2019 Jaguar I-PACE: First Drive Review

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceElectrifying
For the last several years, European luxury car companies have been touting plans for new electric vehicles coming soon. We have to admit with surprise that Jaguar crossed that finish line first, and they did it with flying colors. The all-new all-electric Jaguar I-PACE arrives later this year, and after spending a few days with this new model we came away extremely impressed. The company has created an entirely electric model that looks and feels like a Jaguar should and offers excellent performance both on- and off-road.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceA True Jaguar
“We set out with a clean sheet approach to harness new battery electric technology with an architecture engineered from the outset to optimize performance, aerodynamics and interior space,” said Ian Hoban, Vehicle Line Director for Jaguar I-PACE. “The result is the I-PACE — a true Jaguar and a truly driver-focused EV. For I-PACE customers — fuel stations are a thing of the past, after overnight charging they’ll wake up every morning with a ‘full tank of fuel’!”

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceDesign
“The I-PACE’s electric powertrain offered us unprecedented design freedom,” said Ian Callum, Jaguar’s director of design. “Starting with a clean sheet enabled the dramatic cab-forward profile, unique proportions and exceptional interior space — yet it is unmistakably a Jaguar. We wanted to design the world’s most desirable EV, and I’m confident we’ve met that challenge.”

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceSedan Styling, SUV Capability
Jaguar is referring to the I-PACE as an SUV, but at first glance this new electric model looks more like a sedan or hatchback than a crossover. But looks can be deceiving — the I-PACE has the capability and versatility expected of a crossover and is actually more capable off-road than many SUVs on the market. I-PACE can also tow up to 1,650 pounds.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceModel Lineup
The 2019 Jaguar I-PACE is available in three trim levels; S, SE and HSE. In addition, there is a special First Edition I-PACE that will be sold for the 2019 model year. The electric powertrain is the same for all I-PACE trims.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceStandard Safety
All Jaguar I-PACE variants get equipped with the latest high-tech safety features, including automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, rear-traffic monitor, traffic-sign recognition and clear exit monitor.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceI-PACE S
The base I-PACE has a starting price of $69,500. Although the S is the entry-level trim, it comes with an impressive list of standard equipment. Features include 8-way heated power front seats, Luxtec seat trim, LED rear reading lights, ambient interior lighting, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry with a pushbutton start, a 10.5-inch touchscreen main display, a 5.5-inch secondary display, an interactive driver display, six USB ports, a rearview camera, Bluetooth connectivity and a 380-watt Meridian audio system. Also standard is a fixed panoramic roof, 18-inch alloy wheels and electronic air suspension.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceI-PACE SE
Priced at $75,890, the I-PACE SE upgrades the S with leather seat trim, 10-way power front seats, blind-spot assist, adaptive cruise control and high-speed emergency braking. The SE also stands out from the S with 20-inch alloy wheels, premium LED headlights, signature daytime running lights and a power tailgate.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceI-PACE HSE
Priced at $80,500, the HSE features 18-way power front seats, high-quality Windsor leather trim, heated and cooled front seats, heated rears seats, 20-inch wheels with a diamond-turned finish and an 825-watt Meridian surround-sound audio system. The HSE also gets a 360-degree surround camera and adaptive cruise control with steering assist.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceI-PACE First Edition
This special inaugural version of the I-PACE runs $85,900 and includes a heated steering wheel, gloss charcoal ash wood veneer, First Edition branding, upgraded leather trim, a suedecloth headliner, a head-up display, 4-zone climate control, a heated windshield, fog lights and unique 20-inch wheels.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePowertrain
The Jaguar I-PACE is a full-electric vehicle with propulsion from dual permanent-magnet synchronous electric motors — one powering the front wheels, one powering the rears to create a permanent 4-wheel-drive system. Total output is 394 horsepower and 512 lb-ft of torque. Electric motors deliver peak torque immediately, which means the I-PACE can reach 60 mph from a standstill in a quick 4.5 seconds. Top speed is listed at 124 mph.

© Jaguar Land Rover North AmericaDrive Modes
I-PACE drivers can choose from Comfort (default), Eco, Dynamic and Rain / Ice / Snow modes that change the throttle response, suspension and steering to best fit current driving conditions.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBatteries
Power for the I-PACE comes from 432 lithium-ion battery cells that generate a total of 90 kWh. Batteries remain at optimal operating temperature via a liquid cooling system. Jaguar claims a range of 240 miles; however, the range will vary depending on driving conditions and driver style.

