most notable is the floating centre console. It houses climate controls on a discrete touch screen flanked by large rotary dials. The multi-function dials work with the screen to navigate all climate functions. There is even a setting to precondition your cabin while still plugged in to power.
Say you’re parked at a roadside charger on a blazing Australian summer’s day. The cabin will rise quickly to over 70c. You can set the car to turn on the air conditioning to chill the cabin to a brisk 19c without draining any power from the battery. It will also precondition the batteries which need a certain temperature to operate efficiently.
There are additional screens at the top of the centre stack, and in front of the driver where the speedo and tacho would normally live. This is all topped off by an HUD which is projected on to the windscreen, fighter-jet-style.
Seats are power adjusted and upholstered in either Windsor leather or optional Kvadrat. The latter is from a Danish design house, and is a wool-blend with recycled technical suede cloth. Front seats are heated, of course. Use it sparingly if you value your range.
Stitching on dash and doors matches the seats and gives I-Pace the look of a finely tailored suit without being prissy or precious.
Ingenious stowage consists of cubby holes, pockets, and hidden spaces throughout. The centre console controls sit on buttresses that support the climate controls. Here you’ll find the drive modes on one side, and gear positions on the other. There is no hand brake or gear lever. That would be far too ordinary.
Instead, the automatic parking brake is activated in Park, or from a small button, or when I-Pace is switched off. Your jag will never roll off down the hill because you’ve been careless.
Gears are push buttons. Although this has been done before, it always looks good.
Rear seats have a place for laptops underneath. There is no drive shaft, so the rear space feels positively capacious. You might expect the sloping roof to make rear head room a bit tight, but the seats are low-slung to keep things usable.
Surfacing looks and feels luxurious without being a Downton Abbey pastiche.
There is simply far too much to go in to any detail. There is a full list of features on our test car HERE.
I-Pace is so clever, that most of what it does, the driver will never be aware of, and that is as it should be.
I-Pace has all the old-world luxury and technology you get in a normal old jag, with a generous smattering of bespoke EV-goodies.
For example, the Audio Vehicle Alert system warns pedestrians, particularly the blind, of your presence. In reverse, it is joined in reverse gear, by a second tone which sounds like a 1950’s submarine sonar, but far more discrete. It whoops gently as you reverse.
Phone apps monitor and control car functions regardless of where you happen to be. There is a tracking feature too, and it will even tell you when your charging is finished. All you need is phone signal.
A clever glass roof keeps almost all of the glare and UV rays out. That’s mighty handy, as there is no interior blind. It still feels quite hot to touch when in full sun, and I’d prefer to omit it and save a few bucks and quite a lot of weight.
Parking assistance is provided by a 360° multi view camera, sensors, and warning chimes. If all that sounds too hard, I-Pace can park
Many of the best attributes are the ones related to safety. It can be summed up in just these few words: I-Pace is constantly looking out for the occupants. It wants to keep them safe and mobile in as much comfort as possible.
Sound is superb. Meridian has been used in Jaguar Land Rover vehicles for some time. The tone is rich and deep, with a luxurious surround that cocoons listeners in an envelope of joy.
One of the most useful additions in recent months is the inclusion of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It allows the driver to use Hey Siri when the phone is connected through USB and displays on the centre stack. Not only is it handy beyond belief, but it is a matter of safety. Cameras have been installed in New South Wales which can look inside cars to see drivers using phones. CarPlay makes that redundant. You can handle Music, maps, messaging and many other apps using your voice.
Messages are read out to your, and you answer the message simply by speaking.
We demonstrated in a Tiguan HERE
Drive and Engine
Power from the 90kwh battery pack flows to all four wheels (all-wheel-drive). Drive shafts form part of the electric motors of which there are two, one fore, and one aft.
You simply select which direction you want to drive in, and off you go. Buttons for D, R, N and P fall easily to the left hand (note: left hand model shown in pictures. This is swapped for RHD cars).
Drive direction and drive modes are found on the buttresses supporting the climate control panel. It adds that touch of ultra-modern you want in an EV (electric vehicle). It is where the future meets the past, but that not is as weird as the drive gets. No, no, no.
Once you’ve come to terms with the apps within the infotainment system, you drive I-Pace just like any other car. With the drive modes set to Normal, you get along at a cracking pace. Stabbing your foot to the floor brings the full torque to bear.
If just about rips your face off, and if that wasn’t enough, there is a Sports mode. This directs 600Nm of torque directly to the rubber and the effect is brutal. Anything not secured will be hurled rearward. That gets old fast.
Most of the time you’ll gently press the pedal, and I-Pace then moves as delicately as a feather. The system is clever and recovers every bit of power possible. Around town you hardly ever need to touch the brake such is the force of regeneration.
