Driven | Jaguar I-PACE

The all-electric Jaguar I-PACE was awarded the coveted 2020 AutoTrader South African Car of the Year title earlier this year and we were rather eager to see why.

Right off the bat, they got something right with the I-PACE as they stuck very close to the original concept first seen back in 2016 which means the styling is perfectly judged for our times as not too many individuals will turn their noses up at a sporty-looking crossover.

Climb into the I-PACE and you are greeted with a completely EV appropriate interior with three digital screens (one in front of the driver, a large top central screen containing navigation info, and a lower central screen displaying climate control).

No gearbox in this Jag so no traditional gear lever either instead you select ‘D’ and in typical electric car fashion you’re underway immediately, silently, and smoothly.

What struck us immediately was just how refined it is. The ride is extremely comfortable, and the steering is responsive and well-weighted. It handles pretty well too for a heavy car thanks to the 90kWh battery resting within the floor, between the axles, giving a low centre of gravity and near-perfect weight distribution.

Power is sent to all four wheels which allows for rapid linear acceleration. Jaguar claims you will be at 100 km/h in just 4.8 seconds but it feels drastically faster than that as all 696 Nm of torque is available the instant you bury the throttle. Get off the throttle and in the most aggressive regenerative braking setting you will hardly need to touch the brake pedal at all.

With no engine noise, you pay particular attention to the road and wind noise both of which are well contained. Depending what ‘noise’ mode you are in and how vigorously you drive, the electric motors are either near-silent or make a sound like the Starship Enterprise going into warp speed.

Drive it normally and you can expect to get up to 470 km on a single charge which is plenty for the average commute in South Africa and if you plug it in overnight with 50% or more charge to your household plug, it will be back to 100% overnight.

The Jaguar I-PACE is a tad too expensive (in South Africa) to convert thousands of people into electric motoring alone but just a short sting with this EV has given us our first legitimate desire to owning such a creation one day.

One look at the classifieds and you can find the new ones going for around R1,8m but if you are happy with a second-hand one with a little more mileage, you can get yourself a seriously good EV for R1,2 million.

Living with the I-PACE confirmed how desirable this car is, and also how practical it is. The electric driving experience with an instant response, rapid acceleration, virtual silence, massive refinement, and of course zero emissions really is rather enticing over petrol or diesel especially as a daily.

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