Jaguar I-Pace 2018 Review vs Tesla Model X

Jaguar I-Pace 2018 Review vs Tesla Model X

The Jaguar I-Pace 2018, That right there is Jaguar’s first electric vehicle. It’s called the I-PACE. And with a starting price of around $70,000, it’s going to have some tough competition from a little company in California called Tesla. But with nearly 400 horsepower and over 500 pound feet of torque, this I-PACE could be a very exciting car to drive. We’ve come to Portugal to find out just how exciting.

Let’s take a quick look at the exterior of the I-PACE What I like about this from the outset is that it’s an attractive EV. For the longest time, automakers keep thinking that electric vehicles have to look like nerd mobiles. Fortunately, this doesn’t look striking. It looks good but also looks indifferent.

Jaguar I-Pace 2018
Jaguar I-Pace 2018

Crucial to that is these 22-inch wheels. These are optional, and they’re super tall, although they may not look like it, given how large these wheel wells are. They’re skinny too. And that’s going to help a little bit with efficiency. But pay attention to the carbon fiber inserts in the metal here. And that’s to reinforce the sportiness that Jaguar likes to imbue in all of its vehicles.

When it comes to the overall size and proportion of the I-PACE, it’s similar to that of a compact luxury SUV, not unlike the F-PACE. It’s a little bit different though. It’s shorter in height and a wider, even though it’s the same length as those kind of vehicles. And that helps it give it a sportier look. Also too, the wheels are pushed further to the edges of the vehicle, because they can do that when you don’t have to worry about where you’re placing a gasoline engine.

At the floor is a 90 kilowatt-hour battery pack that feeds two electric motors. One between the front wheels, and the other on the rear. That makes the eyepiece all-wheel drive, though, there’s no mechanical connection between the two axles. One of the things that’s hard to answer is whether this is a car or an SUV. It’s kind of a mixture of both design elements. And that helps it with some functionality, although you can’t expect to tow a boat with it either.

Doesn’t really matter though. It hasn’t for the Tesla Model X, which is kind of between an SUV and a minivan. And that thing’s enjoyed plenty of success. What matters, though, is how this drives. Behind the wheel of the I-PACE, first impressions are strong. Like many electric vehicles, as soon as you dig into that accelerator, and you feel a satisfying amount of power. And that’s because this thing has over 500-pound feet of torque that arrives instantaneously the moment you touch the accelerator.

We have to call it an accelerator because it’s no longer a gas pedal. But when you have a bit of opening in the road, you can squeeze into it immediately. You have very, very strong power that always feels good. But that’s a typical feature of electric vehicles. When you come off the go pedal, you get to a really aggressive regenerative braking. That’s when the motors are recuperating energy.

You can adjust how much they do that. And in its most aggressive setting, you can almost drive the I-PACE with one pedal and only use the brake pedal when you really need to stop quickly. That feels good. Jaguar’s claiming a 0 to 60 time in 4 and 1/2 seconds. It would be faster if this thing didn’t weigh so much.

We’re talking about 4,800 pounds with the base car. With this option with a 22-inch wheels and a couple other luxury features, I’m betting it’s going weigh closer to 5,000 pounds. That’s a lot of weight for a sporty vehicle, though that’s less than the larger but similarly-priced Tesla Model X. But it’s also what you have to have if you need the range this thing offers. Speaking of, you get about 240 miles on a full charge. And that’s good enough and comparable with modern EVs you’ll see elsewhere in the market.

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A full charge will take about 13 hours– something you’d want to do overnight. But as we’re learning with EVs, you typically only charge about 80, 90%. So if you recharge only to about 80%, Jaguar’s claiming, that’s going to take closer to 10 hours. If you have access to a DC fast charger, that 80% fill can take less than an hour and a half. What I like about this is despite it being as heavy as it is and despite riding on 22-inch wheels, the steering feels very good. It’s nice and tight– no not maybe, in terms of feel, but in terms of accuracy. I feel like I can easily guide this vehicle down the road.

