Road test: Jaguar I-Pace 2019 review

Moving Well | Tim Nicholson | Posted on 20 July 2019

Tim Nicholson road tests the sophisticated new Jaguar I-Pace crossover.

  • Thumbs up

    Engaging EV performance, fuel cost savings, ride quality, striking design, point-to-point driving range.

  • Thumbs down

    High entry price, expensive options, rearward visibility, lack of local charging infrastructure.

  • Perfect for

    Cashed-up early adopters looking to jump into the EV market, buyers keen to stand out from the usual premium crowd.

  • Verdict

    The I-Pace has changed the game for Jaguar and it’s a true rival for Tesla’s Model X. It’s pricey but the benefits far outweigh the negatives.

Front view of a white Jaguar I-Pace SUV parked in front of beach at sunset


Jaguar beat all of its European rivals to the punch by launching the battery electric I-Pace crossover in December last year. It rolled into Australian showrooms ahead of a slew of high-end electric SUVs including the Mercedes-Benz EQC that lands in October this year, the Audi e-tron that arrives early next year, and BMW’s iX3 that is expected later in 2020.

The I-Pace EV400 SE is offered with an impressive 470-kilometre driving range on the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Testing Procedure (WLTP), which is seen as a ‘real-world’ testing regime. But more on the range later.

Jaguar’s retiring head of design, Ian Callum, has done a masterful job with the I-Pace. As well as nabbing World Car of the Year 2019, it also won World Car Design of the Year. It is a true crossover: part SUV, part hatchback, part sedan. It’s a big car in the metal and wider than it looks in photos.

Inside, the front seats are supportive and the dark leather with contrast white stitching is classy. The infotainment system is uncomplicated, the head-up display is clear and the lane-keeping aid is well calibrated, quickly recognising lane markings and ensuring the car stays centred in the lane. The traffic-sign recognition, however, is a little slow to pick up speed-limit signs. 


The second-row bucket seats render the middle seat all but useless, but there is loads of space in the rear. Even the panoramic sunroof (a $3380 option) doesn’t impact head room.

The I-Pace’s high hip point makes it easy to get into and out of. The boot swallows an impressive 656 litres of luggage, while the front trunk – or ‘frunk’ in EV language – is where the charging cable lives.

Visibility is poor through the tiny rear windscreen. Thank goodness for the reversing cameras and sensors. The I-Pace’s automatic parking system worked perfectly.

In terms of on-road performance, the I-Pace impresses. Acceleration from a standing start is incredibly quick. During our time with the car, more than one driving companion is left gobsmacked by the performance.

There is not a lot of feel to the steering, which is weighted on the heavier side and doesn’t feel as sharp as some.

At more than two tonnes, the I-Pace is a heavy car – blame the battery pack – and it feels it on the road. However, it displayed excellent levels of grip, thanks in part to its all-wheel drive setup. Despite its big 20-inch wheels, the ride quality is outstanding. Some particularly poor road surfaces and more than one huge pothole couldn’t shake the I-Pace. 

Close up of Jaguar I-Pace dashboard showing how much battery charge is left
Interior of Jaguar I-Pace passenger and driver seats


A couple of late-braking moments also tested its exceptional braking power. The I-Pace’s regenerative braking helps recover energy for the battery and it comes with a high or low setting. While Jag says the I-Pace comes to a complete stop using only the accelerator via the regenerative system, we found that it continued to roll slightly at very low speed. 

Unsurprisingly, the only sound penetrating the cabin is road noise on rough surfaces, but other than that it’s blissfully quiet. 

But what is it like to live with? Given the current lack of public charging infrastructure in Australia, EV owners should really have a charging wallbox set up in their home. Jaguar has partnered with Jet Charge for home charging units that cost about $1800, including installation.  

However, not every home in Australia has a garage, or even a car space. And apartment buildings are only now being built with EV charging in mind. Retrofitting an older apartment or office building is logistically challenging and expensive. 

Having access to a charging setup at home and at work makes owning an EV much easier. Without these, you are forced to rely on public chargers that can be few and far between, depending on where you live and work. Thankfully there are several operators working on charging solutions, including ChargeFox, which is rolling out an ultra-rapid charging network that will run from Adelaide to Brisbane. 

During our week with the I-Pace, we charged at home using a standard household plug, which takes significantly longer than a wallbox. Charging to 80 per cent takes about 40 minutes if using a 100kW DC fast charger and it takes more than 10 hours when using a 7kW AC charger. 

Back view of a white Jaguar I-Pace SUV driving along highway beside high concrete barrier


After a run from the Bellarine Peninsula to Melbourne, a trip of about 100 kilometres, the battery had depleted from 317 kilometres of range to 220 kilometres, which stacks up. 

The maximum EV range can be a bit confusing. On two occasions, the I-Pace showed as fully charged, but the range stated was just 317 kilometres – well off the claim of 470 kilometres. Jaguar Australia told us that the range adjusts as you drive it and as the car gets used to your driving style. The maximum range is achievable and we may have reached it if we had more time with the car. 

There’s also the question of where the energy comes from. Is it really a green car if you’re charging using coal-based energy? Solar panels on your house can help with this, and green energy options are also available.

At $130,200 before on-roads, the I-Pace is expensive – especially with all of the options ticked on our press car, which added $10,000 to the price. Jaguar, like many European marques, should really include more equipment as standard at this price.

But it is a wildly impressive car. The driving experience is immensely enjoyable and proves undoubtedly that electric cars are not boring. It’s a revolutionary car for Jaguar, and for Australia. If you are considering a premium car, it might be time to think about the future.

Jaguar I-Pace EV400 SE

PRICE

Price as tested: $140,856 plus (estimated) $12,000 on-road costs.
Model range: $119,000 to $140,800 excluding on-road costs.

STANDARD SAFETY

Autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and speed limiter, driver-fatigue monitor, lane-keep assist, reversing camera, tyre-pressure monitor, traffic-sign recognition. 

STANDARD FEATURES

LED headlights and tail-lights, 10-way electric memory front seats, dual-zone climate control,
leather sports seats, power tailgate, keyless entry and start, 10-inch infotainment screen and 12.3-inch
digital instrument display.

DRIVETRAIN

Motor: Electric motor and 90kWh lithium-ion battery.
Transmission/drive: Integrated transmission and electric all-wheel drive.
Power: 294kW. Torque: 696Nm. Tyres: 20-inch, six-spoke alloy wheels.

FUEL

Official range: Approximately 470km WLTP.
Consumption: 21.2kWh/100km.
CO2 emissions: Zero emissions.

WARRANTY/SERVICES

Five-year, 200,000-kilometre warranty. Five years’ free servicing.