The all-electric Jaguar I-PACE offers an excellent driving experience on the road, and it can even go off-roading in snow and ice; it also has a decent electric range and now it’s been updated for 2021.
We’ve already reviewed the Jaguar I-PACE when it first went on sale back in 2018, but it’s now been updated for the 2021 model year, with faster charging and a new infotainment system. So how does the I-PACE stack up today, almost two and a half years after our first test?
The Jaguar I-PACE is all-electric with a 90kWh battery, 400PS of power, 696Nm of torque and all-wheel drive.
The I-PACE has a coupe-crossover body style which still looks great, as well as being fashionable with car buyers, and that’s probably why there’s been no need to tweak the styling.
The interior looks upmarket and hi-tech, and one of the main changes for 2021 is the new Pivi Pro infotainment system, which is faster than the previous system – in terms of it being ready to use much quicker after getting in the car, and there’s less touchscreen button-pressing needed – both of which are welcome improvements.
Enhanced EV navigation helps you to find charge points and also shows if nearby charging stations are available or in use, what they cost, and how long it will take to charge.
The air quality in the I-PACE’s cabin is also cleaner, thanks to cabin air ionisation now featuring PM2.5 filtration to capture ultra-fine airborne particles and allergens. The I-PACE can even filter its cabin air before a journey begins.
There’s now a 3D surround camera system as standard, and the option of a new optional ClearSight rear-view digital mirror – as fitted to our test car – which displays the image from a rear-facing camera, providing a clear view behind the car even if the driver can’t physically see through a traditional mirror due to passengers or luggage blocking the view.
The I-PACE also now has enhanced software-over-the-air capability. Systems including infotainment, battery management and charging can be updated remotely to enable the I-PACE to continuously improve over time.
There’s also a wider choice of wheels, with a new 19-inch design being offered for the first time on the I-PACE, and replacing 18-inch wheels as standard equipment on S models.
Although the I-PACE offers space for five, with a decent boot, the ‘coupe’ rear styling limits the height of the luggage space, but you can carry up to 75kg on the roof, and it comes with a rear bike carrier preparation kit.
There’s space for the charging cables under the rear boot floor, and there’s also a small storage space under the front bonnet.
The I-PACE feels premium – and sporty – from the moment you sit in the driver’s seat. You can also find a good driving position, although you sit higher than in a sports saloon because this is a crossover.
There’s no traditional gear selector; there are just four buttons for drive, neutral, reverse and park. One thing that the I-PACE doesn’t have is a ‘B’ mode on the transmission to increase the level of brake regeneration, and there’s no way to do this such as via steering wheel-mounted paddles, however you can select high or low regenerative braking under EV settings in the touchscreen.
There are four drive modes: Dynamic, Comfort, Eco, and Rain Ice Snow. In Comfort mode progress is as quiet and refined as you would expect from an EV. Sport mode generates a synthesised sporty noise as well as improving responses. As well as Rain Ice Snow mode, hidden away in the touchscreen there’s also All Surface Progress Control (ASPC) and Low Traction Launch.
The I-PACE is a joy to drive around town, helped by the instant yet silent response from the electric powertrain and the good ride quality – even speed bumps don’t bother it. It’s also very comfortable, refined and stable at motorway speeds. The I-PACE in HSE spec has sports seats with very thin backs, but they’re still comfortable.
But it’s country roads where the I-PACE’s real talents shine. As well as the I-PACE’s party tricks of impressive performance (it has a 0-62 mph time of 4.8 seconds) and good ride quality, on the right roads you can enjoy the handling. The I-PACE – like any electric car with a range approaching 300 miles – has a big, heavy battery, so at 2,208kg this isn’t a light car. It’s also a crossover, so it sits quite high off the road. All this suggests that it’s not going to handle well, but actually the handling has a level of adjustability and playfulness that very few other EVs with such large batteries offer, resulting in rewarding handling and an excellent overall driving experience. And of course the battery sits very low in the car which helps to lower the centre of gravity.
And then there’s the issue of traction: the I-PACE is all-wheel drive, and the levels of grip are excellent on both dry and wet roads (although there is some fun to be had also).
