Since we first drove the Jaguar I-Pace three years ago, an awful lot can happen. Brexit, Covid & a raft of new electric cars have come to market, threatening the electric Jaguar, which in 2018, was well ahead of the pack. So, Jaguar decided to make some improvements to the I-Pace & the updated model made its way to Company Car & Van in late 2021.
What’s new ?
Outside, there’s some subtle trim updates & a new bright pack, which makes the 2021 model visually distinctive from it’s predecessor. Inside, it’s tech updates, with an improved Pivi Pro infotainment system, featuring Pivi Pro Connected inside a 10.25″touchscreen display, with a 12.3″ Interactive Driver Display carried over from before.
Elsewhere, JLR’s Clearsight rear camera system has been added. The system works by feeding a high-definition wide-angle view from a roof-mounted camera onto the rear-view mirror, giving the driver an unobstructed view of the rear. We first experienced this in the Mk2 Evoque & it’s brilliant, if at first a little disconcerting. The image on the mirror is so clear it doesn’t look real & is even better in the dark.
The other main change is with charging. The I-Pace now comes with a new three-phase 11kW inbuilt charger. This means that you can fully charge the battery in just 8.5 hours. Plug-in overnight, to take advantage of discounted night time charging rates now faster than before.
When it came out the I-Pace really stood out from the crowd. Somehow, Jaguar managed to keep the Jaguar ID, for example with the front grille, whilst simultaneously adding a massive air-vent to the bonnet to make the I-Pace more aerodynamic & totally unique. Plainly, they considered the competition & back in 2018, it was Tesla’s Model X. Since then though, the competition, namely the Germans have been catching up, but to be fair to Jaguar, the I-Pace squat & muscular I-Pace still turns heads wherever you go.
We were testing the entry level I-Pace 400PS Electric S which comes very well equipped. It features Luxtec synthetic leather sports seats, 19″ 5 split spoke gloss dark grey alloys, electric cabin pre conditioning, LED head & tail lights, follow me home lighting, flush exterior door handles, Jaguar Drive Control, Pivi Pro connected, a smartphone pack for Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, a Meridian sound system, cruise control, lane keep assist & a rear camera.
Charging equipment includes a 7kW charger cable, which went straight into my Rolec home set up & a multi function 32A charging cable, which will plug in to a domestic socket.
In the cabin
The quality of all of the visible surfaces is excellent. Some nice touches include a light Oyster Morzine headlining, as the cabin can be quite dark, metal tread plates with Jaguar script & an ebony interior.
Passengers will be pleased to know, that there’s generous head & leg room in both the front & rear & the cabin cocoons you in a happy way. You will fit three adult rear passengers into the I-Pace, as leg rooms good, but, three adults together means that shoulder room will be tight.
The centre console has been hollowed out, with a hidden space underneath, just big enough for a small bag. This section also contains two USB charging ports. In the rear, there’s trays beneath the rear seats, which are the perfect size for storing an I Pad or laptop plus, rear passengers also get twin USB ports & a 12v socket. The central armrest has a 10-litre cubby underneath with a further two USB ports inside plus another 12v socket. In front of this there’s two drinks spaces & a clever rectangular fitting for your mobile phone. Both front door pockets are a decent size & will each take a small bottle.
The way that the I-Pace has been designed, means there’s an excellent amount of boot space, with 656 litres on offer. Drop the rear seats down & this goes up to a more than useful 1,453 litres. The two charging cables are stored under the boot’s flat floor & of course, as there’s no engine, you get a few litres of storage space at the front under the bonnet.
Battery & range
The 90kWh battery is installed into the floor of the Jaguar I-Pace & it’s this that makes it so much fun to drive, with the cars 2.2 tonnes of weight spread more evenly across the chassis.
Jaguar claims a range of up to 298 miles, but with the way it handles & a 0-60mph of just 4.5 seconds, we would seriously question this. The I-Pace begs to be driven & as we found out, a range of 190-200 miles on a single charge is more realistic, if you drive in Eco mode rather than in Comfort or in Dynamic. The 90kWh battery which drives the two electric motors to give 4WD, develops 400PS & 696Nm of torque, more than enough to tempt even the most pessimistic petrol-head.
