The iconic Jaguar marque has leaped into the future with its first ever purely electric vehicle – the 2019 Jaguar i-Pace EV400, which comes in three grade or trim levels: the base S; upscale SE; and top grade HSE.
Jaguar’s first venture into the SUV marketplace was the Jaguar F-Pace, which was followed by the Jaguar e-Pace – a compact powered by either a turbocharged inline 4-cylinder or a turbocharged V6. Now there’s the ultimate electric small luxury AWD SUV that’s longer, lower and faster than the F and i-Pace models. It clicks off 0-60 mph in a mere 4.5 seconds. The time would be less but for the curb weight of 4,784 pounds – attributable in part to the batteries, which alone weigh 1,329 pounds.
There will be those who will argue that Tesla’s Model X 75D is superior, but the Jaguar i-Pace starts at just over $10,000. less and offers a slightly higher range. Jaguar has long been associated with class and luxury and thereby, obviously has a much broader fan base.
I was afforded the opportunity to review the Jaguar i-Pace EV400 in HSE trim that seats 5 comfortably. The base price of my test vehicle was $80,500., which rose to a final count and amount of $93,630. After factoring in the Carbon Fiber Exterior Pack, the Premium Textile Pack, 22-inch five-spoke alloy wheels with Carbon Fiber inserts, Aluminum Weave Carbon fiber finisher, Head Up Display, Ebony Suedecloth Headliner, Four Zone Climate Control, Adaptive Dynamics, Indus Silver metallic paint, Configurable Ambient Lighting, Activity Key, Adaptive Surface Response, Front Fog Lights, Cabin Air Ionization and Destination and Delivery Charge.
The i-Pace is instantly recognizable as a member of the Jaguar family of luxury vehicles. It sits low over its massive and impressive 22-inch alloy wheels with carbon fiber inserts and is extremely aerodynamic with a CD of 0.29.
The rounded top edge of the grille directs air under the bridge of the hood, out through the functional scoop, up over the sharply raked windshield and roof, and beneath the rear wing, settling the airflow off the car’s tail. There is no rear wiper, as Jaguar explains that this airflow works in effectively clearing moisture from the streamlined rear glass.
The Jaguar design team stretched the greenhouse forward while pushing all four wheels out to the corners. The visual proportions give the I-Pace the initial appearance a small hatchback in photos, but in person, it actually seems much larger. The optional 22-inch wheel and tire combination (Pirelli P-Zero 255/40 R22 103V), result in tires that are 30 inches tall. The wheelbase of the I-Pace is over two inches longer than a BMW X5, with the overall length measuring more than an inch less than an X3. The forward trunk is suitable for a small briefcase, but not much more.
The I-Pace leads off with a large grille that reflects the Jaguar identity but doesn’t do a great deal for the powertrain. There are other airflow intakes that feed air to the heat exchangers. In profile, the Jaguar i-Pace displays a coupe-like presence, with pronounced wheel well arches and suggested fenders that are connected to a character line below the cabin’s shoulder and beltline that dips from the hood and front fender and then rises to flow into the rear haunch, that in turn that culminates into the wide, abbreviated and reverse angled rear end. The rear diffuser is obviously void of exhaust outlets. Front and rear overhangs are extremely short.
COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE
The interior is both simplistic and futuristic as well as being wide and roomy with plenty of headroom up front, but more limited aft. It is well finished and detailed with a symmetrical balance to the Instrument panel. Controls and switchgear are positioned for ease of use, but are not immediately intuitive. The console-mounted, button gear selectors are fine, but in place of a “B” selector for enhanced regenerative braking, there is a setting for low and high regen results. In the high setting, one pedal operation is possible without using the brake except to come to a complete or quick stop. The panoramic roof brightens the entire cabin, adding to its spacious feel. On the non-plus side, I was unable to find the controls for the HUD display for height and brightness level in the system, the touchscreen response could be quicker, and the visors need to be extendable to be really effective in the side position.
