Jaguar I-PACE EV: Is it still a proper buy for 2022?
Mikko David · Sep 30, 2022 11:00 AM
Can the Jaguar I-PACE, the iconic British sports car brand's first and only battery electric vehicle, go up to Tagaytay and back to Manila with a full charge? This was the challenge posed to us by Coventry Motors Corporation president Chris Ward.
Full disclosure: Jaguar Philippines invited AutoFun.ph to a day trip to Tagaytay to have a taste of the I-PACE along with an early brunch at Dear Joe's coffee shop inside Crosswinds. This is my first time driving the Jaguar I-PACE, and my observations are my own. You are reading this simultaneously as the folks from Jaguar Philippines.
With that out of the way, let's look at what the activity had in store. On paper, the 136-kilometer round trip should be a cinch with the I-PACE's 470-kilometer WLTP range. In fact, it was. From the I-PACE's beginning battery percentage of 98%, as we left the JLR showroom in EDSA, we made it to Tagaytay, had our lunch, did our shoots, and returned to the showroom with 64% charge and 224 kilometers of range left. And the trip even started and ended going through the legendary EDSA traffic. And no, we didn't really plug into the Shell charging station at Mamplasan SLEX on the way back. But it is reassuring for anyone with an EV to have that there.
Easy. The story is done, right? Not quite. As a first-time driver of the Jaguar I-PACE, the feline brand's first luxury-grade dedicated electric vehicle platform, I was interested in discovering what sets it apart from other EVs.
Its PHP 7.69-million price tag puts it at par with the newer BMW iX xDrive40 introduced only this year. The I-PACE does have the 2019 World Car of the Year, World Car Design of the Year, and World Green Car of the Year titles to prefix its name, but two years in the EV world might as well be a decade of development and innovation. Strangely enough, the disadvantage hardly shows in the I-PACE.
As with most pure-EV chassis available today, the dedicated EV platform of the I-PACE has this skateboard layout where the wheels are pushed forward and aft to accommodate the battery pack. With the batteries low on the floor and between the axles, EVs have an inherent handling advantage with their lower center of gravity. And that's what Jaguar was keen to take advantage of with the I-PACE.
"We've got this beautifully well-balanced car," beams Ward as he initially got behind the wheel along EDSA. "We've got a motor at the front and a motor at the back, so we're driving on all four wheels. We have the ability to move power front and back. We've got the same common systems like traction control, stability control, torque vectoring… all the cool stuff you would expect to come from a performance saloon or SUV."
But Ward was honest when he mentioned that the I-PACE was midway between being either. "We're slightly bigger than a saloon, but we're not a full-on SUV. We're kind of in between, aren't we," he adds. Which, for an EV in 2022, isn't a bad thing.
Jaguar engineers and designers took advantage of the skateboard platform and applied the results of market studies from the last decade to come up with a product it thought would resonate with its clientele. The previous two decades have shown that car buyers are looking for a big and tall car to haul the family and perpetuate an active lifestyle while retaining the dynamic handling and road presence of a low saloon car. And that is why crossovers are a dime a dozen now. Every manufacturer has to have them to be relevant.
But vanilla, the I-PACE is not. Like a proper sports saloon from the brand, it has the power and grunt to push you back into your seats during acceleration and the on-road composure to keep you planted as you negotiate twists and turns. The I-PACE has the performance box ticked with its 90 kWh battery pack powering two motors that churn out 400 ps and 696 Nm of torque distributed to all four wheels. And it can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.9 seconds. So it's a proper Jaguar, for sure.
Another thing going for the I-PACE is its adaptive air suspension. Yeah, it's a neat party trick to see the car rise from sports car-low to SUV-high stances, but that's not all the system is good for. Combined with the dual motor set-up, the I-PACE effectively becomes an all-wheel drive machine that can do some off-roading, we're told. And it can even ford up to 508 mm or 20 inches of flood water. This dual personality is probably one of the reasons to get this EV, really. It's like owning two cars in one.
And like any Jaguar, the interiors are just at a whole new level. Everything that my hands, arms, elbows, and bum would make contact with inside the I-PACE was soft and cozy. Attention to detail is found all around the cream-colored interiors, and it is all finished with sophistication as metallic highlights on the dashboard round up the upscale vibe.
The fixed panoramic sunroof, which only had a net to keep our heads away from the sun's heat, reinforced the open space the I-PACE afforded. When seated inside this EV, luxury indeed comes to mind, yet the overall design remained purposeful, dynamic, and modern. The I-PACE has aged well in this regard.
And when it comes to tech, the I-PACE also doesn't fall far from the current breed of EVs. Ionized air conditioning is on hand to reduce airborne bacteria inside the cabin. A full-LCD instrument panel centralizes vehicle operation, navigation, and charging status in front of the driver.
Touchscreen panels mixed with oversized tactile buttons make for a well-balanced interface. A premium-looking and slick operating Pivi Pro infotainment system stylized with thin, classy fonts make interacting menus and settings an elegant affair. Over-the-air system updates are now possible with the latest iteration of the I-PACE sold here. Young and old can sit in front and still get used to the functions and layout of the knobs and switches. "A typical car takes around 1,200 to 1,400 semiconductors; this thing needs 3,000," reveals Ward.
Drive-wise, there's no more drive selector lever or knob, just three buttons labeled D, N, and R, and a separate P button for Park. A sport drive mode is also selectable and heightens the vehicle's response and steering. A regenerative braking system with two driver-selectable levels to help recover braking energy and recharge the batteries also helps top up the energy stores.
One pedal operation is possible, and it's something Ward applies every time he drives the I-PACE around. And when set to high, the regenerative braking system can slow the car to a near halt. However, keeping your foot on the brake pedal is recommended when coming to a complete stop.
So the question remains, is the Jaguar I-PACE still a good buy in 2022, two years after it was launched in the country? With its current price tag, this car is not for everyone. But for that niche market that has the financial capacity to purchase the engineering, technical, and design marvel that is the Jaguar I-PACE, it becomes a question of why not?
As an EV, the I-PACE's servicing costs are lower than conventional gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicles. It comes with Jaguar's complimentary service maintenance, read as free, for five years. And you only have to go for PMS every two years. "We give you the first three scheduled services included with the car. The first one is after two years, the second one is after the fourth year, and the third one is after six years. So you don't have to actually put your hand in your pocket until the eighth year for you to pay for service," reassures Ward.
Add the eight-year warranty for the high-voltage battery, and you know that the I-PACE is in it for the long haul.
At this level, it is not so much what your wallet says. Never mind that even if you order one now, you'll have to wait 120 days at least to get the car. Instead, it is what your heart craves and how much you believe in your green and sustainability advocacies. It is a full-on Battery Electric Vehicle, after all. Add a dash of everyday practicality, a heavy dose of sports car DNA, and even legit SUV-performance creds, and you'll still get a proper Jaguar that's fit for the times.
With an automotive career spanning 27 years as a former touring car racer turned automotive journalist and photographer, Mikko also handled marketing and PR for two major Japanese car brands before finding peace and purpose in sharing his views about cars, driving, and mobility.