2020 Jaguar I-Pace Review

Ron Sessions, Independent Expert | Aug 17, 2020

Introduction - Find the best Jaguar deals!

2020 Jaguar I-Pace front view

Photo: Ron Sessions

Things are changing at Jaguar. The new I-Pace is both the third crossover SUV in what used to be an all sports-sedan and sports-car lineup and the brand’s first all-electric vehicle. The all-electric 2020 Jaguar I-Pace crossover SUV boldly whirrs into a nascent electric vehicle market currently stuck below 2 percent of overall sales in the U.S. And of that, Tesla garners the overwhelming majority of what electric vehicle sales there are.

Current luxury brand electric crossover SUVs in this new space include the Tesla Model X and Model Y as well as Audi’s e-tron.

The field will be rapidly expanding in the next few years as governments in Europe and elsewhere mandate a growing percentage of zero-emission vehicles. Ready for launch in the near future is the Mercedes-Benz EQC, BMW iX3, Ford Mustang Mach E and that’s just for starters. Several Cadillacs, an electric Hummer and many more are just a couple years down the road.

Including the $1,025 destination charge, the 2020 I-PACE lineup consists of the $70,875 S, $77,275 SE, and $81,925 HSE. For this review, J.D. Power evaluated a 2020 I-Pace EV400 HSE equipped with 22-inch alloy wheels, Yulong White Metallic paint, the Premium Interior Protection package, chrome wheel locks, a heated steering wheel, configurable interior ambient lighting, panoramic sunshade, fog lamps, rear seat convenience package and a car care kit. The total including the $1,025 destination and delivery charge was $86,226.

What Owners Say - Find the best Jaguar deals!

Before discussing the findings of our 2020 Jaguar I-Pace evaluation, it’s useful to take a moment and see who the buyer is for this compact luxury electric crossover and what they like the most and least about it.

According to J.D. Power data, 73% of I-Pace buyers are male (vs. 54% for the segment) and have a median age of 57 years (vs. 59 years for the segment as a whole).

In the APEAL survey, owners indicate their favorite aspects of the I-Pace are (in descending order) the powertrain, exterior appearance, driving feel, interior design and driving comfort. Specifically, they rank the following five things about the I-Pace the highest compared to the compact premium SUV segment:

  • Power of the electric motor
  • Smoothness of the electric motor
  • Sound of the electric motor
  • Exterior styling
  • Vehicle feel when started up

Conversely, owners responded that their least favorite things about the I-Pace (in descending order) are getting in and out, safety features, setting up and starting, infotainment and energy efficiency. Specifically, the following five things are ranked lowest by owners in comparison to the premium SUV segment:

  • Vehicle protection
  • Infotainment usability
  • Driving range
  • Using voice assistance
  • Getting the vehicle set up

In the J.D. Power 2020 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, the I-Pace was not ranked due to a small sample size. However, in the 2019 APEAL Study, the electric Jaguar ranked second out of 14 vehicles.

What Our Expert Says - Find the best Jaguar deals!

In the following sections, our expert shares his own perceptions about how the 2020 Jaguar I-PACE measures up in each of the 10 categories that comprise the APEAL Study.

Exterior

2020 Jaguar I-Pace front and side view exterior

Photo: Ron Sessions

The snub-nose, bobtail design of the I-Pace constitutes a brave new look for Jaguar. Compared to the blank-faced Tesla Model X and Model Y, the I-Pace is full of traditional Jaguar design cues, from the prominent Jaguar grille, headlamps and tail lamps to the sculpted body sides, ample wheel arches and sloping roofline. There’s no mistaking the I-Pace for anything other than a Jaguar. And yet the proportions are much different, the I-Pace dispensing with the long nose and classic dash-to-front-axle perspective all Jags have shared for nearly a century.