The motive force for the i-Pace is provided by two separate electric motors – one for each axle, with a 90kWh Battery Pack The horsepower rating is 394 at 4,250 rpm, while the available torque is 512 pound feet from 0 rpm. Energy from the electric motors is delivered to the driving wheels via a Concentric Single-Speed Automatic Transmission with selectable Drive Modes. At light load speed under 30 mph, the I-Pace utilizes only the rear-axle motor, for both efficiency and reduced NVH. When accelerating, the front motor engages and internal speakers generate an artificial noise (called Active Sound Design) that increases in tone with speed. The sound generated is a combination of a thrum and a whir, but may be turned off by switching from Dynamic to Calm for a more serene driving experience.
Driving the 2019 Jaguar i-Pace EV400 HSE is pure pleasure, once familiarization of the systems is accomplished. Upon startup, the most commonly used and default drive mode is the Comfort mode. Selectable Eco and Dynamic modes are accessible through buttons on the right side of the center console.
Air springs are standard and can raise the body 2.0 inches as an off-road mode as well as lower it 1.6 inches for entry and exit. At speeds in excess of 65 mph, the I-Pace lowers automatically by 0.4 inch improving aerodynamics. Given the car’s ground clearance and low mounted battery weight, the car’s stability in cornering is admirable. The ride quality is firm but comfortable and compliant.
Acceleration is rocket-like off the line, as with most electric vehicles, but the i-Pace seems smoother and more predictable. The top speed is 124 mph at which rate will also rapidly deplete the maximum range of 240 miles. Steering response is positive and delivers an on-center feel with the fat three-spoke suede-covered steering wheel.
The EPA Mileage Estimates are 80 mpg city / 72 mpg highway and 76 mpg Combined. Estimated charging times vary by the charging method: AC Charge Time Domestic 0-80% -7kW (single Phase 230V.32A)= 10.1 hrs or 12.9 hrs for 100% charge; DC Charge Time Commercial 50 kW = 85 minutes; DC Charge Time Commercial 100kW=40 minutes. The i-Pace accommodates the standard SAE J1772 combined charging system for AC and DC charging.
Bottom line, the 2019 Jaguar i-Pace ev400 HSE may well rank as “King of the Hill” in the electric luxury SUV department for now, but the segment is growing as we speak with examples coming on the horizon from Audi with their Q6 e-tron, the Mercedes-Benz EQ, and Porsche’s Taycan EV. For now, the i-Pace is the first electric to be delivered by a traditional vehicle manufacturer, and it is unquestionably competitively priced with an impressive level of refinement and crisp driving dynamics.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2019 Jaguar i-Pace EV400 HSE
Base Price: $80,500.
Price as Tested: $93,630.
Engine Type and Size: Dual Electric motors with 90kWh Battery Pack
Horsepower (bhp): 394 @ 4,250 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 512 @ 0 rpm
Transmission: Concentric Single-Speed Automatic with selectable Drive Modes.
Drive Train: Two electric motors – one for each axle- AWD.
Suspension: Front – Dual wishbone and air springs.
Rear – Integral multi-link and air springs.
Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs with regenerative braking, ABS, ESC and Driveline Traction Control.
Tires: Pirelli P-Zero – 255/40 R22 103V mounted on 5-machine face “Geo-spoke” aluminum alloy wheels with carbon fiber inserts.
Wheelbase: 117.7 inches
Length Overall: 184.3 inches
Width: 84.2 inches – with mirrors / 74.6 inches without.
Height: 61.3 inches
Curb Weight: 4,784 lbs.
Turning Circle: 39.3 ft.
Fuel Capacity: No fuel – all electric
EPA Mileage Estimates: 80 mpg city / 72 mpg highway – combined=76 mpg
Drag Coefficient: 0.29
0 – 60 mph: 4.5 seconds – Top speed=124 mph
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.