Editorial note: Business Insider will name its 2018 Car of the Year on Monday, November 19. Each day this week, we’re taking another look at the five vehicles that were runners-up that were selected from a pool of 15 finalists. We featured the 2018 Lincoln Navigator and the 2018 Ferrari 812 Superfast earlier this week. Today, it’s the 2019 Jaguar I-PACE’s turn to shine.
- The Jaguar I-PACE first luxury crossover SUV to hit the market.
- The I-PACE is driven by dual electric motors that produce 394 horsepower.
- According to Jaguar, its EV can do 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds.
- The Jag has a 90kWh battery pack that and a range of 234 miles on a single charge.
- The 2019 Jaguar I-PACE starts at $US69,500 while our top-spec HSE variant starts at $US80,500. With options and fees, our test car came to $US86,720.
Electric cars are the future. Even though people have been saying this for years, only recently have the world’s mainstream automakers really taken this to heart. Sure, relatively affordable EVs have been on the road a decade now. But for far too many brands, going electric was more of a strategically prudent way to satisfy increasingly stringent emissions standards than a true commitment to electric mobility.
Things are different now. Tesla can’t make enough of its electric cars to keep up with demand. GM and Nissan are fully committed to production EVs. While luxury brands like Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and Porsche have all prepared purpose-built EVs set to hit the market in the near future.
And then there’s Jaguar.
Once the byword for stodgy British retro luxury, Jag is now all-in on electric. In fact, Jaguar beat out its rivals to become the first mainstream luxury brand to have an EV with enough range to legitimately compete against Tesla.
The Jaguar I-PACE enters the market in a unique position in that it’s the only car in its segment. Including the I-PACE, there are only four luxury EVs on the market and three of them are the Tesla Model S, Model X, and Model 3.
With the Model X the only other SUV. However, it should be noted that the Model X is a larger, mid-size three-row crossover SUV and doesn’t compete directly with I-PACE that is significantly less expensive.
Specifically, the Jag will be the only electric compact crossover available until the Audi E-Tron, Mercedes-Benz EQ C, and Tesla Model Y hits showrooms.
Recently, Business Insider spent a week with a 2019 Jaguar I-PACE EV400 HSE test car in Corris Grey. The 2019 Jaguar I-PACE starts at $US69,500 while the top-spec HSE variant starts at $US80,500. With options and fees, our test car came to $US86,720.
Here’s a closer look at the 2019 Jaguar I-PACE EV400 HSE:
Earlier this year, we had the chance to drive the I-PACE at Jaguar Land Rover’s North American headquarters in Mahwah, New Jersey. However, it was just for a few minutes and around a track in their parking lot.
So, we brought the electric Jag back for a more in-depth experience.
The I-PACE is currently the lone player in the in the electric luxury compact crossover SUV segment. However, it won’t be for long.
The Mercedes-Benz EQ C and …
…The Audi E-Tron are both expected to go on sale in 2019.
Aesthetically, the I-PACE is handsome and modern. Although, it’s not classically beautiful like many its forefathers. Regardless of the style, Jag’s design team created an incredibly sleek machine with a slippery 0.29 coefficient of drag.
Unlike most EVs, the I-PACE retains a traditional front grille. However, it’s not merely for show. The grille houses radiators that are used to cool components like its massive battery pack.
The top part of the grille also ducts air through the large hood vent, thereby helping with the car’s aerodynamics.
Here’s a shot of the hood vent.
The I-PACE utilises a design principle called cab forward, which pushes the cabin towards the front of the car while moving the wheels to the far corners.
As far as rear end design goes, the I-PACE breaks with Jaguar convention. Instead of a rounded rear end, Jaguar design boss Ian Callum went with a chiselled look to help optimise aerodynamics.
There is also an integrated rear spoiler.
Let’s take a look inside. Open up the stylish pop-out door handles and …
…Step inside. The I-PACE’s cabin is the most luxurious we’ve seen from this latest crop of EVs.
It feels fresh and modern while retaining elements of classic luxury.
The carbon fibre accents offer a striking contrast to the rich leather upholstery.
Overall cabin ergonomics are very good. Most features are intuitively located and easily reached.
In front of the driver is a 12.3 inch configurable digital instrument display. A colour head-up display is also available.