At nearly 118 inches, the wheelbase of the I-Pace is longer than that of the current Chevrolet Tahoe, while the body of the I-Pace is more than 7 inches shorter bumper-to-bumper than a Honda Accord. There’s no bulky inline gas engine to package in the nose, so designers stretched the cab forward, opening up interior space for passengers and cargo. With the wheels pushed out to the corners, the I-Pace has a planted look featuring a wider rear track than that of the new, mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette. Big wheels, ranging from 18- to optional 22-inches in diameter, underpin the I-Pace, imparting a road-ready attitude.

Interior

2020 Jaguar I-Pace dashboard and interior

Photo: Ron Sessions

The first thing you notice as you approach the I-Pace are its flush door handles, which pop out and present themselves if touched or when you press the unlock button on the remote.

Hop inside and the I-Pace is a mix of new car tech and Old World charm. Unlike the painfully plain and declasse Tesla Model Y cabin, the I-Pace’s interior is appropriately upscale with high-quality soft-touch materials, aluminum accents and bold two-tone color schemes. The highly sculpted seats are available in a choice of leather, faux-leather or a wool-suede blend textile covering.

The instrument panel is equally upscale while celebrating the SUV’s advanced technology with multiple high-definition color screens to display driving and charging metrics, infotainment, climate control and seat adjustments.

Behind the standard leather-wrapped steering wheel lives a digital, 12.3-inch driver-configurable instrument display. It conveys vehicle speed, posted speed limit, available driving range, and can capture a portion of the navigation map.

There is ample storage up front for small items in the door pockets, glovebox and in and under the raised floating center console. Control button clutter is minimal.

Cheering the cabin is a standard panoramic sunroof that runs the full length of the passenger compartment.

Build quality is first rate as you might expect from master Austrian coachbuilder Magna Steyr which assembles the I-Pace for Jaguar in its Graz facility.

Getting In and Out

2020 Jaguar I-Pace backseat getting in and out

Photo: Ron Sessions

Unlike some SUVs, the I-Pace doesn’t require running boards for owners to hike up into the cabin. But the I-Pace still holds true to its sports-sedan and sports-car roots when it comes to the not insignificant bottom seat bolsters that the driver and front passenger must slide over every time they get in or out. At the rear, ingress and egress is a duck-and-slide operation for taller passengers due to the steeply sloping, coupe-like roof.

Unlike the Tesla Model X or Model Y, there is no third-row seat available.

Compared to Audi’s e-Tron crossover SUV, the I-Pace offers slightly less cargo space with 25.3 cubic feet of it behind the rear seat and 51 cu ft with the back seat folded flat. The I-Pace also has a tiny 0.95 cu ft front trunk or “frunk” that’s large enough for a laptop bag or other small valuables.

Setting Up and Starting

2020 Jaguar I-Pace instruments

Photo: Ron Sessions

There’s no secret handshake for starting the I-Pace. Like most other vehicles, depress the brake pedal and push the dash-mounted start/stop button. When the I-Pace is switched on, the dash display immediately shows the battery state of charge and available driving range. And as with most electrics and hybrids, push the Drive or Reverse buttons on the center console to get the I-Pace moving.

Adjust the seat with the power seat controls located outboard of the lower seat cushion. Ironic considering the I-Pace is a luxury electric vehicle, you make tilt and telescope adjustments for the steering wheel with a manual lever.

One setting you’ll want to figure out right away is for regenerative braking and vehicle “creep.” Using the console switch, the driver can choose either high or low levels of regenerative braking. In the high setting, vehicle range is optimized and the driver can reduce use of the brake pedal when slowing down. This setting also reduces vehicle “creep” in traffic.

Pairing a phone via Bluetooth is a breeze using prompts in the center screen. Once that’s done, you can connect your phone via USB and activate Apple CarPlay or Android Auto to populate the center screen with your phone’s favorite icons and apps.

Once you have a phone paired and downloaded the Jaguar InControl Remote app, it’s possible for owners to ask an Amazon Alexa device to check on such things as Jag’s charge status, available range and whether the vehicle is locked.

Some other setup functions are passive. “Smart settings” technology in the I-Pace can learn some of the driver’s preferences for climate control and seat settings and automatically select them adjust them when the keyfob unlock button is pressed.

