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Jaguar I-Pace — long-term review

Is the Jaguar I-Pace actually an SUV?

Specification:
Jaguar I-Pace
Engine:
2 electric motors, 90kWh battery
Claimed MPG:
3.5kWh per mile, 258 miles
Performance:
0–62mph in 4.8secs, 124mph
Weight:
2208kg
Price:
£69,995 OTR/ £78,490 as tested/ £785pcm

Everyone calls the I-Pace the Jaguar electric SUV. Everyone is wrong, really. 

OK it’s definitely a Jaguar. It’s big and stylish and sporty and like nothing else, which makes it exactly what Jaguar wants to be. It feels far more of a Jaguar than a Supra does a Toyota. I mention the Supra only because neither is built by their ‘manufacturer’. They both issue from the MagnaSteyr plant in Austria.

And yes it’s definitely electric. It its time with us so far its filler flap has ingested about 2.2GWh of electricity and not a drop of liquid hydrocarbon.

But SUV? No, not really. I just hopped into it from a Renault Captur, which has the height of a mini crossover never mind a hulking SUV. And yet the Jaguar’s seating position feels like a single-seater in comparison – lower, snug, reclined.

The small and blessedly circular suede-alike steering wheel helps. So does the brilliant torso-hugging bucket seat. Despite the slab of battery between you and the road, you’re right down in the action.

Along an interesting road, it’ll behave like a sporty AWD saloon. It’s been fun in winter, feeling the way it balances power to the front and rear, allowing you to dance subtle slip angles. The well-contained roll and fluent steering join in.

But like a good SUV everyone has enough headroom, and there’s masses of legroom in the back. Boot’s smaller though: rather shallow.

From the outside its proportions are unique. The silhouette – short nose and fast tail – could almost be from a sporty front-drive hatch. Except they couldn’t because the wheelbase is so long. I think the Jaguar looks absolutely terrific and very refreshing.

Thing is, the short bonnet means you’ve got nothing to aim along. It’s not an issue on country roads because the steering is so natural and progressive. But in narrow city streets, it is unsettling.

Especially because this thing is so wiiiiiide. The body is 201cm with the mirrors folded in, which gives a sense of the distance between its outer wheel faces. An issue when you’re trying to squeeze between the kerbs of one of the many 6ft 6in width restrictors that lie in wait around my place. Because 6ft 6in is 198cm.

Fortunately the I-Pace has a killer app. Little cameras sit under the wing mirrors, aimed at the front wheels, their display available on the centre screen. So you can point the wheels unerringly between the entrapping kerbs.

It’s super-handy, although if you’re in CarPlay you have to jab at the screen several times as you nervously line up the obstacle (Apple home -> Jaguar -> cameras -> select camera -> side cameras -> dismiss menu). I had a Kia Stinger with the same feature and it had a dedicated hard button on the console.

Actually with this 20-inch wheel option the tyres have a little fat that overhangs the rims, so a gentle kiss of the kerb (gentle mind) does no harm. Oh, one more thing: why are the parking spaces lotted to electric-car charging posts mostly so small? Did someone paint around a Mitsubishi i-MiEV?

What do you think?

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