Browse over 9,000 car reviews
What's the difference?
What sets the most iconic Jaguars apart?
Here’s a theory. Consider history’s greatest: the 1948 XK, its 1961 E-Type replacement and the first XJ of 1968. We’re talking about a grand tourer, sports car and luxury sedan respectively that broke ground in each of their segments.
Despite being a sales disappointment, let’s add the 2018 I-Pace to this elite group.
Like the others, it was a pioneer, this time in the luxury electric vehicle (EV) SUV field, beating most competitors and seemingly influencing newer ones ever since, from the excellent Kia EV6 to the coming Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV.
Now, five years and a comprehensive update later, we revisit the 2023 I-Pace to see if it’s still a standout.
Range Rover has developed a bit of an image problem in the last few years.
To many the brand is still the face of a quintessentially British aspirational luxurious off-roader. But to a growing group, it has become synonymous with the concept of an environmentally reckless fuel-guzzling SUV.
The trouble is, customers love them, and while the I-Pace from sister brand Jaguar is a big leap into the future, there needs to be a happy medium for easing some of its existing customers away from combustion, while still offering the kinds of excess and aspirational performance the Range Rover brand is associated with.
Is it the right car to represent Range Rover’s entry-level model at a critical time of technological transformation? Let’s take a look.
In the 1960s Jaguar used to promote its range as providing “grace, space and pace”. Nowadays, the I-Pace may as well also be known as the I-Grace and I-Space, because all three terms still ring true.
Jaguars were never cheap but the greatest hits felt like exceptional value because they were special. The same applies here. Five years might seem like an eternity, but age has not yet wearied the British luxury EV SUV nearly as much as you might imagine. Especially when optioned up as per our test vehicle.
Bereft of any post-modern brand baggage, the I-Pace remains a modern great. If only more buyers would catch on to that.
The Range Rover Evoque is more highly specified and more luxurious than ever, and this plug-in hybrid version makes the most of what’s on offer with its slick but familiar feel from behind the wheel.
Unfortunately, it does have an eye-watering price tag to go with its classy design and the options list is a bit rude, all things considered, but the core offering is a solid luxury buy for city-slickers, nonetheless.
What makes the Evoque P300e stand out for me is its impressive EV driving range and excellent charging specs which make it as convenient as possible to make the most of its electrified features.
It’s up to the buyer whether these conveniences and the Range Rover badge are worth swapping into a car a full size down from its luxury plug-in rivals for the same money.
Five years on, from the bold cab-forward silhouette to the high-riding crossover proportions, the I-Pace is a distinctive and handsome machine, offering progressive, flowing aerodynamics that have as much to do with function as they do with form. This is an out and proud EV.
But there’s the rub. Perhaps the disappointing sales reception is down to it being too removed from what many consumers might expect a Jaguar to look like.
Grille-aside, there isn’t enough connection with stablemates like the woefully-underrated XE or F-Pace, while traditionalists – many of them Americans – wanting classic XJ or XK retro schtick are also plum out of luck. Cover the badge and the styling could be from any (forward-thinking) carmaker.
Or maybe it’s because the I-Pace, whose body is 94 per cent aluminium to help offset the weight of the batteries, looks compact in photos, like a crossover hatchback, when in reality it is surprisingly large, belying its sleek styling by packing in plenty of space inside.
Speaking of which, let’s take a closer look.
The Evoque has always been a car all about its sleek, city-slicking design, an iconic piece of modern SUV art from Jaguar Land Rover head of design, Gerry McGovern.
With its shapely proportions, clever descending roofline, and a silhouette which successfully reflects a miniaturised version of the Range Rover, the Evoque is at once classy with a faint suggestion of toughness under the skin.
The blacked-out grille, slimline headlights, and contemporary strip across the tailgate all serve to add intrigue to this SUV, and the extra detailing in the front bumper, shapeliness of the bonnet, and contrast black trims (with extra contrast panels on our test car matching the gloss black wheels) serving to add to its premium appeal.
It’s important to remember, while the Evoque slides into a busy small SUV landscape now, it was one of the first to make a premium car so successfully appealing in this small SUV space way back in 2011 with the first Evoque, following Land Rover’s historic trend of being in front of the SUV curve.