Infotainment System

2020 Jaguar I-Pace infotainment screen

Photo: Ron Sessions

The test vehicle was equipped with Jaguar’s InControl Touch Pro Duo infotainment system. It uses a pair of touchscreens, a 10-inch unit at the top of the dash for navigation, audio and camera displays and a 5.5-inch one down on the center stack for the dual-zone automatic climate control and seat heating/cooling. The system takes driver input from the touchscreen tiles, capacitive shortcut buttons and steering-wheel and voice controls. Large, tactile-feeling rotary knobs flanking the lower screen adjust climate-control settings.

When selecting a destination, the navigation system uses topography, routing and driving behavior to assist in calculating driving range. It will also display available charging stations along the planned route. In Arrival Mode, it can also suggest parking locations near the chosen destination.

A rich-sounding 380-watt Meridian stereo is standard fare in S and SE models and an upgrade 825-watt premium surround-sound system in the HSE. Onboard 4G LTE Wi-Fi, SiriusXM and HD radio are included. All tuning functions and station pre-sets are on-screen although there is a simple analog rotary knob on the dash for system power and volume.

Software updates for infotainment, telematics and battery charging are delivered wirelessly.

Keeping You Safe

2020 Jaguar I-Pace backup camera for safety

Photo: Ron Sessions

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has published crash test ratings for the 2020 Jaguar I-Pace.

Unlike offerings from several European luxury vehicle makers, the I-Pace comes standard with a modest number of safety and driver-assistive systems. A driver drowsiness monitor, backup camera, lane keeping, auto emergency braking, traffic-sign recognition, a rear traffic monitor and a clear-exit monitor are all standard fare in the base I-Pace S. The clear-exit monitor checks for approaching traffic behind the vehicle so that passengers can safely open a door. Also standard in the I-Pace S is a semi-autonomous park-assist system that can steer the I-Pace in and out of a parking spot.

SE trim adds adaptive cruise control and a blind-spot monitor with steering assist. The range-topping HSE substitutes a 360-degree surround view monitor in place of the base backup camera and brings steering assist to the adaptive cruise control.

Available is a color head-up display that projects vehicle speed, navigation directions and other information on the lower part of the windshield.

Powertrain

Regardless of trim level, all versions of the 2020 Jaguar I-Pace are equipped with all-wheel drive. There are two 197-hp permanent-magnet synchronous electric motors, one each driving the front and rear wheels, for a total of 394 horsepower. Jaguar rounds that up to an easily remembered 400 denoted by an EV400 badge on the rear lift gate.

The combined torque of the two electric drive motors is 512 lb-ft, which can scoot the I-Pace from full stop to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds. That’s competitive with the base versions of the Tesla Model X and Model Y and a full second quicker to 60 mph than the Audi e-Tron.

Driving Range and Charging

2020 Jaguar I-Pace range meter

Photo: Ron Sessions

At a time when the U.S. does not have a robust fast-charging network for electric vehicles other than Teslas, driving range and recharging times loom large in the minds of potential electric-vehicle buyers. Equipped with a large, underfloor 90kW lithium-ion battery, the I-Pace can go a maximum 246 miles on a charge, not quite the 300-plus-mile range offered by the Tesla Model X and Model Y but longer than the Audi e-Tron’s 218.

That’s more than ample for a vehicle used primarily around town but longer road trips taken outside major metropolitan areas or secondary roads require a bit of planning. Making that easier is the charging station finder feature in the I-Pace navigation system. Using a 100 kW DC fast charger on the road, you can give the I-Pace an 80 percent battery recharge from empty in about 40 minutes.

Most owners will choose to charge their I-Pace overnight in the convenience and security of their own home garage using an AC 230-volt/32-amp wall outlet. Topping off an empty or near-empty battery at home this way takes just under 13 hours in 2020 models with a 7.0-kW onboard charger. 2021 models are upgrading to an 11.0-kW onboard charger that drops at-home recharging time down to 8.6 hours. In the unlikely event you are caught out on the road with little driving range, the onboard charger can also be plugged into any common 110-volt electrical outlet to trickle in a few electrons. Recharging the big battery from empty to full this way would take at least a couple days.

