The Jaguar I-PACE is the first mass-produced 100% electric SUV sold under $100k in Canada, and it’s good. But not yet as good as it will be.
Jaguar’s first all-electric vehicle is cleaning up everywhere it competes as a car or vehicle of the year nominee. Now that we’ve spent a week with the 2019 Jaguar I-Pace, we’re almost convinced it deserves all the love.
The nearly sudden arrival of the 2019 Jaguar I-PACE EV400 managed to do something that few thought would happen so quickly: all eyes left Tesla and switched over to Jaguar, if only for a short while. Well, more like 15 seconds…
Spec’d for the EV audience
In those 15 seconds of fame, the Jaguar I-PACE stunned the automotive world with its polarizing design, luxuriously appointed cabin and near 400-km range. Out of the box, the I-PACE is delivered with a 90-kWh battery unit which feed two motors, one on the front axle, and one or the rear. The system’s total output is capped at 394-horsepower and 512 lb.-ft. of torque.
The Jag’s performance is very good, and addictive, as all decently powerful EVs are. Low-end and mid-range punch are, well, punchy. Throttle response is near immediate – essentially, the I-PACE is quicker than anything we really need. In fact, this power is enough to send the Jaguar to 100 km/h in 4.8 seconds on the way to a top speed of 200 km/h.
Standard with all Jag I-PACE is Active Air Suspension which automatically lowers the car at highway speeds. It has a “normal” setting and an off-road position which, when activated, changes the I-PACE’s visual impact considerably. My First Edition tester also included Adaptive Dynamics and Configurable Dynamics. Throw in brake-biased torque vectoring, and the inherent low center of gravity of EVs and we have a handily capable handling vehicle.
If I was to comment on how the Jaguar feels on the road, I’d refer to the fact that like most EVs, all controls are effectively numb but quite accurate. The I-PACE’s “AWD” displayed an odd front axle vibration under mild throttle but thankfully, the pair of permanent magnet synchronous electric motors permit full one-pedal driving with its strong regenerative braking function.
Range-wise, the I-PACE is rated at 377 km. With temperatures ranging between 2 and -15 degrees Celsius all week, the highest indicated range displayed I noted even with a 100% charge was of 274km. This number promptly dropped to 240 within minutes given the slippery snow- and ice-covered roads.
Gorgeous styling, at a price
Visually, the Jaguar I-PACE is a complete winner. Some rear and rear 3/4 angles are questionable however I think we can all agree the modern Jag fascia looks its best on the electric SUV. Onboard, the I-PACE is unquestionably premium sporty with flare to spare. Unfortunately, the user-experience is not a soothing as the visual one.
For one, Jag’s Touch-Pro Duo system, the 10-inch and 5-inch screen combination can be slow to load and to respond to tactile commands. The on-screen controls are small and can be difficult to make out on the lower 5-inch screen. And depending on the angle of the sunlight, the display causes immense glare.
Then there are the rotary controls that if pushed, pulled or immediately turned have different functions. The idea behind this array of displays is styling but the true end result is that of occasional frustrations even after a full week of trying to figure out what’s what. All of this is not new to JLR products as they’ve been plagued with laggy, overly complex system interfaces for a long time.
Maybe, but not right now
While I would love more time with the 2019 Jaguar I-Pace (2020 model-year already available), I can’t help but to think that it’s too early to jump into one. Sadly, Jaguars are notoriously gorgeous and equally rough around the edges when it comes to dependability.
While I don’t doubt that Tata and Jaguar rigorously developed the vehicle, I’d be concerned with teething issues. As pressure mounts to stay relevant in the highly electrified and competitive future of mobility, Jaguar will have no choice but to continue to raise it game. It’s certainly on the right track.
There is value however in the $89,800 I-PACE S as it includes the aforementioned powertrain, a panoramic glass roof, Jag’s Touch-Pro Duo infotainment system with both screens, a large 12.3-inch digital instrument panel, leather, air suspension, navigation, Wi-Fi, satellite radio, and loads more. The as-tested $110,000 First Edition 2019 Jaguar I-PACE is superbly loaded but the base I-PACE S is the ideal version.
As a comparison, the base Tesla Model X is priced at $123,800 and despite what member of Musk’s cult think and say, a Tesla will never as prestigious as a Jaguar.