The center console features Jaguar’s InControl TouchPro Duo infotainment system.
The system uses both a traditional main infotainment screen along with a…
…Secondary screen mound lower on the center stack. The top screen takes care of the infotainment functions while the lower screen handles the climate control and cabin comfort features. The dual screen set up is elegant and effect
Jaguar Land Rover’s InControl Touch Pro system has never been one of our favourites. We find the user interface to be a bit too complex and not nearly as easy to use as we’d like. This is in spite of the fact that it’s very crisply rendered and attractively designed.
The panoramic view camera is always a helpful feature to have.
The I-PACE’s large panoramic glass roof really opens up the cabin.
The front cabin is roomy and comfortable while rear seat passengers are also well taken care of with a large glass roof and dual-zone climate control. There’s ample room for two adults. A third adult will fit, but it will be cramped back there.
Open up the rear hatch and you’ll find 25 cubic feet of storage space behind the rear seats. Cargo capacity expands to 51 cubic feet if you fold the rear seats down. Cargo space is only adequate and puts the compact I-PACE on par with sub-compact crossovers like the Honda HR-V and Nissan Rogue Sport/Qashqai.
Under the hood…there’s a frunk. Since the I-PACE is an EV, the space that would normally be occupied by an engine, is taken up by a small storage nook. By small I mean 0.95 cubic feet. There’s enough room for a purse.
Instead, the I-PACE is powered by a pair of permanent magnet synchronous electric motors located on each of the car’s axles. They draw power from a 90 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Together, they produce 394 horsepower and 512 pound-feet of torque.
According to Jaguar, the I-PACE can sprint from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 124 mph.
The pack is charged through a port in the left front quarter panel. Using a 100kW DC fast charger, Jaguar claims the I-PACE can be recharged from 0 to 80% in just 40 minutes.
The I-PACE ships with a Mode 2 universal charger cable.
Jaguar, like the rest of the mainstream auto industry, depends on third-party firms to provide charging infrastructure. In this case, it’s Charge Point. While Charge Point does have a fair number of charging locations, few of them are Tesla Supercharger-style fast chargers. In addition, the ChargePoint app proved to unintuitive with poor functionality.
So, what’s it like to drive?
In true Jaguar fashion, the I-PACE delivers a spirited and engaging driving experience. The 4,800 Jag felt quick and nimble around the narrow roads of Northern New Jersey. The I-PACE launches with great verve up high way on ramps. The strong torque delivery of the dual electric motors gives the Jaguar immediate punch off the line.
While the 0-60 time of 4.5 seconds isn’t Tesla quick and won’t shame any supercars, it’s certainly more than quick enough pretty any situation in everyday life. In fact, it will outrun many of the compact luxury sedans on the market like the Audi A4 or Mercedes-Benz C300.
The low center of gravity created by the large below-cabin battery pack gives the I-PACE a solid and planted feel around corners. Its handling prowess is helped by its near-perfect weight distribution, air suspension, and torque vectoring system. I’m not saying it will handle like a Boxster, but it does very well for a relatively heavy crossover SUV.
In eco-mode, the Jaguar’s regenerative braking system will work to harvest energy to recharge the battery pack. This effectively allows the I-PACE to be driven using a single pedal.
The I-PACE also emits an artificial engine noise as you drive along. Something, I initially found to be a bit odd but grew to like.
According to Jaguar, the I-PACE is designed to go off-road. However, we weren’t able to explore that part of its personality. However, the less than stellar 5.6 inches of ground clearance will likely limit the I-PACE’s off-road prowess.
After a week with the 2019 Jaguar I-PACE, we came away impressed.
The Jag is engaging to drive with a luxurious and modern cabin. Its styling is modern yet maintains many of the striking design cues that make Jaguar stand out. However, the I-PACE isn’t perfect. Its styling can be polarising. While the raked rear hatch cuts into the crossover’s car capacity. In addition, the 5.6 inches ground clearance will limit its off-road capability.
In spite of its imperfections, we found the Jag to be a really fun, stylish, and likable car that’s easy to live with.
Jaguar has been on a roll in recent years with a string of hits including the F-Type sports car, the XF sedan, and the F-PACE SUV. With the I-PACE, the English luxury brand looks to have another winner on its hands.
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