Jaguar probably doesn’t get the credit it deserves for delivering the first full-electric vehicle from an established luxury manufacturer. Edgy styling, and clever design, means it still looks the part a few years after its original launch. Trent Nikolic heads off on a road trip in the 2022 Jaguar I-Pace EV400 SE AWD to take the luxury cat out of its comfort zone.
- Sharp styling stands out on the street
- Performance and range are both excellent
- Cabin quality and ergonomics
- Jaguar options add serious weight to the bottom line
- Some tech should be standard at this price point
- 100kW intake charge rate already bettered by competition
Jaguar certainly wasn’t late to the electric vehicle party. And, like the Harley-Davidson Livewire electric motorcycle, you could be forgiven for being surprised when Jaguar made the first move in terms of established luxury brands by dipping a genuinely serious toe in the water.
From launch almost four years ago now, the Jaguar I-Pace was an impressive luxury EV offering that hinted at where the British manufacturer was looking in a future sense. Sleek styling, clever packaging, and that bespoke sense of luxury that Jaguar buyers expect, all hinted that the I-Pace was primed to appeal to future-focused fans of the leaping feline, and improvements and revisions along the way have only served to make the I-Pace more attractive.
As for where it sits, and what its competition is, think more Audi E-Tron or Mercedes-Benz EQC than Tesla Model 3 or Polestar 2. Even though there’s a tendency to simply group electric vehicles together, the I-Pace should be judged against its contemporary luxury peers.
I love the exterior styling, but that’s personal, and some of you might not. I’d say it was between 80 to 90 per cent in favour of the people we spoke to while testing, and plenty of them knew exactly what it was as they approached. That’s a strong reference to the brand equity that Jaguar has in a styling sense.
The clever door handles retract back into the body for a sleek appearance, the subtle tailgate spoiler looks the part, and premium LED lighting leaves a strong visual signature. The quiet badging that doesn’t scream EV is a neat touch, and the gloss black, six-spoke 20-inch wheels work beautifully with the black paint finish. Let us know what you think of the styling in the comment section below.
Jaguar’s two-model I-Pace range is an easy one to understand. Both AWD and both fully electric, there’s an EV400 SE as we’re testing here, and the top-of-the-range EV400 HSE available. Pricing for the model we’re testing starts from $142,538 before on-road costs, while the HSE starts from $155,550 before on-road costs. You can see in the table below, the optional extras added to our tester take that price to $153,338 before on-road costs.
What would we like to see standard? Almost certainly the head-up display and 3D camera system, which are both excellent, as well as the home charging cable and wireless charging pad. I reckon at this price point, you could argue that features such as those should be standard. As to whether there is anything key that is missing, I don’t think so. The I-Pace feels like a well-specified car. Or SUV. Or hatch. Or coupe.
Regardless of what you think it should be called, let’s head out of the city in search of country charging to test the I-Pace out of its natural comfort zone.
|Key details||2022 Jaguar I-Pace EV400 SE AWD|
|Price (MSRP)||$142,538 plus on-road costs|
|Colour of test car||Santorini Black|
|Options||Panoramic roof – $3580
Head-up display – $1040
3D surround camera – $1000
Black exterior pack – $990
ClearSight rear-view mirror – $850
Privacy glass – $850
12-way heated electric memory seats – $620
Premium cabin lighting – $510
Home charging cable – $400
Cabin air filter – $360
Wireless charging pad – $350
20-inch gloss black wheels – $300
|Price as tested||$153,388 plus on-road costs|
|Rivals||Mercedes-Benz EQC | Audi E-Tron | BMW iX|
Most people we spoke to during our week of testing were attracted initially by the exterior styling, which is understandable.
It’s fair to say the I-Pace isn’t universally considered beautiful, although most punters liked the exterior styling. And yet, it was the cabin they were most keen to have a look at it.
Makes sense, too, when you think that the experience of sitting in and driving a Jaguar has always been the primary focus of what has always been a sporting marque. First up, then, the driving position, which is spot on, features plenty of adjustment for all drivers, and is comfortable thanks to the quality of the front seats.
Even when you’re behind the wheel out on the open road for long stretches, the I-Pace’s cabin is as cosseted an environment as it is comfortable. In terms of what it looks like, though, the I-Pace might be more understated than you expect – especially given the exterior styling.
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Is it a ‘real’ Jaguar inside? Unequivocally. Your seat position behind the wheel feels more Land Rover than it does Jaguar given the visibility forward and sideways. It’s only the rear three-quarter view that is slightly compromised by the sloping angle of the roof.
Everything about the I-Pace’s cabin reflects the best of what Jaguar/Land Rover offers at the upper end of its styling spectrum. The lack of engine noise means it’s near silent inside, even at speed, which only serves to enhance the premium sensation from behind the wheel.