Attention to detail, like the silver bezels which adorn the centre console and media screen, add to the premium flair which lifts the Range Rover badge above the Land Rover one, and I do like the way the additional function screen seamlessly melts into the piano finish and integrated dials. While it’s always a nightmare to keep gloss piano finishes clean, it looks oh-so primo.
It’s a little odd the P300e has analogue dials, which seems to miss the premium edge which a fully digital dash might provide although the 7.0-inch centre dash screen has a great resolution and speed, as well as a mostly well laid out operating system.
I found the R-Dynamic modes, which can sharpen up the accelerator response and steering buried two menus deep, unnecessarily hard to find, as were various EV information screens and other less important functions.
Yes, compared to the vast mega screens invading most new models of today, the I-Pace’s dashboard layout is looking, well, off the pace. On first glance at least, this is definitely a product of the previous decade.
But as far as design elegance and functionality are concerned, Jaguar seems to have created a timeless piece of crafted automotive interior architecture that – consequently – holds up very well.
Or, in other words, the I-Pace provides a welcome sanctuary away from the infuriating folly of today’s faddish, fiddly and infuriatingly distracting touchscreen interiors. Maybe some old-school XJ smarts live on in this EV after all.
Look past the dated dashboard design, and the cabin’s overriding impression is of solidity and quality. No cheap plastics or rough surfaces here, just restrained luxury.
While electronic displays with very-analogue-style dial options amid digital driving data take care of the instrumentation ahead of the driver, a modestly-sized touchscreen is set at a lower plain so as to not dazzle and distract the job of vehicle controlling with data-overload, while under that is smaller display for climate control. More on that later.
While it still plays the role of Range Rover’s smallest SUV, the current Evoque is much bigger than the car it replaced in 2019. I would go so far as to say it’s deceptively large on the inside.
Front occupants are treated to a cabin which now feels almost as wide as an actual Range Rover, with plenty of room for elbows on either side, which are, of course, met by lovely soft-touch surfaces.
The raised console helps with the upmarket feel, as does the plush dash. The standard 14-way adjust front seats help to accommodate most passengers, with my only criticism being the large A-pillars and height of the dash can make it feel a little bit claustrophobic compared to some rival luxury SUVs.
Storage is offered through a set of large door pockets, a centre console box, dual bottle holders behind the shift lever, and a healthy nook underneath the climate controls, which also hosts a wireless charging bay.
The rear seats share the same comfortable rim as the front ones, and also have large pockets in the doors. Despite the descending roofline, I had just enough room for my head at 182cm tall although it is notable the space in the PHEV feels smaller with the raised floor needed to accommodate the batteries.
I had a little airspace for my knees behind my own driving position, too. The main drawback for rear passengers is the large transmission tunnel, making it difficult to accommodate an adult in the centre position.
There are adjustable air vents for rear passengers, but it is frustrating Land Rover has chosen to make rear USB-C charging ports an arbitrary $270 option.
The boot is also deceptively large for such a small SUV, measuring in at 472 litres (VDA), it’s above average for the small SUV class and fits the full CarsGuide luggage set, provided you remove the parcel shelf as it's just a smidge too high.
You'll also need to keep your charging cables in the boot, as there's no underfloor storage, the entire space being taken up by a space-saver spare wheel.
Unveiled for the 2021 model year elsewhere but finally released just this year in Australia, the updated I-Pace EV400 (denoting the maximum power output in braked horsepower) brings minor visual changes, but more important ones underneath, too.
Most noteworthy are a larger onboard charger (from 7.0kW to 11kW) to substantially increase charging times, an advanced new-from-the-ground-up multimedia system, improved climate control, better surround-view camera options including integration with the rear-view mirror (dubbed 'ClearSight') and wireless charging updates.
They help smother some of the Austrian-built Jaguar EV’s wrinkles against a growing army of fresher alternatives, including the EV6, Audi e-tron (soon to gain the Q8 prefix), BMW iX, Lexus RZ and Mercedes-Benz EQC.
