When we first got into an electric car back in 2015, Nissan’s Leaf proved to be a fun drive but delivered this sporty performance along with plenty of range anxiety. Its 30kW battery delivered 172 km at most. A lot has happened in the last six years as Jaguar’s I-PACE cures buyers of their range anxiety and does so while delivering an exhilarating ride, luxurious and tech-filled cabin, and eye-catching looks.
The 2020 Autotrader/SAGMJ SA Car of the Year competition winner (the first time an electric vehicle has taken the coveted title) was without a doubt one of the most head-turning vehicles we’ve reviewed with lots of admiring glances, people pointing, and interested bystanders coming up to ask how the acceleration is, range it delivers is, or simply to remark on the sublime, unique styling. Design flare touches include Tesla-esque door handles that pop out when you unlock the car and Haval-inspired exterior lighting that displays the Jaguar logo at night on the ground next to the door. More original design elements include a flowing waistline, dramatic bonnet scoop, and signature rear haunches, along with a low drag coefficient of 0.29Cd, making it highly aerodynamic to enhance the driving range.
Said range is up to 470km on the WLTP cycle, which is easily enough for communicating within a whole week if you live within 30 km of your work (and are not working remotely during lockdown). It’ll still be enough even in winter when you will be making use of the climate control and seat heaters to keep warm. Performance in terms of handling and acceleration is excellent, thanks to the low centre of gravity with the battery pack, slippery profile, and instantaneous electric torque. The 294kW electric powertrain enables you to accelerate the sporty SUV from standstill to 100km/h in 4.8 seconds. While you are able to use a domestic (home) charging cable that comes with the I-PACE to easily charge your new vehicle at home (the slowest option that you have to do overnight), you can opt for the faster public charging cable to use over an ever-growing number of public charging points to keep your I-PACE charged on the go, and supports much snappier charging speeds. We used ones at Brooklyn Mall (with dedicated parking close to the mall entrance) as well as at Menlyn Mall in Pretoria East.
Inside the cabin, you get a real sense of luxury thanks to the leather, soft-touch materials, quality feel and build, as well as classy materials like aluminium, red leather inserts, and dollops of up-to-date technology. This includes a head-up display and modern infotainment system that supports both Android Auto and Apple Car Play.
The SUV is also quite practical in terms of headroom and legroom for both fronts as well as rear passengers. The rear passengers have their own fast-charging points (USB-C), and independent aircon controls. Beyond that, you also get lots of storage places dotted around the cabin, a good rear loadspace of more than 1,453 litres and 27 litres in the front storage compartment, however, both compartments are impeded by the fact that you need to front storage area to keep your charging cables while much of the boot is taken up by the spare wheel. You can leave the cable at home if you are fully charged and leave the tyre also in your garage if you are brave enough.
Ultimately, Jaguar’s I-PACE sets a new standard for electric vehicles and makes us truly excited for the future of cars, so much so that we can imagine not even missing those high-revving V8 powerplants in today’s muscle cars or V10 soundtracks of supercars. It is not only our favourite electric vehicle we’ve tested but the best car altogether. You can drive the future of mobility today at a starting price of R1 999 900.