If you’re looking for a premium 4×4 SUV but you want something that’s more environmentally-friendly than a petrol or diesel, should you choose a plug-in hybrid or go all-electric? The Jaguar I-PACE is one of only a few all-electric 4x4s. There’s also the plug-in hybrid option in the form of the Range Rover Sport. So which is best for you?
The Jaguar I-PACE is all-electric with a 90 kWh lithium ion battery and 2 x 200 PS (150 kW) 348 Nm electric motors, giving a total of 400 PS (290 kW) or 696 Nm of torque.
The Range Rover Sport P400e is a plug-in hybrid, with a 4-cylinder, 2-litre petrol engine and an 8-speed automatic transmission – together with a 13.1 kWh battery and 141hp electric motor. There’s a combined system power of 404 PS – so almost identical to the 400PS of the I-PACE. In terms of torque, the Range Rover Sport has 640 Nm – so the I-PACE, with 696 Nm from its full electric powertrain, has the edge. Both the Jaguar I-PACE and Range Rover Sport P400e have all-wheel drive.
In terms of size and space, the I-PACE is 4,680mm in length, the Range Rover Sport is 4,879mm. So the Range Rover has almost 200mm of extra length, but the I-PACE has the packaging advantages of an electric architecture – ie. no large engine to accommodate.
The I-PACE has a boot capacity of 577 litres, or 1,453 litres with the rear seats down. The Range Rover Sport has 701 litres of boot space (79 litres less than the 780 litres of the non-hybrid model), or 1,686 litres with the rear seats down. So if maximum luggage space is important, the Range Rover Sport may need consideration.
We think both the I-PACE and the Range Rover Sport look good.
Because the Jaguar I-PACE is all-electric, there’s 100% of the 696 Nm of torque instantly available at virtually all times. This means massive performance: 0-60 mph takes just 4.5 seconds. However the Range Rover Sport isn’t that far behind, at 6.3 seconds.
We should also talk about weight. The I-PACE weighs 2,133 kg and the Range Rover Sport is 2,539 kg. People’s perceptions are that pure EVs are heavy, and yes, thanks to the large battery, this is true for the I-PACE – but the Range Rover Sport, with a petrol engine and a battery and electric motor – is even heavier.
So what does all this mean for the driving experience? The I-PACE feels very rapid, and with all-wheel drive, very surefooted. With the battery in the floor of the car, it also has a low centre of gravity, which aids the handling. And of course it’s very quiet and refined.
The Range Rover Sport, despite only having a 4-cylinder, 2-litre petrol engine, feels like a premium product to drive, but fast corners remind you that, unlike the I-PACE, there’s a tall engine under the bonnet and that this is a big car.
So the I-PACE wins the on-road driving dynamics. But what about off-road? Well, the I-PACE is designed for on-road rather than off-road use. Having said that, you can raise the height of the suspension, so it can venture further off-road than most people might expect, but ultimately you’re limited by the on-road focused tyres.
The Range Rover Sport is amazing off-road. You can raise the suspension, and driving over a mountain feels like you’re driving on smooth tarmac. However our test car was the first Range Rover or Land Rover that we’ve driven that didn’t have Pirelli Scorpion Verde tyres, ie. designed for on and off-road use. The Continental tyres fitted to our Range Rover Sport were more on-road than off-road biased. The result was that one tyre acquired a puncture while on test, in the middle of nowhere in Wales, and due to a big hybrid battery being under the boot floor, there was no spare wheel. However, miraculously, we somehow found a tyre fitter with a spare Range Rover Sport tyre…
Perhaps the most impressive thing about the Range Rover Sport is how capable it is driving over very challenging off-road terrain, yet how refined it feels when you get back on tarmac roads.
The I-PACE’s driving range is 292 miles based on the new, more realistic WLTP test. In the real-world this was more like 200-250 miles.
The total driving range of the Range Rover Sport, with a full tank and a full battery charge, was being displayed as 425 miles. So if you regularly need this sort of driving range, the Sport wins.
However if you also take fuel consumption and emissions into account, then the I-PACE has zero tailpipe emissions and it doesn’t need any petrol or diesel. You do need to charge it with electricity of course, and a full charge can take 12 hours 50 minutes from a 7kW home charger, or 1 hour 25 minutes for a 0-80% charge from a public 50 kW rapid charger. The I-PACE is also capable of charging from a 100 kW rapid charger, if you can find one.
The official WLTP combined fuel economy for the Range Rover Sport P400e is 74.3-84.1 mpg, with CO2 emissions (NEDC equivalent) of 71 g/km. It has an electric driving range of 31.6 miles (WLTP).
As with any plug-in hybrid, if you do most of your driving within 30 miles on electric power after regular charges then you may enjoy 75-85mpg from this Range Rover. However as soon as you start to venture beyond this distance you’ll be using more petrol power, and so the fuel economy will drop. We think the key test is to see what any plug-in hybrid will do at 70mph on the motorway purely on its petrol engine. In the case of the Range Rover Sport P400e, if driven carefully without exceeding 70mph, you could just about manage an average of 30mpg.
After a week of mixed driving – motorways, local trips, A and B-roads, and off-roading – we averaged 42.6mpg from the Range Rover Sport in the real-world. This isn’t great, but equally it’s not too bad for a 2.5 tonne performance-focused 4×4.
The Jaguar I-PACE costs from £63,925. The Range Rover Sport P400e costs from £72,715. Neither can be described as being at the more affordable end of the plug-in car scale, but the I-PACE wins here. However, there’s another big issue: company car Benefit in Kind tax. The BIK for the Range Rover Sport P400e is 18%, which is much lower than the petrol or diesel models, but the BIK for the Jaguar I-PACE for 2020/21 is zero percent. This could help company car drivers save thousands of pounds per year. Taking cheaper fuel costs into account, and fewer maintenance requirements, the Jaguar I-PACE is likely to have much lower running costs.
There’s also the Range Rover Si4 P400e PHEV, and the Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport are both now available as plug-in hybrids, badged P300e, with electric-only ranges of up to 41 miles and CO2 emissions as low as 32g/km.
The Range Rover Sport P400e is a highly impressive vehicle. If you regularly need a car for hardcore off-roading, but you want it to be very refined on the road, then this could be the car for you. Plug-in hybrids get a bad press, but they can work really well for people if they have the right driving cycle – ie. mainly trips of less than 30 miles, with occasional longer journeys – and if they are always charged, and then driven on electric power.
However most people don’t need a vehicle that regularly needs to be tackling serious off-road terrain. If you fall into this category, then the all-electric Jaguar I-PACE offers zero-tailpipe emissions, a fantastic, refined driving experience, massive performance, huge traction, practicality and good looks. If you’re a company car driver, it also has zero percent company car Benefit in Kind tax.
Because it’s an amazingly capable all-round car, with the potential for up to around 30 miles of zero tailpipe emission driving, the Range Rover Sport P400e gains a Green Car Guide rating of 9 out of 10. The Jaguar I-PACE, because it’s an amazingly capable all-round car with zero tailpipe emissions at all times, is awarded a Green Car Guide rating of 10 out of 10.