The space you have, either up front or in the second row, is the result of two things. First, it’s undeniably clever packaging, but second, it reflects the freedom a design team has with an electric vehicle. There’s only a tiny ‘transmission’ tunnel through the centre, which we assume is there for strength through the floor pan, which delivers an almost flat floor.
Our tester, with its fixed panoramic glass roof, has a beautiful sense of light and air inside the cabin, and the tinting on the glass meant the sun wasn’t roasting our scones on a hot day, either. Jaguar describes the trim as light oyster grained leather sports seats with ebony/light oyster details, and it’s one you’d have to assess on a case-by-case basis. By that, I mean that if you have young kids, this colour might be one to sidestep.
Storage space through the cabin is excellent. For comparison, despite some describing it as an SUV, the diminutive hatchback body hides a boot that is almost twice the size of an already useful VW Golf. There’s little doubt that the I-Pace’s cabin is functional and effective. The fact it just so happens to be an electric vehicle is its party trick.
|2022 Jaguar I-Pace EV400 SE AWD|
|Boot volume||656L seats up / 1453L seats folded|
Infotainment and Connectivity
Improvements that Jaguar has made in this regard do not go unnoticed when you’re out on a long road trip. It’s not so much that the old interface was poor, more that the updated system is a very good one.
On test, the 10.0-inch touchscreen was bright and responsive in all conditions and Apple CarPlay was faultless for us on test as well. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are wireless. Bluetooth audio streaming was likewise trouble-free.
The Pivi Pro Connected system works well in every other area, too, whether that be controlling functions within the infotainment system, monitoring what the battery system is doing, or simply using something as simple as the satellite navigation. Other standard features include the interactive driver’s display, Meridian sound system, Amazon Alexa Smart Assistant, DAB+, Touch Pro Duo, over-the-air software updates, USB ports, and 12V power sockets, including one in the boot.
While there’s no doubt that part of the EV appeal is the technical prowess within, I’d still argue that there’s no call for an infotainment system that is as complex as what is going on beneath the skin. Most buyers won’t be at the point that they want to have to decipher a difficult vehicle in an attempt to understand what is going on. Split over three screens, the floating centre console also houses real buttons, as well as the touchscreen functionality.
Jaguar’s system in the I-Pace, both in terms of its integration and execution, is excellent. Perhaps most importantly for this segment, and the intended buyer, the infotainment system has a premium feel to it. The screens, the graphics, the displays in general, all look high-class.
You’d expect a five-star ANCAP safety rating at this premium end of the market – regardless of whether it’s an electric vehicle or not – and the Jaguar I-Pace achieved exactly that. Tested in December 2018 at launch, the I-Pace achieved a full five-star safety rating.
In addition to optional equipment like the head-up display, 3D surround camera and smart interior rear-view mirror, the I-Pace has plenty of standard kit as well.
All-wheel drive is standard for this model, along with autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, All Surface Progress Control, dynamic stability control, hill launch assist, JaguarDrive Control, low-traction launch, emergency brake assist, and enhanced brake regeneration.
There’s also excellent LED lighting, a rear-view camera, six airbags, blind-spot assist, clear exit monitor, adaptive cruise control with steering assist, driver condition monitor, lane-keep assist, rear collision monitor, traffic sign monitor, adaptive speed limiter, front and rear parking sensors, tyre pressure monitoring, and a seatbelt reminder.
|2022 Jaguar I-Pace EV400 SE AWD|
|ANCAP rating||Five stars (tested December 2018)|
|Safety report||Link to ANCAP result|
Luxury vehicles always present a conundrum in terms of value, given a vastly cheaper vehicle will always do the same job for much less outlay. In theory, then, the concept of value needs to be assessed from a different angle.
Buyers go into a Jaguar purchase expecting luxury, quality, comfort, and a sense of bespoke attention to detail. By those measures, the I-Pace delivers handsomely. It looks and feels like a special car on the road, and the quiet, refined nature of the EV drivetrain ensures a cosseted sense of luxury on every drive.
Jaguar options continue to be expensive additions to any purchase, and there’s some equipment we’d like to see standard; however, the counterargument is that Jaguar buyers like to customise their car to suit their tastes. Given the inherent cost of an EV regardless of the badge, if your budget stretches to the I-Pace range, it feels like money well spent.
