Quick Drive: Is the Jaguar I-Pace still appealing now its rivals have hit the scene?

Darren Cassey, PA Motoring Reporter
·3-min read

In the premium car segment, the big names are the German three – BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi.

However, punching above its weight is Jaguar Land Rover, which sells a fraction of the cars of its rivals yet doesn’t fall too far behind in the desirability stakes. And when the I-Pace was revealed back in 2018, it seemed the British firm had got a jump on the competition.

Jaguar I-Pace
Despite large wheels the I-Pace rides well

Because although Tesla was doing its own thing with electric vehicles, no one else offered an electric SUV at that point. Yet here was Jaguar, rocking up with a gorgeous alternative to America’s EV while the Germans still had nothing on the table.

Two years later and it’s a different story. Tesla’s still making the Model X, but Mercedes now offers the EQC, Audi has the e-tron, and the BMW iX3 should be on the road by this time next year.

Jaguar I-Pace
The I-Pace beat many competitors to the market

As such, Jaguar has given the I-Pace a facelift to take it into 2021 and keep up with the new kids on the block. Changes are minimal, but the key upgrades are the brilliant new Pivi Pro infotainment system and faster home charging.

There are also some exterior design tweaks, a new 3D surround camera, upgraded connectivity and over-the-air update capabilities.

Jump inside and the I-Pace feels huge. The passenger door looks miles away, the dashboard is expansive and the windscreen ahead is so huge I dread to think how much it costs to replace.

Jaguar I-Pace
Jaguar’s new Pivi Pro system represents a big step forward over the older infotainment

Out on the road the I-Pace doesn’t shrink around you, either, It feels big, but also incredibly heavy. All electric vehicles are heavy because of the batteries, but when you pick up the pace there’s a real sense of heft despite a lack of roll in corners, while the brakes feel like they’re working overtime reigning in proceedings.

However, the electric motors provide exhilarating acceleration. Despite its size the instant torque from the motor positively catapults you forward, feeling punchier than its 395bhp/696Nm output indicates.

Jaguar I-Pace
The heating controls are located lower down the dash

The spacious cabin makes it an extremely comfortable place to be for longer journeys, the interior feels suitably upmarket, and the new Pivi Pro infotainment is a huge improvement. With almost 300 miles of range it’s not just the top-notch refinement that makes it the perfect road trip companion.

The interior lacks some of the futuristic sparkle of rivals, but in some ways that’s actually welcome. It has all the technology you could want, but doesn’t feel the need to shout about it. It’s just like driving any other high-end Jaguar.

Jaguar I-Pace
The rear of the car features ‘chichane’ style lights

So how does it compare to rivals? Despite being on sale for two years, the design still looks fresh, and the technology updates inside mean you’re not left wanting in this regard.

Perhaps the only criticism for keen drivers is just how big and heavy it feels. Rivals do a better job of hiding their weight, providing more agility to go with that firecracker electric acceleration.

For those looking for a stylish, practical, premium electric family SUV, the Jaguar I-Pace is still an appealing option.