Jaguar I-Pace overview
With so many new electric models being launched in the past few years, it's easy to forget some of the more established players. One example is the Jaguar I-Pace, which has been given a mid-life update to help keep it fresh in buyers' minds.
The I-Pace is something of a unique EV, since it doesn't share its running gear with any other model, and in terms of size it sits between the E-Pace and F-Pace in Jaguar's SUV range. However, its shape is more crossover than all-out SUV.
The I-Pace's unique looks and a spread of prices mean it has a variety of electric SUV rivals, with cars such as the Ford Mustang Mach-E and BMW iX3 matching it for driver appeal, while the larger BMW iX, plus the Mercedes EQC and Audi e-tron offer similar upmarket interiors. Here we're testing the updated I-Pace in the newer Black Edition spec, which adds some gloss black exterior enhancements, including black 20-inch alloy wheels.
The Jaguar I-Pace model range
Irish pricing for the Jaguar I-Pace starts at €74,940, which is a high level to kick off at, but not surprising when you consider that all models come with the same high-performance 400hp, twin electric motor set-up. This means four-wheel drive is standard across the range, while a large 90kWh battery pack is located under the car's floor. This is good for a WLTP range of up to 470km, depending on spec, while a 100kW charging system is fitted to make the most of fast DC charge points.
The range starts with the standard I-Pace, which features 18-inch wheels (which tend to disappear in the car's wheelarches, but do provide a soft ride), LED lights front and rear, auto wipers, keyless entry and starting, two-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors and a camera, a full suite of safety kit and Jaguar's latest Pivi Pro infotainment system. The latter is the main update for the I-Pace (beyond a lightly tweaked nose with a new grille), and features a far more intuitive 10-inch touchscreen system that includes navigation with live information services, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The standard car is well equipped, while the Black Edition here adds some glossy detailing. There's a black grille surround and black 20-inch alloy wheels, while panoramic glass is added, plus premium LED headlights with a new daytime running light signature.
Jaguar also offers option packs that add even more kit. These are called S, SE and HSE and add different wheel designs and various levels of exterior lighting, leather seat trim and interior sound systems, among other luxuries. Go for the top-spec HSE and you'll be looking at a price tag of €103,302, while options such as active or air suspension, a cabin air purifier or a digital rear-view mirror can bump up the price further.
If you're looking to buy on finance, then Jaguar Ireland can get you behind the wheel of an I-Pace Black Edition for €1,075 a month, but head to its website for all of its latest offers.
The Jaguar I-Pace interior
Jaguar's updates to the I-Pace are subtle, but that's no bad thing, because even after four years on sale, this electric SUV still cuts a dash, especially in Black Edition trim. Overall the I-Pace is smaller than the firm's combustion-engined F-Pace, but thanks to its dedicated EV layout and long wheelbase, interior space is comparable to that of the larger SUV.
That's not to say it's outstanding, though. The updates haven't changed anything about the interior beyond the infotainment system on the dashboard, and while cabin comfort is good and space up front decent, rear space is somewhat disappointing. There are two sets of ISOFIX points on the back seat if you need them, while the centre console has been shaped so that there's foot space for the middle seat passenger. It still feels cramped, though, while we can't fathom why the cabin floor isn't completely flat, when theoretically there's just a large battery pack located under there.
One area where the I-Pace excels is with boot space. There's 656 litres on offer in five-seat mode, while the seat backs fold in a 40:20:40 split to give you various configurations. In addition there's storage space in the nose for charging cables, but cabin storage could be better - the layout of the Pivi Pro infotainment system takes up space that could be used for this instead.
The system itself has a three-menu screen layout, but while the graphics are clear, it's not the most intuitive set-up to use. The climate controls are separate from the main screen, so they're easier to use on the move, but the I-Pace doesn't offer the kind of configurability that is offered by some rival infotainment systems.
The Jaguar I-Pace driving experience
While the I-Pace has an SUV appearance, it's surprisingly sporty from behind the wheel, and is one of the best-handling EVs currently for sale. The driver's seat can be set low, but there's still a decent view out, while the wheel itself has a surprising amount of feedback that boosts driver engagement.
There's plenty of grunt from the 400hp powertrain, so 0-100km/h takes a faintly ridiculous 4.8 seconds - certainly faster than any premium SUV really needs to be - while the way the electronics manage the power distribution shows the I-Pace in a great light. Put your foot down out of tight corner and the weight transfer to the back of the car seems to lift the nose, causing the fronts to pull and slip. Then the rear motor quickly kicks in and it's almost as if the I-Pace enters a four-wheel drift, even without turning off the traction control. Basically it's big fun, and more involving than the BMW iX.
Our Black Edition model featured optional air suspension (€1,765 extra), which can alter the ride height depending on which mode you're in, including a lowered 'access' setting and a raised set-up for off-road driving.
While the I-Pace feels sporty, this comes at the expense of refinement. It's certainly quiet enough at low speeds, but the faster you go, the more tyre roar there is entering the cabin. It's a bit of a disappointment when rivals EVs can cruise in silence.
In terms of efficiency, the Jaguar I-Pace isn't that great a performer. During our time with the car (admittedly a lot of which was at the motorway speed limit) we saw an average of 28kWh/100km from the car's trip computer, which is around 6kWh poorer than the official consumption figure. Still, that big battery means that we managed a range of around 300km, even in chilly weather.
Our verdict on the Jaguar I-Pace
It's no longer a front-runner in the electric SUV class, but there's still a lot to like about the Jaguar I-Pace. It has unique looks and it's a great-handling EV that puts plenty of newer rivals to shame with its sharp handling. The mid-life updates are quite subtle, but do enough to keep the I-Pace in contention, although if you need an EV with good space for the family, then we'd advise that you try before you buy.