2019 Jaguar I-Pace Review

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2018
The Car Connection
2018
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
June 14, 2018

The 2019 Jaguar I-Pace tackles the Tesla question with a direct challenge: it's a better-looking Model X rival with a more traditional kind of prestige attached.

The 2019 Jaguar I-Pace marks a moment in time. When the first copies find a home in American garages this fall, the I-Pace will be the first real challenger to the Model S and Model X. And then, Tesla’s control over the future narrative of electric-car adoption will end.

We give it an extraordinary 9.4 out of 10, which makes it the highest-rated vehicle on The Car Connection to date. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The I-Pace will be joined soon enough by an Audi Q6 e-tron, a Mercedes EQ electric SUV, a Porsche Taycan EV, perhaps even by a smaller Tesla Model Y crossover. For now, it’s the first electric SUV delivered by a traditional car brand. It’s a car charged with more than electricity: it’s charged with the politics of climate science, too.

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In its favor, the 2019 I-Pace does almost everything the Model X 75D can do, except seat more than five passengers and look ungainly. It’s long on brilliance, from its vast and finely furnished cabin, to its 240-mile-range battery, to standard all-wheel drive, to what might matter most to some electric-car sniffers: its prestige badge.

It starts with a rakish crossover shape, a swank and elongated wagon body that disguises some of its battery-powered SUV height with tall wheel wells and oversized details. The I-Pace wraps that skin tightly around a tall, wide passenger space paneled with digital screens and swaddled in twin-stitched leather (or “vegan” leather). Interior space is just shy of remarkable, and snug-fitted performance seats, all kinds of storage, and a panoramic glass roof pitch the I-Pace into space-wagon territory.

The 2019 I-Pace rips off 4.5-second 0-60 mph times in traditional Jaguar form, but how it gets there is the transformative moment. A 90-kwh battery feeds twin electric motors to generate 394 horsepower and 512 pound-feet of torque. The motors split and spin power to all four wheels, with the ability to vary the feed depending on wheelspin. The I-Pace’s swift acceleration and power-tapdance ability has some drag applied in the form of 4,784 pounds of curb weight, but it’s a remarkable vehicle that can tramp through creek beds and slip through F1 hairpins as it probes the edges of its performance envelope.

The EPA hasn’t rated its electric range but Jaguar estimates it at 240 miles. With 100-kw quick-charge support, the I-Pace can take 40 minutes to re-acquire an 80-percent charge for its battery pack–or it can take 13 hours to get up to full when plugged into a Level 2 household outlet.

Jaguar doesn’t talk about semi-autonomous driving with the I-Pace though it offers active lane control and adaptive cruise control. All versions come with power features, a twin-screen infotainment system with range-informed navigation, and an excellent 5-year, 60,000-mile warranty. With a base price in the low $70,000 range, a First Edition I-Pace can push near $90,000.

8

2019 Jaguar I-Pace

Styling

The 2019 Jaguar I-Pace casts a rakish crossover presence.

Planted next to sexy E-Types and sturdy, boxy Land Rovers, the 2019 Jaguar I-Pace’s “spaceship” design is more than a departure. Revolution? Maybe.

Its elongated wagon body and warmly technical interior earn an 8 here.  (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Like the rest of Jaguar’s stable, the I-Pace uses flowing and organic lines outside—but the I-Pace uses those to mask its techno-wizardry underneath. The face may be broadly familiar, but the grille and front haunches of the I-Pace are draped with dramatic curves expected from the folks that brought us the D-Type.

The body sides are wave-shaped, rising and falling around the compact dimensions, before reaching up toward the practical, but almost truncated, hatchback.

Inside, the I-Pace bucks a minimalist, future-forward approach for structures that will be more familiar to Jaguar drivers—perhaps maybe not EV drivers. A conventional gauge display is accompanied by a 12.3-inch touchscreen for infotainment and lower touchscreen for climate controls and vehicle functions. No floating dashes, pared bamboo, or sustainably sourced and edible plastics to be found.