Driving Comfort

2020 Jaguar I-Pace climate control hvac

Photo: Ron Sessions

Once inside, the I-Pace offers ample front-seat headroom and legroom that’s more generous than in the Jaguar E-Pace or F-Pace, but rear-seat room is a little cramped. However, the elimination of the transmission hump and driveshaft tunnel that would be in a gas-powered SUV gives the I-Pace a flat floor, making the rear center seating position more usable for adults.

While the generous seat bolstering is supportive, the foam density of the seats is a bit on the hard side, detracting from comfort on longer trips. All front seats have adjustable lumbar support with adjustable-length lower cushions on uplevel trims.

The standard dual-zone automatic climate control is easy to dial in using the dash controls and had no problem keeping the Jag’s cabin dwellers cool and comfortable in 80-degree desert heat. An optional 4-zone system gives rear seat passengers their own controls. Dark-tint privacy glass for the rear doors and cargo area takes the edge off the harsh summer sun.

A heated steering wheel and configurable multi-hue interior ambient accent lighting for the dash, console, door panels and thresholds are optionally available.

The overriding sensations inside the cabin are calm and quiet punctuated by the soothing whirr of the electric motors. Without an internal combustion engine to quell, all electric vehicles are hushed, but the I-Pace benefits from an extensive roster of soundproofing measures that minimizes road sizzle and air rush sounds as well. Sticking to its luxury car roots, Jaguar resisted the temptation to add a selectable Mustang Mach E-like simulated engine performance soundtrack via the audio system.

Driving Feel

With 394 horsepower and 512 lb-ft of torque on tap, the I-Pace doesn’t need to simulate performance. Acceleration is immediate. There’s no transmission to downshift or engine turbo to spool up when you want to overtake another vehicle or merge onto the interstate.

As much fun as it is to dust off unsuspecting Camaros and Chargers at stoplights, the I-Pace is more than just about giddy acceleration that pushes you back in the seat. Underpinned with an aluminum-intensive suspension and near 50/50 front/rear weight balance, the I-Pace feels lighter on its feet than you’d expect from an SUV tipping the scales at just under 2-1/2 tons. The brand’s sports-car DNA reveals itself in the electric crossover SUV’s satisfying steering response and feedback, pinpoint body control and flat cornering due to the low center of gravity afforded by its underfloor battery. Standard self-leveling air springs enable a comfortable ride free of harsh impacts and all-wheel drive delivers worry-free traction. Stopping power from the big 4-wheel discs is impressive, however pedal response can be uneven from one application to the next.

Final Impressions - Find the best Jaguar deals!

2020 Jaguar I-Pace rear view

Photo: Ron Sessions

With sharp styling inside and out, a richly tailored cabin and 247 miles of fossil-free driving range, the all-electric 2020 Jaguar I-Pace delivers a unique blend of luxury and balanced performance that’s been at the core of the brand’s sedans and sports cars for decades. The I-Pace is a stylish alternative to electric crossover SUVs such as the Tesla Model X and Model Y, but widespread acceptance will be largely dependent on the roll out of a fast-charging network, an expensive endeavor whether the cost is borne by government, utility companies or the carmakers themselves (which Tesla has already done for its proprietary system that only works with Teslas).

The I-Pace comes with a bumper-to-bumper 5-year/60,000-mile warranty with complementary maintenance and 24/7 roadside assistance. Its large lithium-ion battery has an 8-year/100,000-mile warranty.

Ron Sessions is a seasoned vehicle evaluator with more than three decades of experience. He has penned hundreds of road tests for automotive web sites, enthusiast magazines, newsletters, technical journals and newspapers.

The opinions expressed in this review are the author’s own, not J.D. Power’s.

No portion of these reviews may be reproduced, distributed, publicly displayed, or used for a derivative work without J.D. Power’s written permission. © 2020 J.D. Power

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