Even the steepest of hills are no match for the thirst with which I-Pace sucks back the energy. It stores as much as it can for use later. It saves energy with clever air conditioning too. You learn to drive merely by lowering and raising the accelerator as is the case with most EVs, including hybrids.
You quickly settle in to the rhythm of EV ownership, and that means being economical with energy.
Ride is firm and steering sharp, though not perhaps as sharp as you might expect. There is as slightly disconnected sensation which feels strangely right and only adds to the ethereal experience.
The battery pack weighs around 600kg which you really feel in corners. It is down low under the floor which keeps the centre of gravity in the best place for handling. Even so, the suspension sometimes struggles with the combination of height and weight.
At no stage do things get untidy, and if they were to wrong, I-Pace has nannies to sort you out. You just have to trust the car. You have to believe it will go where you point it.
Around town, I-Pace feels nippy, and capers around like a goat on a rock.
On the highway, you can set and forget the cruise control. You are then encapsulated in your own private 110kph Zen bubble.
The cabin is so eerily quiet and calm. The Meridian sound system plays discretely in the background via the pro touch infotainment setup.
You occasionally get just a touch of hum from the tyres just to let you know you’re moving.
Active steering keeps you centred in the lane too, and the cruise control won’t let you get too close to the car in front. The driver instruments will display the speed of the last sign it saw. It asks you if you’d like to do that speed and if you then select the up or down arrow on the steering wheel, I-Pace will set the cruise control for you.
We noticed people of a certain age stopping to admire I-Pace, especially parked. It is a rare car, with only 6 being sold so far.
Range varies hugely depending on driving style and environmental conditions so it is worth keeping a careful eye on the dash. You set out on a 5k round trip yet use 50km of range. It would be interesting to see just how the system figures out how far you can get. How would it be on a longer trip if you set out with a full charge, but despite best efforts fall short? The navigation will optimise the trip for better range, but it falls short of reassurance.
Charging: You’ll plug it in whenever you can. Jaguar suggests plugging it in when at home as I-Pace will use power monitoring itself while you sleep.
Chargers can be installed at home and at the office, but there is a secret when out and about. The car will show you the nearest public charge points but is by no means as accurate as the phone apps for charge station providers. Phone apps show a vast array of choice. Read about it HERE
If you’re popping down to the shops, find one of these charge bays in public car parks and shopping centres. I used them for the week and was not charged a zack, nor a brass razoo. Not even a shekel. It was completely free. A canny driver will take advantage of the 2 hours free but beware, these are not the 100kw fast chargers.
They promise rapid public charging from 0-80% in just 40 minutes(2), with 15-minutes charge giving 100km range
The most you’ll get is 50km per hour of charge on most public chargers, to an approximate 480km maximum.
I-Pace updates itself with wireless over-the-air software, and the AI tailors the car to the driver. You almost don’t have to be there. There is something slightly bereft about feeling surplus to your own requirements.
Almost all of the rates quoted by EV retailers are based on fast charging which is annoying to say the least. To prevent range anxiety, use every opportunity to top up.
A battery pack is made up of over 400 cells. Each can be individually replaced for around $2,000, and a full replacement is around $60,000 plus fitting. The pack has an 8 year/160,000km warranty and triggers if the batteries drop below 70% efficiency.
This might sound frightening, but other EV batteries have come down in price, so it is safe to assume I-Pace will too.
- Sharp looks
- Crisp clean luxurious cabin
- Complete technology overload
Not So Good Bits
- Charging might be a hassle.
- Range can change dramatically without warning
We have to get used to life without petrol, and that’s a fact.
Just as our great grandfathers had to make do with limiter opportunities to refuel, early adopters of EVs will be doing the same. There is a price for being green
The nay-sayers whine about batteries taking more from the environment to make, than they save. That is simply not true. Even if it was true, we are running out of million-year-old dinosaurs to burn. You can offset your charging with green credits, and some energy retailers off EV plans when charging at home. The best time to charge is off-peak where the price can be as much as ¼ of the price of peak hours.
You are limited for long distance travel, but as most people don’t do any long-distance travel, that is a moot point.
People in strata have limited access to charging but that is about to change. As battery powered transport becomes more popular, units blocks country wide will have ports installed.
This is an exciting time, and I would be more than happy to own an I-Pace.
Facts and Figures: 2018 Jaguar I-Pace SE EV400
- Engine: 2 X electric motors producing 296kW/600Nm
- Transmission: single Speed
- Warranty: 3 years/ 100,000km
- Safety: Five stars (tested 2018)
- Origin: UK
- Price: from $132,200 (as tested ($140,856)
Author: Alan Zurvas
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