Unlike any car or SUV from the automaker, the I-Pace replaces Jaguar’s rotary drive selector with three silver buttons—for reverse, neutral, and drive—and a black button for park. They flank a lower touchscreen for climate controls, which sounds more complicated than it is. It’s modern, but hardly “Star Trek” stuff.  

From behind the wheel, the I-Pace carefully keeps away from anything too abstract. Aside from a few indicators and minus the murmur of an idling engine, the I-Pace is all but indistinguishable from the rest of the Jaguar lineup.

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10

2019 Jaguar I-Pace

Performance

Slightly behind in overall drive range, and bulky to its core, the 2019 Jaguar I-Pace has breathtaking acceleration and grip.

The Jaguar I-Pace poses all the right conundrums of future-car performance. Its battery pack cranks out blistering 0-60 mph times and its torque-vectoring all-wheel drive doles out power as precisely as a Porsche.

It’s all delivered with a grunting SUV curb weight and a high center of gravity that will become the new normal as battery cars become more common, or until battery cars find their weight-loss miracle cure.

Until then we’re still convinced it deserves a 10 for performance.  (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The I-Pace dumps gasoline for big batteries and motors. Under its aluminum skin, twin electric motors twist out 394 horsepower (294 kilowatts) and 512 pound-feet of torque as they draw power from a 90-kwh lithium-ion battery pack that makes up the floor. The batteries alone weigh 1,329 pounds, a third of the car’s 4,784-pound heft.

Though it’s nearly as heavy as a Land Rover Range Rover,Jaguar estimates that the I-Pace will accelerate up to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. Top speed rises only to 124 mph, as that mass and shape and battery preservation take their tolls.

Power splits to the four corners in equal doses, and the motors themselves are identical. Jaguar does not program in variety, no Sport or Ludicrous mode to be found. It’s still an urgent matter when the accelerator pedal hits the floor. The I-Pace leaps to attention and whips off uphill mountain passes with supercharged surge and only a slim but visceral noise.

Acceleration can be delivered with high or low regeneration, in which the car uses its motors to recapture energy that might be lost deceleration. In high-regen mode, one-pedal driving can push back with up to 0.4g of force. In low-regen mode the I-Pace drives somewhat more like a conventional gas car, especially when the driver toggles an e-switch to enable artificial transmission creep.

During a 200-mile-plus road test, we stayed almost entirely in high regeneration, and found it easier to thread the I-Pace through narrow roads. Extending battery life aside, the high-regen one-pedal driving means much less use of the conventional friction brakes, which have a long pedal stroke, and sit much higher off the floor than the accelerator.

The I-Pace even has some mild off-road ability. It can ford through 19.7 inches of water, the same as a Range Rover Evoque, and can scrabble up gravel roads and dusty inclines. Ground clearance can be as little as 5.6 inches, and with a 16-degree approach angle, it’s not going over any major outcroppings or craggy obstacles without a dire need.

Jaguar I-Pace ride and handling

Its solid battery floor grants the I-Pace perfect weight distribution, and does what it can to help the all-electric crossover SUV carve up backroads. Mass and height still are its biggest enemies, but the I-Pace does remarkably versatile work between paved tracks and dirt tracks.

Electric power steering, a dual-wishbone front suspension, an integral-link rear suspension, and air springs give the I-Pace the luxury swagger it needs. The I-Pace’s steering tacks on its own hefty feel, but the actual curb weight is less an issue in everyday driving than its width: it’s no worse than any conventional crossover SUV, with the benefit of low-mounted batteries giving it better roll stability.

The I-Pace leans into corners and lets its air springs soak up some of the impacts that might drill into the cabin from its massive wheels and tires. We haven’t driven a car with the standard 18-inch wheels, but even strapped with 22-inch, 255-series Pirelli P Zero tires, it rarely stumbled and thudded like a live-axle, gas-powered sport-utility would. It’s reassuring that a car with a next-generation powertrain doesn’t feel so different from a gas-powered SUV, as to be unrecognizable.