Other goodies included a fixed panoramic roof ($3580), adaptive dampers ($2405), four-zone climate control ($1820), carbon-fibre trim finish ($1521), that ClearSight rear-view mirror ($1131), full-colour HUD ($1040), Privacy Glass ($845) and no-cost 'premium textile' (non-animal derived) upholstery.
The point is, to specify your I-Pace to what you see in our images, you’ll need to add nearly $20K to an already hefty starting price.
This is par-for-the-course for most premium brands, though paying extra for cupholders, a HUD and rear-seat climate control when some carmakers include them seems mean at these prices.
While we’re on the topic of excess, the Evoque HSE P300e certainly reflects it in the price tag. This plug-in starts from a whopping $105,060 price-wise putting it in the same league as luxury PHEV rivals a full size up.
Because there are no small luxury segment small SUVs in this league currently, we’re in fact forced to compare the Evoque to cars like the Volvo XC60 Recharge (from $100,990), BMW X3 xDrive30e ($107,000), or the particularly good-value Lexus NX 450h+ (from $88,323).
All are larger than our Evoque here, so it’s automatically at a disadvantage, and as is the usual case with Land Rover products, there’s an extensive and occasionally rude options list which can add thousands more to the price.
It’s nice to see the Matrix LEDs as standard here, as well as a swish set of screens and a premium feeling interior. But it’s also frustrating things like digital radio ($520), a head-up display ($1690), data plan ($1040), and USB-C for the rear seats ($351) are optional on a car north of $100,000, especially since most of these are standard on its rivals.
One major catch is how long you might be waiting for one. Some dealer sources tell us customers will need to wait up to 12 months for delivery at the time of writing, so be prepared for this if you want one.
Built around a standalone architecture with no internal combustion engine versions, the I-Pace EV400 is fitted with two permanent magnet synchronous electric motors – one above the front axle and one located on the rear axle. Each produces 150kW of power and 348Nm of torque, for a system output total of 294kW and 696Nm.
Tipping the scales at 2226kg, this means the EV400 has a power-to-weight ratio of a very healthy 132kW/tonne, helping this electric crossover cross the 100km/h marker in 4.8 seconds, on the way to a top speed of 200km/h.
With a single-speed transmission sending torque to a motor on each axle, the I-Pace has permanent all-wheel drive.
Nowadays, the standard wheel size in the SE is 245/50R20, though ours was fitted with 255/40R22 – along with air suspension and adaptive dampers. These profoundly alter ride comfort. Towing capacity is 750kg braked or unbraked.
Ground clearance is usually 174mm, but with the air suspension, that increases to a handy 241mm in its maximum height setting. At speeds over 105km/h I-Paces with air suspension drop a further 10mm to aid efficiency. Which brings us to…
The Evoque now sports Jaguar Land Rover’s hybridised ‘Ingenium’ engine family across the range, and the set-up which appears in the plug-in hybrid model might be the most interesting.
It consists of a 1.5-litre three-cylinder combustion engine which is said to produce 147kW/280Nm, and an electric motor powering the rear axle producing 80kW, the two of which combine for an impressive quoted total output of 227kW/540Nm, driving all four wheels.
The motor sources its power from a 15kWh lithium-ion battery pack under the floor of the car, which provides a claimed 62km of fully-electric driving range.
Land Rover also replaced the mechanical brake pedal with a drive-by-wire one to allow for improved ‘blended’ regenerative braking.
With a 400V architecture, the I-Pace EV400 has the charging capability of most EVs, but not the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and 6, Kia EV5, EV6 and EV9, Genesis GV60 and Porsche Taycan/Audi e-tron GT fraternal twins, which have an 800V capability.
Under the floor is a 90kWh lithium-ion battery, with a useable capacity of 84.7kWh.
For AC charging, it uses a Type2 connector with 11kW capacity, or for DC fast charging, it has a maximum 104kW capacity via a CCS port. Both are located in the left-hand-side mudguard.
Using a 150kW DC fast charger, we added 200km of range in exactly 30 minutes. It cost us around $31.
For the record, AC charging from empty to full using a regular household socket will take nearly 44 hours, or 13.5hr and just 9.25hr if you have access to a 7kW or 11kW Wallbox, respectively.