Jaguar I-Pace 2018 review
Jaguar I-Pace 2018 review

The ride quality is kind of what you’d expect, given the weight and the tire size. You feel the bumps, and this is intended to be a sportier vehicle. So it’s going to react a bit more firmly to road impressions. So the return is a general sportier feeling that’s satisfying and what Jaguar’s aiming to get out of the car. 

Visibility is generally pretty strong, with the exception of the rear window, which is small and steeply raked. And with the head rest up, it can impinge on your view a little bit. But generally the side view mirrors and the side glass and the front windshield– it’s easy to see out of. The dash extends seemingly quite a bit ahead of you. So it can make trying to gauge where the front of the car is. It takes a little bit of time to learn it. You have a ton of headroom in this vehicle.

The roof is surprisingly high up. And that’s the result of this car’s SUV style design and proportions. A lot of headroom– good amount of shoulder and leg room. And that same goes for the back seat. So this should feel comfortable for a family around town. And for me, I have a head up display that tells me my speed. I have a digital gauge cluster that’s pretty easy to read. And I’ve got two screens here to control entertainment navigation and seat controls and climate control as well.

There’s still some physical controls which make operating the vehicle easy. But when it comes to the touch sensitive stuff, like adjusting some of the features on this lower third screen, it can be a little frustrating to kind of take your eyes off the road and try to adjust those while you’re driving. Similar to the entertainment system, though, it’s powerful and carries a lot of features, it can be a little slow. I’m not sure if that’s the result of processing power, or the fact that they want to show off the pretty graphics as the screen transitions from one screen to the next.

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The seats themselves are comfortable and supportive. I feel like I’m could sit in this and drive this for as long as the range will let me go. But I think I’d have a pretty good time too. Once you realize that they’re driving a number of electric vehicles, and even powerful ones like this and various Tesla’s, is that they all drive similarly when you talk about how they accelerate and how they break.

Gasoline engines have so much personality in the way they sound and in the way they deliver power and the vibrations they make through the vehicle that when you don’t have it, you realize how much of an impact they had on the driving experience. Jaguars trying to deliver a similar experience.

They have an active sound generator that when you put in its most dynamic setting, it will actually give you a little bit of fake engine noise. Let’s turn it on right now. When I switched over to that dynamic and roll on the go pedal, you’ll hear what sounds like a mixture of a gasoline engine and something else that’s kind of spaceshipy. Let’s do it right now. It’s an interesting sound. There’s some low-end thrum– some low frequency thrum that’s like a four-cylinder or– more like a four-cylinder than not and also is high-frequency pitch. That’s interesting. A lot of the stuff there is fake. It’s generated through sound designs from the stereo. But it does attempt to give some personality to an otherwise, powerful, just another powerful EV. I like the idea.

And the sound is just modest enough– just minor enough where it’s not overbearing. It’s not obnoxious. It’s not obvious to most people that it’s fake, I would imagine. If you know what you’re looking for, if you’re driving, you could tell. But when you roll it back to calm, how Jaguar describes it, and you just cruise along, you do hear a bit of noise from the electric motors– some of that high-pitched chatter that isn’t too unlike what you would hear from the Jetsons’ car.

Jaguar I-Pace 2018 funiture
Jaguar I-Pace 2018 funiture

The driving sensation’s just like an all-wheel drive car that can accelerate very quickly. When you find some corners, you know, this thing is not a sports car. It’s not going to behave like one. But it does have a certain enthusiasm that feels nice. That driving enthusiasm– the enjoyable acceleration and handling– is exactly what you’d expect from a Jaguar, regardless of whether it’s electric or not. And that may be the I-PACE’s biggest success that it still represents the history and relevance of its brand while bringing it to the future. Like the Tesla’s before it, the I-PACE is yet another step in a paradigm shift for the automotive landscape at large but for Jaguar too.

We’ll, of course, have to one in the United States and drive it on our roads and do our intermittent testing to give a full analysis. But the outset, it looks like Jaguar’s been very clever, delivering a very strong, stylish, and standout luxury EV.

Louise Martin

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