Race tracks reveal the future’s Achilles heel. We’ve rumbled on F1 tracks with performance-badged SUVs powered by gas, and the I-Pace has better weight and power distribution well in its corner. It’s still a linebacker that strains to cut through hairpins with cornerback moves. On a challenging high-speed circuit in Portugal, where we first sampled it, the I-Pace soared down a front straight at more than 125 mph. Its motors and friction brakes dug deeply just to slow it enough to slide through the ensuing corners, torque-vectoring pushing power through the axles to counter the massive, rapid-fire weight transfers. The very idea of an electric SUV runs counter to the track-car ethos of being light and lean, but the I-Pace handles that conundrum with some skill—not to mention heaps of understeer.

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10

2019 Jaguar I-Pace

Comfort & Quality

The 2019 Jaguar I-Pace proves out the packaging wonders that battery-electric cars promise.

Despite a length just fractions of an inch greater than a compact XE sedan, the Jaguar I-Pace interior feels as large as a full-size XJ sedan—and its 4,800-pound curb weight feels closer to a Range Rover.

A sumptuous cabin with excellent interior space and very good seat comfort rates a 10 here. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The I-Pace measures in at 184.3 inches overall, and rides on a 117.7-inch wheelbase. That puts the I-Pace into Tesla territory, although the British utility vehicle has only two rows and five seats against the five, six, or seven passengers of the California carmaker's two- or three-row Model X. The I-Pace comes in longer between the wheels versus a Model X (116.6 inches) but shorter overall by more than a foot.

Jaguar fits sport or performance seats in the front of the I-Pace, in a wide passenger space with 39.9 inches of head room and 40.9 inches of leg room. The standard seats have good bolstering and at least 8-way adjustment, and the flat expanse of foot room welcomes size-12 shoes. The base synthetic leather becomes real leather on upper trims, and the fronts seats get more adjustment, heating, and cooling. Still, we much preferred the performance seats bundled into an expensive option package: they offer superior upper back and shoulder support.

They also have a clever horizontal slot that doubles as a grab handle for rear-seat passengers to slip in back. They won’t need much help: the I-Pace has wide door openings to make the best use of its 38.1 inches of head and 35.0 inches of leg room. The only direction in which it snugs around passengers is at the roof, where the panoramic glass comes close to six-foot-tall passengers.

Small-item storage abounds, though we’re not fans of the front console’s bin that sits under some of the driving controls. Smartphones can rest behind and under the shift buttons, or between the console’s grab handles that rise ahead of a deep console. Big pockets in the doors hold large water bottles, and laptops can be stored out of sight under the rear seats.

The I-Pace boxes in 25.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear fold-down seats, or 51 cubic feet behind the front seats. A shallow tray under the cargo floor contains the battery charge cable.

The perception of quality is high in the initial, high-trim I-Pace SUVs we’ve driven. Stitched leather warms the dash, small panels of wood trim make sure heritage isn’t chucked as being completely uncool. It’s intensely foible-free and fits its pricetag.

Finally, Jaguar pipes in programmed noise to the I-Pace so drivers and pedestrians alike can be aware of its movement, but not every driver will love the warbling, whuffling Jetsons-style whoosh. We suggest ringtone-style signature noises any driver can select: make ours start with a Motown drumroll.

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2019 Jaguar I-Pace

Safety

The I-Pace hasn’t been crash-tested yet.

With no crash tests yet performed by the NHTSA or the IIHS, the 2019 Jaguar I-Pace has no safety data. Until it does, we abstain from rating its safety. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

However, the I-Pace’s future looks bright in this regard. Electric vehicles have some inherent safety advantages due to their construction. Like the very highly rated Tesla Model X, the Jaguar I-Pace has a deck of well-reinforced batteries under its floor. We’re inclined to believe the I-Pace will fare as well as the Model X when it’s tested.

Other systems will lend a hand. The I-Pace comes with a rearview camera and parking sensors. All-wheel drive and torque vectoring lend a strong sense of handling stability. All models have low-speed automatic emergency braking and LED headlights, as well as active lane control.

Spend more, and Jaguar adds high-speed emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, and a head-up display.

We’ll revise this section when more data is published.

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9

2019 Jaguar I-Pace

Features

The wealth of features in the 2019 Jaguar I-Pace includes a useful infotainment system, high-end audio, and adventurous trim choices–but no more juice.

