Tested: Jaguar’s Tesla SUV fighter
September 10, 2019
1. You’ll need a plan
Road trips require some analysis. Relying purely on electric power, one motor on each axle, the range is a little more than 400km. If you’re planning a longer trip you’ll need to research charging stations en-route. Most owners are expected to pay $2280 for a wall charger that offers about 35km of range for each hour plugged in, compared with 11km an hour for a standard household power point. Public fast chargers of 50kWh can achieve about 270km in an hour.
2. This cat has claws
The i-Pace packs a silent wallop. With a sub-five-second sprint to 100km/h, it accelerates like a V8 with barely a whisper. Instant torque ensures the I-Pace whirs to life with outstanding results. The artificially generated noise in the cabin sounds gruff and macho the harder you push. Apart from the soundtrack, the driving experience is similar to a standard car but some habits need to be changed. Lift your right foot and it’s like immediately applying the brake — often you don’t need the left pedal unless coming to a complete stop. Unlike the rival Tesla, which can tow up to tow up to 2250kg, the I-Pace can’t haul.
3. There are plenty of options
The cabin oozes panache and if you like to customise there’s a swag of options and packs to meet varying tastes. Basic equipment includes leather trim, two-zone aircon, push-button start, dual touch screens on the console and a 12.3-inch display for the driver, satnav and a Meridian sound system. The SE variant we tested added 20-inch alloys (up from 18s), power tailgate and “grained leather” sports seats. Select a few niceties and it quickly adds up. Our extras totalled more than $10,000, including a panoramic sunroof ($3380), 10-way adjustable electric seats with heating function ($806), digital radio ($520) and a public charging cable ($425).
4. They’ve sweetened the deal
Helping lure buyers from the petrol dark side is a five-year/200,000km warranty — two years and 100,000km longer than the usual Jag coverage. You also get five years of free servicing. The 90kWh battery warranty is eight years or 160,000km.
5. It’s safe for everyone
Even those on the outside are protected with an external airbag for pedestrians. To overcome potential safety concerns about the silence of the electric motor, Jaguar worked with the Guide Dogs for the Blind charity to develop a Jetsons-like sound audible at speeds up to 20km/h. It also beeps when in reverse. Five-star safety includes standard autonomous emergency braking, traffic sign recognition and lane-keep assist complimentary. There are some notable omissions. Tech that steers you back into your lane if you wander costs an extra $2230 in a driver assist pack that incorporates a 360-degree surround camera and high-speed emergency braking. A head-up display is $1040.