But what happens when a battery electric vehicle meets snow and ice? We’ve driven pretty much every EV on sale in the UK, and most – even the ones with all-wheel drive – haven’t been hugely confidence-inspiring if faced with snow and ice, and this is because virtually all are fitted with tyres that are road- and eco-focused. However, brilliantly, the I-PACE had Goodyear Eagle Sport All Season Mud & Snow tyres fitted – an absolute stroke of genius – which meant that it was incredibly capable in snow and ice. The tread pattern combined with the ability to raise the ride height (Active Air Suspension was a £1,120 option fitted to our test car) even allowed the I-PACE to go off-roading in the snow and ice without any dramas. Well done to Jaguar for fitting all season mud & snow tyres to an SUV so the I-PACE can be used in all weathers and on all road surfaces; we wish other manufacturers would learn from this.
The I-PACE interior features an instrument display in front of the driver, a wide central touchscreen, and another smaller screen underneath with climate and heated seat controls. Either side of this are two multi-function rotary controllers, which you can use to adjust the cabin temperature, as well as pushing to adjust the seat temperature, and pulling out to adjust the fan speed. This cuts down the number of buttons, but there’s a lot of pushing and pulling to be done to choose the correct settings.
The new infotainment system does seem to be an improvement on the last one, including the ability to search on the satnav for charging points, but there are still certain actions that aren’t that easy, such as trying to quickly switch back to radio after using media; a better set of shortcut buttons would help.
The digital rear view mirror generally worked better than the traditional mirror – which can you can also choose to use; the camera image isn’t as sharp as a traditional mirror, but it’s better in low light conditions.
One important thing to note is that if you press the lock button on the key fob once, this locks the car – but you have to press it twice to fully set the alarm.
The Jaguar I-PACE EV400 has an official electric driving range (WLTP) of 253-292 miles. In real-world driving over the period of a week we averaged between 230 and 264 miles on a full charge. The principle of driving sensibly to enjoy a decent range applies to all EVs, but this seems to be even more applicable to the I-PACE.
The I-PACE now comes with an 11kW on-board charger as standard. This means that the I-PACE can be charged more quickly from a three-phase AC electricity supply, which, in the UK, is typically available at commercial and industrial premises, so this is likely to help speed up charging at workplaces.
Charging times for the 2021 model year Jaguar I-PACE are as follows: 7kW wall box (domestic electricity supply): up to 22 miles of range per hour (a full charge takes 12.75 hours); 11kW wall box (three-phase electricity supply): 33 miles of range per hour (a full charge from empty takes 8.6 hours); 50kW charger (public rapid charger): 39 miles in 15 minutes; 100kW charger (public rapid charger): 78 miles in 15 minutes.
The challenge with charging the I-PACE is not the car but the UK’s public charging network; despite lots of new charge points appearing on a weekly basis, the key thing that’s needed is lots of rapid chargers at motorway services stations, but such reliable and user-friendly chargers currently don’t exist – unless of course you have a Tesla. Hopefully the forthcoming Government consumer charging consultation will help to finally improve things.
The Jaguar I-PACE is available in S, SE and HSE specs and prices start at £65,195. Our I-PACE 400PS Electric HSE cost £74,340, and it also had options of Caldera Red paint (£355), Black Exterior Pack (£360), Active Air Suspension (£1,120), Privacy Glass (£395), Cabin Air Ionisation with PM2.5 filter (£85) and wireless device charging (£305), taking the total price of our test car to £77,015.
Running costs of EVs are much lower than petrol or diesel cars, and Benefit in Kind company car tax is 0% for battery electric vehicles in 2020/21, and 1% in 2021/22, so although the I-PACE is expensive, it should be cheap to run.
The Jaguar I-PACE 2021 is an excellent all-round car that does virtually everything: it looks great, it’s practical, it’s excellent to drive, and it can cope with snow, ice and off-roading. Although its official electric driving range of 253-292 miles is good, you really need to resist the temptation to put your foot down to come close to achieving such figures. And until the UK can sort out reliable rapid charging provision at motorway services, a bit more real-world range would be good. And of course, at around £75,000, this can’t be described as a cheap car, although monthly I-PACE leasing costs make this more affordable, especially for business users. The Jaguar I-PACE retains its Green Car Guide rating of 10 out of 10.