When it goes on sale later this year, the 2019 I-Pace will cost $70,495 to start, before applicable federal and state tax breaks. Available in S, SE, HSE, and First Edition trims, the final cost for a fully decked I-Pace can approach six figures.

With a wealth of standard features and options, a capable infotainment system, and an excellent warranty, the 2019 I-Pace merits a 9 for features, missing out only on a point for value. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Every I-Pace will come with power features, 8-way power front seats, ambient interior lighting, and air suspension, LED headlights, keyless start, and a huge single-piece panoramic roof, but smaller than the one in Jaguar’s XF Sportbrake.

The infotainment system pairs a 10.2-inch upper screen and a 5.5-inch lower screen with navigation that offers range-based overlays for charging and destinations, wireless internet hotspot with 4G LTE onboard data, HD and satellite radio, Bluetooth with audio streaming, three 12-volt outlets and six USB ports, and a 12.3-inch digital gauge display. It also connects with Amazon’s Alexa to deliver information on charge state and other car functions by voice: through Alexa, the I-Pace can tell owners if the car’s windows are down, for example.

Jaguar plans over-the-air updates for the car’s infotainment system as well as other drive systems.

Each I-Pace also comes with an extensive warranty that covers 5 years/60,000 miles bumper to bumper, and covers the battery for 8 years or 100,000 miles, to a battery condition of 70 percent of its initial charge capacity.

Beyond those features, the base I-Pace S has 18-inch wheels, synthetic leather upholstery, and a 380-watt sound system. The $76,845 I-Pace SE adds leather upholstery, 20-inch wheels, a power tailgate, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, and 10-way power front seats.

The $81,495 I-Pace HSE adopts richer leather, 18-way cooled front seats, heated rear seats, a gesture-controlled power tailgate, an 825-watt sound system, a surround-view camera system, and adaptive cruise control with steering assist. A First Edition, price from $86,895, gets a full leather interior, four-zone automatic climate control, a head-up display, adaptive dynamics and adaptive surface response (a sort of low-speed cruise control for low-traction situations), ash wood trim, and a heated steering wheel.

Nearly every feature offered on any model, other than some trim choices, can be had even on the base vehicle.

No amount of money will change the battery size—at least in its launch year. Unlike the Tesla Model X, the 2019 Jaguar I-Pace offers just one battery size and power output.

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10

2019 Jaguar I-Pace

Fuel Economy

The 2019 I-Pace has an estimated 240-mile battery range.

While the EPA hasn't yet certified its electric range, the 2019 Jaguar I-Pace should be rated at roughly 240 miles, by company estimates.

On our scale a battery-electric vehicle with a range of more than 200 miles is a perfect 10 for fuel economy. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The Jaguar I-Pace draws powers from a pair of electric motors, one per axle, which in turn draw electricity from a 90-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack located under the cabin floor.

The I-Pace comes with a charging cable that links its 7-kilowatt onboard charger to household 110-volt or 230-volt outlets. Jaguar expects most owners will install a charging station at home, however.

On a Level 2 home charger, the I-Pace will need 10 hours to reach 80-percent battery charge, and nearly 13 hours to reach 100 percent. The company doesn’t expect owners will deplete their batteries in regular use.

As for high-speed charging, the I-Pace can replenish its battery to the 80-percent mark in under 90 minutes on a 50-kw fast charger. That time drops to about 40 minutes on a 100-kw fast charger, although those stations may be hard to find at first. Jaguar may upgrade the I-Pace’s charging capacity to handle 150-kilowatt input in the future, on par with the coming Audi Q6 e-tron.

The I-Pace’s navigation system can plot efficient routes and can predict battery charge states at waypoints. It has an arrival mode that locates charging stations near destinations.

Jaguar does not plan to offer free charging for the 2019 I-Pace, but its dealers have begun to upgrade showrooms to offer high-speed charging.

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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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$69,500
MSRP based on S AWD
 
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9.4
Overall
Expert Rating
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Styling 8
Performance 10
Comfort & Quality 10
Safety N/A
Features 9
Fuel Economy 10
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