The sensationally styled Jaguar I-Pace is no electron-powered curiosity. Sure, it has a battery pack and electric motors and you refuel it by jamming a plug into one fender, but this wedge-y crossover thing transcends the EV niche by being a driver-focused vehicle with a dazzling amount of athleticism.
To preserve its charge, we didn’t put the I-Pace on the racetrack, but its dynamic virtues became clear on the sinewy roads of our high-desert test route. There’s huge grip on hand, the sensation of stability enhanced by the heavy battery pack being mounted in the floor. Excellent damping delivers a ride that’s sporty but never punishing even on massive wheels, and playing against type, the electric steering transmits real, actual road textures to your fingertips.
“It’s hard not to be impressed by the polish of the I-Pace, and to think they’ve beaten the Germans to the punch so convincingly is incredible,” contributor Jethro Bovingdon said. Detroit editor Todd Lassa concurred: “It drives like a Jaguar should, smooth and with crisp handling and loads of instant torque.” Executive editor Mac Morrison added, “I’d love to drive this car every day for a year. Electric-drive aside, this is what I had hoped the F-Pace would be.”
The I-Pace is also a great luxury vehicle. The interior is simple and uncluttered, “eschewing trendy carbon fiber and quilted upholstery,” in the words of contributor Ronald Ahrens, with comfortable seats, great forward sightlines, and easily decipherable controls and readouts. And once you shut off the gimmicky faux-spaceship sounds, it’s utterly serene even as you unleash the electric fury of 394 horsepower and 512 lb-ft of torque. Fully charged, the I-Pace offers up to 234 miles of range, enough to handle the daily grind without the need to find a plug.
Given the above, you may be wondering why Jaguar’s first-ever EV didn’t make our ultimate winner’s circle. It boiled down to this: Too many of us weren’t able to drive the I-Pace long enough to conduct a proper evaluation. There were no fast chargers available near our testing location, which meant a full charge took almost an entire day. In addition, a plastic pin in the charging connector was broken and prevented the I-Pace from engaging its charge mode dependably. We’d be remiss if we didn’t also mention the lesser sin that is the infotainment system; it’s buggy and temperamental and slow to react even when working properly.
Still, that such a well-rounded EV comes from a company once cool with its flagship sedan looking essentially the same for four decades is nothing short of astounding. It’s a shame we couldn’t spend more quality time with the I-Pace, as it truly is one of the best vehicles on sale today—electric or not.
2019 Jaguar I-Pace Specifications
|PRICE||$81,495/$88,840 (base/as tested)|
|MOTOR||Dual synchronous; 394 hp, 512 lb-ft total system power; 90-kWh lithium-ion battery pack|
|LAYOUT||4-door, 5-passenger, front- and rear-motor, AWD crossover|
|EPA MILEAGE||180/72 mpge (city/hwy), 234-mile range|
|L x W x H||184.3 x 74.6 x 61.3 in|
|0–60 MPH||4.5 sec|
|TOP SPEED||124 mph|