© Jaguar Land Rover North AmericaCharging
With a 220-watt charger, the I-PACE can be fully charged from empty in about 13 hours. With a 50kW DC charger (like those found in typical public charging stations) 80 percent of full charge can be achieved in 85 minutes. EPA fuel economy numbers have not yet been released.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceInner Space
Clearly electric powertrains have benefits in terms of efficiency and performance, but Jaguar designers were able to take advantage of the simple fact that an electric propulsion system requires considerably less space than a typical internal combustion engine. This means the I-PACE’s interior is much larger than expected based on the overall vehicle size. But the best part is that it is still a Jaguar, living up to quality and luxury standards expected from this storied British marque.

© Jaguar Land Rover North AmericaSpacious Interior
Front seats are both stylish and comfortable — during a press junket we drove the I-PACE several hundred miles over two days with no complaints. The cabin feels spacious, especially with the panoramic glass roof. Note that the roof has no shade to close; however, the glass has a low-emissivity glazing that absorbs UV rays and keeps the cabin from heating up during sunny weather.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceLots of Storage
With no drivetrain hump bisecting the middle of the vehicle, there’s plenty of space for storage in the center console. The covered compartment between the two front seats is large, and the center console has a convenient space with a lip edge that can hold a phone upright and securely.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceUseful Design
One of our favorite interior elements is an open space below the gear selector and climate controls. It has plenty of room for device or other storage, and it’s easily accessible through the opening in the center. Two of the USB ports are here as well — one for the driver, one for the passenger.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceLarge Display Screen
The main display screen is large and easy to read — menu items at the bottom of the screen make navigation straightforward. The I-PACE media has a volume knob; however, tuning has to be done via the touchscreen. And although the screen looks good, its response time can be a bit slow; on more than one occasion we selected the wrong item because the screen did not react fast enough. As with many touchscreen designs, it can be difficult to make selections while driving.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRear Seat
The rear seat is surprisingly roomy for a vehicle this size. With plenty of legroom and headroom and the open feeling provide by the glass roof, sitting in the back seat of the I-PACE is a pleasant experience. Although a third person might feel a bit cramped, the flat floor means they’ll enjoy the same ample legroom. There’s also under-seat storage for a laptop or tablet.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceCargo Space
I-PACE doesn’t skimp on cargo space — several pieces of luggage would easily fit in the large storage area. A built-in cargo cover keeps prying eyes away from contents, and floor-mounted tiedowns secure cargo and a net keeps small items from rolling around. Rear seats can also be folded to provide up to 51 cubic feet of cargo space.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFrunk
Since there is no engine under the hood, Jaguar uses the space as a front trunk, or “frunk.”
(Since the Brits refer to the trunk as the boot — should this space by default be called the “froot?”) Whatever it’s called, the space doesn’t hold much, but it can be used for storing small items.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMore Capacity
The I-PACE can be fitted with a roof rack or rear-mounted rack for additional hauling capability.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBehind the Wheel
As the most advanced Jaguar on the road, the I-PACE had a lot of great expectations riding on it before anyone even slid behind the wheel. That said, we were not disappointed — not only does the I-PACE perform flawlessly in the role of daily driver, this new electric crossover shines both off-road and on-track.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceSmooth and Quiet
As with any electric vehicle, power comes on smooth and quietly. We thought we’d miss the wonderful exhaust note typically associated with high-performance Jaguars, but the subtle turbine whine is cool in its own right. Full throttle will push occupants back in their seats and results in quick acceleration that rapidly continues into triple digits.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceCity Driving
Cruising through traffic in Faro, Portugal, gave the Jag no issues, and the small footprint makes it easy to maneuver. Another advantage of an electric car — we could hear birds chirping, even in urban environments, as we drove along the road.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceOne-Pedal Operation
Initial braking on the Jaguar I-PACE activates battery regeneration — basically using the motors to slow the vehicle while sending power back to the batteries. Jaguar allows the driver to choose low or high brake regeneration, which determines how aggressively the vehicle will slow when the accelerator is released. When set to high, it is possible to drive the I-PACE with the right pedal only — the regenerative braking can produce up to .4 G of stopping power and can bring the vehicle to a complete halt. This driving method take a while to master, but quickly becomes second nature and easy to control.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceSmooth and Speedy
During freeway cruising the I-PACE continues to impress. Acceleration to high speeds is quick and smooth, and cruising along at 70 mph doesn’t feel that fast. In fact, this becomes a problem with the silent powertrain — the motor doesn’t feel as if it’s working any harder at higher speeds as a high-revving gas-powered engine would, and it is very easy to exceed speed limits when not paying attention. However, at highway speeds wind and road noise are more intrusive than we would have expected.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAgile Handling
The I-PACE is not a light vehicle, but it possesses a low center of gravity thanks to battery pack positioning below the floor, and it has been configured to have a perfect 50/50 weight distribution. The battery structure also makes the I-PACE the stiffest car in the Jaguar lineup. All this means the new crossover is quite agile for great driving on mountain roads. Add to this a full-time all-wheel-drive system, standard air suspension and instant power availability and the I-PACE can carve a winding road like a proper sport sedan.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceParking
When a driver stops the I-PACE, puts it in park and opens the driver door, the car shuts off automatically. Jaguar says there was concern that — given the quiet nature of this electric vehicle —drivers might walk away without shutting off the car. That said, if drivers are exiting the car momentarily it can be annoying to have to restart the I-PACE every time they get back in. This also resets the drive mode to Comfort, so if Dynamic or Eco mode are preferred it will have to be reset every time. Not the end of the world, but annoying none the less.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRaised Suspension
In addition to improving on-road handling, the air suspension also aids in off-road driving. A push of a button in the center console can raise the height by almost 2 inches, which we did prior to heading off-road in this electric SUV.

