2019 Jaguar I-Pace quick spin review and rating



The 2019 Jaguar I-Pace is one of the latest and most important models to hit the market in the past year. Finally, we’re starting to see automakers roll out models that can compete directly with products from Tesla. The I-Pace has a striking design both inside and out and packs all of the charm you expect from a Jaguar product. So far, we’ve been impressed by the I-Pace, and we’re not the only ones. Check out our discussion on the Autoblog podcast. The I-Pace has an EPA-rated 234 miles of range, and power from the battery is sent to all four wheels thanks to a pair of electric motors.

This Caesium Blue model is in top-level HSE trim. Its $81,495 base price includes features like a panoramic sunroof, LED lighting, heated and ventilated front seats, dual-zone climate control, a Meridian audio system and air suspension. Our tester is fitted with a number of options, the most expensive of which are the $2,400 performance seats. Other options include a $570 heads-up display, $800 four-zone climate control, $250 for adjustable ambient lighting and $100 for fog lights. All in, this Jaguar will set you back $89,638 before any incentives or tax credits.

Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore: I’m really impressed with the I-Pace. It represents a new vision for Jaguar’s electric strategy, and it’s executed well in nearly all areas. The powertrain, pushing out 394 hp and 512 lb-ft of torque, is spectacular, pulling me back in my seat as I darted through lights and passed plodding traffic. Dynamic mode quickens the pulse a bit more. I didn’t notice a dramatic change in driving character, other than a slight tweak to the steering, which is light, precise and direct. It’s a good feel.

The design is striking. It looks better in real life than in pictures. Analyzing Autoblog’s galleries of the I-Pace and its preceding concept gave me pause. This thing is awkward, I mused. But in my driveway, on the street — it’s cool. It’s slightly lifted yet also chopped, creating a wedge-shaped dynamo of a four-door. Only downside: very little rear visibility. Inside, this one has a gorgeous “oyster” suede headliner, aluminum trim and handsome brown leather. The infotainment works pretty well; Jaguar is getting better at these. I wouldn’t mind a few more analog buttons, but this is easier to pick up than it appears. It’s sharp and futuristic.

The I-Pace wasn’t all great. The seat heater controls were frustrating to use, and I noticed a drop in range when I left it unplugged outside overnight in the arctic air, which was to be expected. Its range calculation dropped from nearly 200 miles to about 145, then gained some miles back as I drove.

Our I-Pace starts at just over $80,000, which is reasonable for an attractive electric car, which also has a healthy sized trunk to boot (see what I did there…). I think this is about as cool as a Tesla. It’s definitely a win for Jaguar.

Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder: I love this car! Well, except for two things, which I’ll get to shortly. First, let’s rave a bit.

The Jaguar I-Pace is super sexy. Especially in this deep, royal-ish blue color, it really turns heads on the highway and stands out in the parking lot. It has such interesting details inside and out. It’s effortlessly quick, which makes it ridiculously fun. You only get a sense of this thing’s heft when you’re on the entrance ramp to the highway, and realize it could handle even better if it were lowered and not marketed as a crossover (but then who’d buy it?). It’s super calm and quiet, regardless of the speed — unless you choose to pipe in the artificial growl under the options menu.

So, the two other things. … One is obvious before you ever get in it: It starts above 80 grand. Ours was pushing $90k with options. That’s tough to swallow.

Also, the infotainment system is super laggy. Hit a digital “button,” then wait, wait some more, keep waiting … then you get to the next menu. It takes 10 times as long as it should to find the “Driving Dynamic Audio” (that piped-in sound) option, or anything else buried two menus deep. Almost every action is excruciatingly slow. Then there was the time the infotainment screen didn’t even turn on until about a minute after I had started the car. Also, my Bluetooth audio would randomly stop, which feels like a typically Jaguar problem.

Anyway, if I were in the position of considering the I-Pace as a purchase, I could overlook that problem in order to buy such a great car, but I know I’d end up resenting it — if not regretting it — later.

P.S. Re: my tweet about charging the I-Pace at a ChargePoint station. Read the replies. They’re largely negative, citing the stated recharge time of 11 hours, which I think completely misses the point. Nobody parks at a charger for 11 hours, unless they’re at home. Level 2 chargers are for an opportunity charge at free or nearly-free prices. In this case, I added 45 miles of range over a couple hours for a little over a buck. For most people, that’s a day’s worth of driving. For me, it was a little extra juice while I did something else after a weekend of driving the thing without charging it.

