The Jaguar I-PACE adds some sparkle to the EV market

The garage door goes up, the Jaguar I-PACE quietly glides in, the children are in the back seat squabbling, “shoes off; go and wash up” you yell as you are lugging the shopping into the house. The next morning you put the garage door up, get in your I-PACE and there’s only 15% left in the battery, <insert swear word here>! You forgot to plug the EV in!

I was impressed by the I-PACE when I first sat behind the wheel thanks to the clean steering wheel and dash design. On start-up the I-PACE is quite a noisy EV and it has piped ‘engine’ noise under hard acceleration, which kind of defeats the purpose of the acoustic laminated windscreen and front windows that are helping to keep noise out.

The I-PACE powertrain provides 294kW and 696Nm of usable instant torque and thanks to All Wheel Drive traction; it can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 4.8 seconds. Although this is quick, it’s not ‘plant you in the back of your seat quick’ like some other EVs on the market offer.

But for me the issue of battery charge was a concern for my week with the I-PACE due to its lack of real-world driving range. The claimed range is 470km, but for my week I used energy at a rate of 3.6km/kW and therefore out of a 90kW battery I would have achieved a range of just 323km. To express the energy usage another way I used 27.9kW/100km in the I-PACE compared to 24.4kW/100km in the Tesla Model X or 13.6kW/100km in the Hyundai Kona.

Charging the I-PACE at home using a domestic socket I calculated it charged at around 1.8kW/hour or approximately 6.5km/hour. For faster at-home charging you can install a recommended Jaguar wall box (approximately $2,000 installed) and this will charge at a rate of up to 40 km per hour. For charging on the go I-PACE owners receive in the purchase price five years’ free, unlimited charging on the Chargefox ultra-rapid charging network that uses a CSS (Combined Charging System) Type 2 connection. I-PACE owners can use the Jaguar app to show them the status of the charge at any time, and also send them a notification when the battery is full.

On the road, the ride comfort of the I-PACE is really good whether you are in Comfort or Dynamic drive mode thanks to the Adaptive Dynamics ($2,405 option) which monitors vehicle movements and adjusts the car to suit. Dynamic Drive mode is configurable as well if you have ticked that particularly option box ($2,002) and you can customise the drive motor, steering and suspension between Comfort and Dynamic settings.

Both of the front seats have 10-way power adjustment to find your ideal driving position and three memory positions to save it; plus they are heated. The rear seats are also heated and this whole package is a $1,612 option. The Sienna Tan Windsor leather seats looked, smelt and felt lovely, but they were already showing signs of discoloration after only 3,500km on the odometer and the plastic around the cup holders already have bad marks on it. Having white plastic on the step where you get in the car is not practical especially in the back where children are getting up into the SUV. The I-PACE also comes standard with a light-coloured headlining, which easily shows dirty hand marks and if you want to opt for lovely ebony suede cloth it will cost an extra $2,496.

The Touch Pro Duo infotainment system comprises of a 10” touchscreen at the top and a lower 5” touchscreen with multi-function dynamic dials and I really liked that these screens did not show finger marks. The infotainment system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and can be a web browser if a SIM card is installed. You get voice control, which works well for making phone calls, but like other Jags it can’t be used for entering a sat nav destination in Australia.

A cool feature of the I-PACE is its smart climate control and when this is activated it only blows air towards the seats that have passengers, but at times I was unsure if it was on or off? The climate control info is displayed on the lower screen and you can adjust what you want here, with the other two options being media info or phone info.

In addition to standard infotainment options the upper touchscreen displays various EV related information. You can display a diagram of your drivetrain either showing blue or green depending on if you are using battery or regenerating it and you can select between high/low for the level of regenerative braking you prefer. Most importantly there is a screen with the percentage battery used and projected range.

In-cabin storage options have been well thought out in the I-PACE, for example you can completely remove the cup holder under the arm rest, so the space becomes large enough for a medium sized handbag or you can cover the cup holder with a removable cover and have another storage ledge. Under the arm rest there are two USB ports, one 12V outlet and a micro-SIM card slot. Underneath the lower screen is another storage ledge for smart devices and two more USB ports.

You can raise and lower the I-PACE from the centre console thanks to optional electronic air suspension ($2,002), which might be handy to help your young children or elderly parents to get into the SUV. The air suspension also improves aerodynamics by automatically lowering the car by 10mm when travelling over 105km/h for extended periods of time

The rear seats have enough head and leg room for two adults to sit comfortably. There are two ISOFIX/three rear tether child seat restraint points. The centre seat can be folded down as an arm rest; it has a shallow storage cubby and two shallow drink holders, so a bottle could easily be knocked over and the drink bottle holder in the door cubby is only suitable for smallish drink bottles. The air vents are in the B-pillar only with air speed control and behind the centre console there are two USB ports and one 12V outlet.

The rear boot is a decent size and would fit a small pram and the weekly shop and the rear seats have a 60/40 split folding mechanism if greater storage space is required. There is one 12V outlet in the boot and under the boot floor is an area to store your charging cable, but no spare tyre (you do get a tyre repair system). My I-PACE didn’t have gesture opening boot and the front boot aka a ‘froot’ is small and not all that useful.

Standard active safety features on the I-PACE SE include blind spot assist, high-speed emergency braking, lane keep assist, rear traffic monitor and traffic sign recognition with adaptive speed limiter. My I-PACE was fitted with the Driver Assist Pack ($3,970 option), which included adaptive cruise control with steering assist and a 360o surround view camera, but both of these features are not up to the current standard of other vehicle manufacturers.  

The Clear Exit monitor on the rear door.

An additional EV safety measure on the I-PACE is a soft external beep to warn nearby pedestrians that you are reversing. Another safety feature I liked was the Clear Exit monitor that warns rear passengers of potential hazards when getting out of the vehicle by a warning light next to the door handle. All I-PACE models have six airbags including dual frontal, side chest-protecting and side head-protecting (curtain) airbags. They have a 5-star ANCAP safety rating (2018) with an Adult Occupant Protection Rating of 34.8 out of 38 (91%) and a Child Occupant Protection rating of 39.9 out of 49 (81%).

All new Jaguar I-PACE models are backed by a free 5-year service plan, 5-year Roadside Assistance and 5-year/200,000km warranty plus an 8-year battery warranty. I drove the mid-range I-PACE SE and this starts at $135,070 plus on-road costs and as tested it was $157,346 plus on-roads.

Like many things, charging your EV would become a habit, but what can’t be avoided in the I-PACE is the lack of real-world range, which takes the shine off the positive attributes of this stylish EV. Visit your preferred Jaguar Retailer to learn more about the special offers currently available on selected new and demonstrator Jaguar I-PACE vehicles.

ProsCons
Stylish interior designPoor real-world battery range
Smart climate controlNo separate climate control for rear occupants
Five years’ free charging with ChargefoxSmall front boot

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.