© Jaguar Land Rover North AmericaInto the Water
The I-PACE can handle more than a simple dirt road — our junket took us down the length of a creek before climbing a steep rocky grade. In fact, the I-PACE can operate in water almost 20 inches deep.

© Jaguar Land Rover North AmericaRange Rover Technology
During the I-PACE’s development, Jaguar borrowed much of the off-road technology from its Range Rover cousins, so the I-PACE has hill-descent control as well as All Surface Progress Control, which is best described as off-road cruise control. We set the speed at about 8 mph and the I-PACE clawed its way through very steep and rocky terrain. We found the ride be surprisingly comfortable during our off-road venture — a much better ride than the Jaguar F-PACE we tested last year.

© Jaguar Land Rover North AmericaOn the Track
To further reveal the versatility of this new electric crossover, Jaguar took us to the Autodromo racetrack in Algarve, Portugal, where we had the opportunity to test the on-road limits of the I-PACE. The grip of all-wheel drive and instant torque makes the I-PACE a great vehicle for a road course, enabling it to exit corners at impressive speeds. We came close to the maximum 124 mph speed of the I-PACE, and yet the aerodynamic crossover stayed perfectly stable. Cornering too fast reveals the weight of the I-PACE, but the stability control and all-wheel drive help minimize understeer.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRight for You?
The new Jaguar I-PACE is unlike any other vehicle currently on the road — it looks and drives like a sport sedan while providing the versatility and capability of an SUV, as well as the luxury and feel of a Jaguar. With an innovative and efficient electric powertrain as well as a spacious interior, the I-PACE makes it difficult to find another vehicle on the road that can compete. With its 240-mile range and excellent on- and off-road performance, this new Jaguar is one of the most impressive vehicles we have driven in a long time, and we think it will change the way people look at electric vehicles.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRating: 9.5
Pros: Outstanding performance; excellent on- and off-road handling; spacious / comfortable interior.
Cons: Touchscreen reacts slowly; car shuts off automatically when driver gets out; road noise at high speeds.
Bottom Line: Jaguar knocks it out of the park with its first all-electric vehicle.

© Jaguar Land Rover North AmericaMore Photos
Continue through the story for more images of the Jaguar I-Pace

© Jaguar Land Rover North America2019 Jaguar I-PACE

© Jaguar Land Rover North America2019 Jaguar I-PACE

© Jaguar Land Rover North America2019 Jaguar I-PACE

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2019 Jaguar I-PACE

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2019 Jaguar I-PACE

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2019 Jaguar I-PACE

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2019 Jaguar I-PACE

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2019 Jaguar I-PACE

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2019 Jaguar I-PACE

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2019 Jaguar I-PACE

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2019 Jaguar I-PACE

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2019 Jaguar I-PACE

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2019 Jaguar I-PACE

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2019 Jaguar I-PACE

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2019 Jaguar I-PACE

© Jaguar Land Rover North America2019 Jaguar I-PACE

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2019 Jaguar I-PACE

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2019 Jaguar I-PACE

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2019 Jaguar I-PACE

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2019 Jaguar I-PACE

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2019 Jaguar I-PACE

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