Jaguar I-PACE (2022) Review: A Different Beast

Ask any average South African motorist about electric vehicles (EVs) and most are intrigued by the technology. This is then usually followed up with a comment about how they’ll never work in SA given the ongoing energy crisis.

While there is indeed some merit to that argument, there are a handful of carmakers that have continued to launch EVs locally, one of which is Jaguar. The company was one of the first to bring luxury all-electric SUVs into the country via the I-PACE, and this month we got the chance to explore and review a highly specced 2022 model.

It is worth noting that a 2023 update is also on the cards for later this year, but there is still enough on offer here to get stuck into.

So let’s do precisely that.

We start, as always, with the aesthetics.

Putting the sports in SUV

While many EVs can be hit or miss in the design department, either trying to lean to heavily in distinguish the cars as being electric, the I-PACE looks every inch the luxury British SUV. In fact, in the Farallon Pearl Black colour option the review model comes in, this I-PACE is definitely giving off K.I.T.T vibes.

We’d actually venture to say it looks more striking and athletic than the Jaguar F-PACE, which is for all intents and purposes, its petrol guzzling cousin. As such, for those who are looking for an EV, but also want a car that turns heads for the right reasons, the I-PACE certainly does the job.

The blacked out wheels, model decals, Jaguar badge, and red accents also help to up the coolness factor of this car, although many of those elements are paid for extras on this particular model.

Speaking of price, as this is an EV, along with being a Jaaaag, it does not come cheap, with the base price listed at R2 029 800. With all the tricked-out extras on this review model, which we will touch on shortly, the total price for this specific unit is R2 247 360.

This brings us to the one key aspect of this car – it is not for everyone. We’re not talking about its pricing, as there are plenty of expensive cars on South African roads (just head to a private school in Sandton), but its all-electric nature means you have to have the right environment to make use of such a car.

Not wanting to sound like an ad here, but when you buy the Jaguar I-PACE you’re not simply buying a car, you’re buying a lifestyle. For South Africans, that means knowing precisely when, where, and how you plan to charge it. It means that if you don’t have a dedicated setup at home outside of a generic wall plug in your garage, you also need to consider using services like GridCars and its network of charging stations.

We’ll be looking into the feasibility of that service in a future feature, but for now, access to Jaguar’s GridCars plans proved crucial in reviewing and driving the I-PACE.

Powering this EV is a 90kWh lithium-ion battery, which is used to deliver 294kW of power and 696Nm of torque. We’ll get to speed shortly, but in terms of driving range, a fully charged battery offers a range of between of 409km to 470km. This of course is heavily impacted by your driving style, with lead foots yielding a far shorter range.

In our experience, and driving within the speed limit, we mustered four full days before visiting a GridCars charging station in Sandton City to replenish the battery. It took about 45 minutes to add 60 percent more charge, so if you select one of the higher capacity units, there is not a long wait before you’re ready to go again.

That said, no matter how fast, it will never quite match the convenience of going to a petrol station and filling your car with fossil fuels.

Addictive and immediate speed

When driving the I-PACE you’re always glancing at the digital instrument cluster, namely to see what percentage the battery is and what driving range you have left. It is a natural habit, and likely one you’ll never quite shake, as is the fact that you’re acutely aware of when you should and should not put the acceleration to the test.

Sticking with the speed, the I-PACE has an intoxicating amount of it. The 0-100km/h time according to Jaguar is 4.8 seconds, with a limited top speed of 200km/h. What strikes us most, and this is the result of the substantial torque on offer, is how rapid the acceleration is when you put your foot down.

We’d go so far as to describe it as violent, along with being incredibly addictive.

There is also a quiet confidence that comes with driving the I-PACE, as you know the speed and power is there when you need it. We also mean quiet quite literally as the lack of sound as you’re accelerating towards 100km/h can prove a little jarring at first. The only real soundtrack you have is the whirring of the electric motor and the rush of wind against the car’s body.

Should you wish to enjoy other sounds, the Jaguar I-PACE is well-appointed, as the Pivi Pro infotainment system sits centrally on the main touch-enabled console. We’re familiar with this system now, having interacted with it on newer Land Rover Defenders.

A key difference, however, is a Merdian-tuned speaker setup, which yields an impressive in-cabin listening experience. The usual bevvy of climate controls, wireless charging pad and other bells and whistles feature on this specced-out model, all befitting a R2 million luxury SUV.

Final verdict

The Jaguar I-PACE is a truly impressive SUV. Take its all-electric core out of the equation and it is a supremely luxurious vehicle that has plenty of power to complement its panache. That said, the all-electric elements make this an entirely different beast altogether.

While some EVs are eager to keep things restrained in order to conserve battery power, the I-PACE is eager to go faster. Added to this is the fact that when you do put your put down, the power is immediate and something you can’t get enough of.

We would cite price as an issue, but as it is both an EV, as well as a luxury British SUV, it was never going to be “affordable”. The only other aspect to note is that buying a car like this requires a very particular lifestyle. If you’re happy to constantly run calculations on how much juice you have left, or where you’d need to recharge if travelling outside of the province, the I-PACE serves up a brilliantly sporty experience.

As mentioned, however, while everyone can enjoy what the I-PACE has to offer, it is not for everyone.



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