We were able to drive 90 motorway miles from full, which was 268 miles on delivery, whilst seeing the range drop from 268 to 142 miles, which wasn’t a great start. Travelling at over 70mph really does drain the battery, so this all-motorway reading, wasn’t really a surprise.
The good news though, is that once you slow down & drive in urban areas, or on A & B roads, at 30-40mph, the economy improves. The 142 mile range we had left in our battery, actually gave us 128 miles of driving before we were warned to re charge.
Charging & costs
Charging from almost near zero to full using our Rolec 7kWh home charger, took us 10.5 hours & this would work out at a cost of around £12 of electricity, depending on your supplier. As we have an Octopus Go tariff, we were able to utilise the 5p a kWh charged between 00.30 am & 04.30 am, by Octopus Energy, which would reduce the cost to only £4.50. If you don’t have a home charger, you’ll need to plug in the 32A charging cable into a domestic socket. This though, is not to be encouraged as it will take twice as long to charge the battery & will also cost more as well.
Furthermore, w reckoned our £12, bought us approximately 200 miles of range, about two thirds cheaper than it would cost to buy 200 miles in an average family petrol hatchback. Compare the cost to go 200 miles in the kind of petrol powered car that offers the I-Pace’s performance & it’s at the very least three quarters cheaper running on electricity than petrol, a sobering thought & one that many customers will be swayed by.
On the road
Driving in town in a silent car, can be dangerous to pedestrians & so Jaguar have fitted a synthetic soundtrack, which you can adjust from ‘calm’ to ‘dynamic’ to warn unsuspecting passes by that you’re near. The I-Pace is hardly invisible. Moving off is is achieved by pushing the D for Drive button, with an R button for Reverse & a P button for Park. There’s an electric hand brake, which is located on the right side of the steering wheel on the lower part of the dashboard.
The cabin layout & equipment mirrors those found in other Jags & Range Rovers, including the touchscreen infotainment system. This system works well, but it isn’t as large or as much fun as the massive tablet screen or system fitted in the Teslas, or even the Ford Mustang MACH E.
The heating controls are clever. Twist the dial to increase the temperature, push it to engage the electric heated seats or pull it up, to increase the fan speed. The 12.3″ drivers digital display in front of you is also a nice touch.
For the first few days it was with me, I only drove the I-Pace on the motorway & although it’s an excellent motorway companion, driving in relatively straight lines & on a lot of speed restricted sections, it wasn’t giving me the pazzaz I was hoping for. Then, as if by magic, I took the I-Pace out on some local country roads & despite it’s weight of almost 2.2 tonnes, the I-Pace managed to put a massive smile on my face.
As a proper five door SUV, the I-Pace defies convention. It’s not only quick, but offers the driver a sports-car-like experience, with exceptional balance & handling. Speed into a corner & the I-Pace offers little or no body roll, hugging the road & allowing you to enter & exit at speed. A series of S bends presents no problem for this Jaguar & what had at first seemed to me anyway, a Tesla wannabe, proved that it’s so much more. As Jaguar-man, Arthur Daley would have said, ” This is a seriously good motor.” Composed, comfortable, hell it’s even exciting, with the rapid acceleration allowing you to drive with a permanent smile on your face. Factor in the oh-so-comfortable seats & well equipped interior & the I-Pace delivers on many levels.
Still the best car in it’s class to drive. Looks that are still relevant. Excellent interior, both quality & space wise & the addition of new faster charging & software updates do make it better. With zero CO2 emissions, the Benefit in Kind from April 2021 for tax year 2021/22, is 1% across the I-Pace range. Brilliant !
There are other electric cars arriving, that are pushing the I-Pace & it’s not as unique or as on-trend as it once was. Even the entry level model at £65,000 is expensive.
In a world where technology changes faster every day, not least when it comes to electric cars, Jaguar have updated & improved the I-Pace where it needed it most, with tech. Thankfully, they haven’t messed around with the way it drives & it still retains the Jaguar heritage & DNA of old. When it come to price, most I-Pace customers will not buy their car, but will lease it through work or personally, so the monthly cost is more relevant for company car drivers.
Back to the Future 2. 4/5