P.P.S. Oh yeah, third complaint, I didn’t charge at home because the mobile charger tripped my circuit breaker, and I don’t have a Level 2 charger (yet). For what it’s worth, the mobile charger provided with the loaner did say “PROTOTYPE” on it.

Road Test Editor Reese Counts: I’ve been looking forward to driving the I-Pace for a long time. I dig EVs, and the Jaguar looks like the first competitor to give Tesla a run for its money when it comes to driving dynamics, styling and features. It’s a genuine luxury EV, and while I think that Jaguar as a whole lags behind the Germans when it comes to interior quality and design, the I-Pace is easily as good as or better than the last Tesla I was in. It drives well, too. As with any EV, there’s tons of low-end torque. I never hurt for traction in the fresh snow. The steering is quick and direct, and the suspension is on the soft side of sporty, about what I’d want from a daily driver.

Now, it’s not all hunky dory. I didn’t charge it overnight, leaving the I-Pace parked outside rather than in my garage. Temperatures dropped to the teens and we got a good bit of snow. I go outside to do my usual routine: Start the car and turn on the defroster while I clear the packed snow from the windows and roof. The I-Pace did not want to warm up. Blame the electric powertrain, as theres no engine to help feed in warm air to the cabin.

I also had a significant dropoff in range. The I-Pace is rated for 234 miles, but the cold temperature, HVAC and seat heaters dropped that down to about 160 miles after just 15 miles of driving. Not good. I haven’t had enough experience with EVs in the cold to know if this is a common issue, but it’s something to keep in mind if you live in colder climates.

Associate Editor Joel Stocksdale: Like Reese, I’ve been eager to try out the I-Pace, especially having driven a variety of electric cars and enjoying almost all of them. But I’m a bit disappointed with a few things. I found the steering to be overly light and numb, a contrast to the weighty and communicative steering I’ve experienced in other Jaguars. The ride isn’t as supple as other Jaguars, either, and bumps are accompanied by loud, booming noises. And in the handling department, it feels slightly loose and nervous in corners. On top of that, the brake pedal is soft and uncommunicative. It wasn’t encouraging me to drive harder and harder like my favorite sporty luxury cars.

But there are plenty of things I like about it. It looks excellent up close and in the real world. Even though it’s a “crossover” it’s low and slinky, just the way a Jag should be. The interior is lovely, too. I particularly appreciate the mix of real aluminum trim throughout the cabin, and the brown leather was a great accent. The acceleration of course is gobsmacking and thoroughly addictive. And while the controls and infotainment aren’t the most user friendly, it’s hard not to be a bit impressed by the multifunction climate dials with screens in them, or the motorized pop-out door handles. So overall, it’s a nice car, I just had even higher hopes for it.

Assistant Editor Zac Palmer: Photos of the I-Pace are deceiving when it comes to size. Take whatever you’re physically envisioning this car to look like, then shrink it. There’s a lot more hatchback/car to it than its SUV designation lets on. This happens to be one of the few crossovers that I can walk up to and see over the roof, no problem — for reference, I’m 5’10”. Even if the styling makes it nearly impossible to see out the rear window, I like that Jaguar has kept the vehicle’s footprint compact. Excellent packaging of the electric powertrain under the floor, along with a long wheelbase leads to a surprisingly spacious interior, too.

It’s also a hoot to drive. Any stab of the throttle at legal speeds leads to a jump forward so instant I’d compare the stomach feeling to that of a rollercoaster accelerating. Dynamically, this Jag is everything you’d want out of a car its size. There’s little to no body roll when you turn it all to the stiffest setting, and the steering is quick without being touchy. Nothing about the driving experience feels like an SUV.

My biggest gripe about this car is about a problem Jaguar created for itself. Trying to adjust the heated/cooled seats or climate control settings is a unique battle. The fan speed, temperature and seat controls for any individual are all accessed through a single knob that pushes, pulls and twists. If this already sounds too complex for basic climate controls, you’re right, it is. You toggle which of the things you’re controlling by pushing or pulling, and there’s enough of a delay sometimes that you’ll end up turning the fan on high when what you really wanted to do was turn the heated seat on. Just chalk it up to Jaguar getting too cute with something that doesn’t need to be cute. Perhaps you’ll get used to it after spending enough time adjusting things.





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