Servicing is complimentary for the first five years or 200,000km, and it’s hard to argue with the methodology Jaguar has injected into I-Pace ownership. The relationship between owner and service centre will change significantly with electric vehicles, and in this sense, Jaguar has ensured that the I-Pace owner has nothing to worry about for the first five years of ownership.
|At a glance||2022 Jaguar I-Pace EV400 SE AWD|
|Warranty||Five years / unlimited km|
|BEV Traction Warranty||Eight years / 160,000km|
|Service intervals||12 months or 15,000km|
|Servicing costs||Complimentary (Five years / 200,000km)|
|Energy cons. (claimed)||27.9kWh/100km|
|Energy cons. (on test)||29.4kWh/100km|
|Battery size||90kWh (446km range – WLTP)|
First, let’s look at power use. Against a 446km range claim, and a claimed energy usage of 27.9kWh/100km on the combined cycle, we were seeing a range of 330–380km on the open road depending on the driving conditions. Given almost all of our testing this time was out on the open road with hardly any regen, that’s more than acceptable in the real world.
As we found working our way around the south coast in NSW, we had plenty of charge in reserve when we approached each town with a charger. So, there’s no dreaded range anxiety to be had.
I find myself writing this often now, but almost all electric vehicles are ‘fast’. That’s what maximum power and torque from zero RPM delivers – instant, often savage acceleration. With an electric motor on each axle, and resultant all-wheel drive, the I-Pace uses its 294kW and 696Nm to rocket from 0–100km/h in just 4.8 seconds.
However, once you’ve launched your new EV a couple of times, how fast it is doesn’t really matter.
That’s where you get to how it drives, and the I-Pace is a lovely vehicle to spend time with on the open road – EV or otherwise. Most noteworthy is its ride, where 2133kg is somehow hidden by excellent suspension that irons out all but the very worst road surfaces without registering a shimmy.
Our drive took us into a part of NSW that has been hit hard by heavy rain, landslips, road closures, and flooding, so you can bet we experienced the worst our (usually average at best) country road network can deliver.
There’s no need – under any circumstances really – for a family-focused SUV like the I-Pace to be any more rapid than it is. Off the mark, under light throttle, or when you roll on to overtake, the I-Pace rockets away, in silence of course, with relentless urge.
What most impressed us when we hit the twisty sections is how well-behaved, how well-balanced, and how sporty the I-Pace feels. It’s not an F-Type, of course, but it doesn’t intend to be either. Still, you can spear the I-Pace into a corner with pace and it sits beautifully as you work through.
The silence and poise enhance the drive experience, despite the fact that it’s ever more evident that manufacturers are going to have to work hard to separate one EV from another. Maybe they won’t want to, but with the silence comes a lack of individuality whether we like it or not.
Still, if cabin refinement and silence are the measures of premium execution, the I-Pace drive experience is right up there. As we remind you with every EV review, watch the speedo. Licence-endangering speeds come up very quickly with the silence.
Even on slick roads, the ESC allows for a level of driving engagement that doesn’t intrude on your fun more than we’d like as well. Torque vectoring front to rear helps keep everything in line, and the steering doesn’t feel weird or notchy.
Not all Jetson-age steering systems are as well-sorted as the Jaguar’s. It’s smooth and precise at any speed, with fantastic stability on the highway at 110km/h also.
Around town, the 12.35m turning circle is a broad one, up there with the dual cabs we see on the road in growing numbers. It doesn’t quite match with the compact exterior dimensions, and it means the I-Pace isn’t quite as nimble in tight city confines as you might expect.
Light steering, strong forward visibility and adjustable braking assistance make it an easy car to pilot in town, though, and depending how you like your brake pedal to feel, you can eke back some charge for the battery too. In the most aggressive setting, you can almost drive the I-Pace with one pedal.
After a week and almost 2000km behind the wheel, I’m left impressed with the way the I-Pace behaves in the real world. Trying to make an EV the master of all trades is probably a futile exercise, like trying to make a Porsche 911 a good family hauler, for example, and yet the I-Pace finds a neat middle point between practical and sporty. Perhaps unexpectedly so.
|Key details||2022 Jaguar I-Pace EV400 SE AWD|
|Motor||Dual permanent magnet synchronous|
|Drive type||All-wheel drive|
|Power to weight ratio||138kW/t|
|Towing capacity||750kg braked / 750kg unbraked|
It’s unfair to lump the I-Pace in with electric vehicles like the Kia EV6, Hyundai Ioniq 5, and the Tesla Model 3.
That would be like comparing a Jaguar F-Pace to an MX-5, or an XE Sedan to a Toyota Camry. Luxury electric vehicles are growing in terms of what’s available, but they are still thin on the ground in real terms.
If you’re looking for the Jaguar ownership experience with an electric drivetrain, the I-Pace ticks every box you would expect it to. It’s a beautiful car to drive, too, even out of its comfort zone.
Is it an SUV? A four-door coupe? A sedan? Who cares. If you like the styling and it fits within your budget, book one in for a test drive.