Meanwhile, a 50kW DC fast charger needs 75 minutes to go from 10-80 per cent full, or 45 minutes with anything above a 105kW charger, as that’s the Jaguar’s maximum capacity.
Claimed energy consumption on the combined WLTP cycle for the Range Rover Evoque P300e is 2.0L/100km. As with all plug-in hybrids though, this will heavily depend on how it is driven.
The 15kWh battery is said to provide a 62km driving range (again, on the WLTP cycle), which seems healthy for a PHEV, and I was pleased to find that my car was reporting about 56km on a full charge, not far off the claim.
Importantly, the Evoque has stellar charging specifications, which make it ideal for a city-slicker with minimal time to conveniently charge.
I was shocked to find a DC charging port when I flipped open the panel, which is capable of charging the tiny battery up in just 20 minutes (at a peak rate of 35kW), while on a slower but easier-to-find AC charger, it can extract 7kW allowing a charge time of around two hours.
This is well above par for a plug-in hybrid, and makes charging quick, painless and convenient, even for those who can’t charge at home.
As a result of this ease-of-charging and therefore minimal time spent in the hold or hybrid modes, my car reported an astounding 1.0/100km of fuel consumption during my week, covering mostly urban kilometres.
One of the great EV questions is just how premium brands like Jaguar, BMW and Mercedes-Benz can justify their higher prices, when comparatively inexpensive alternatives from BYD, Hyundai and Kia rely on similar electric motor tech.
Indeed, a Tesla Model Y Performance offers the same acceleration and a higher top speed at nearly $100K under our EV400 HSE as tested.
But then you snuggle into that opulent cabin, buckle up, and realise that – just as the original XJ changed big luxury sedans forever back in ’68 with its sophistication and lush ride – the I-Pace still sets the tone for luxury EV SUVs.
Push the D button and – even in 'Comfort' mode – the Jaguar steps off the line briskly. A long-travel accelerator pedal tune disguises the fact that the EV400 is actually sensationally fast, as it swiftly yet silently streaks towards triple digits in no time at all, accompanied by a dull turbine-like drone.
Yet our biggest gripe is the lack of greater single-pedal braking when lifting off the throttle.
A set of paddles to alter the regeneration braking force as per Hyundai’s set-up would be appreciated.
This is one of the single biggest giveaways to the Jaguar’s advancing years.
Still, as a hushed, refined, comfortable and forcefully quick luxury EV SUV experience, the I-Pace, with the choice options as fitted, remains a fierce opponent against newer alternatives. Especially from behind the wheel.
The second-gen Evoque is still the lovely, luxury, small SUV it was when it launched in 2019, and this plug-in hybrid version only serves to improve the formula, adding sleek electric driving characteristics to the already-smooth turbo engine and torque converter automatic.
Interestingly, and like its Volvo XC60 rival, the electric motor is located on the rear axle, giving this car the odd characteristic of being rear-wheel drive when driven electrically, or predominantly front-wheel drive when driven in combustion mode.
Speaking of modes, this car does the bulk of the management, with only three driving modes available to the pilot. These include the default ‘hybrid’ mode, which as the name suggests, blends the two power sources with more of an emphasis on electric driving when the battery is charged.
There's also an electric mode, which will only use the rear axle motor until the battery runs out, and a ‘Hold’ mode which will still blend the two sources but predominantly rely on the combustion engine to maintain the car’s state of charge.
It’s a shame, because the two power sources combine to make for a thumping amount of power when you stick your boot in, and the all-wheel drive system and nicely balanced suspension keep this little SUV well under control in the corners.
As with my original Evoque range review in 2019, though, it is notable how heavy this SUV feels, particularly compared to some rivals like the Audi Q3.
The heftiness suits the Evoque's expanded dimensions and even more upmarket feel, but despite the power on offer it’s not an agile SUV to be carving corners in.
At least the ride quality and quietness is superb, making the Evoque an ideal SUV for driving around the centre of pothole-stricken Sydney, with a notable amount of poise. At the end of the day, isn’t that what this Range Rover was built for?
Tested in 2018, the I-Pace scored a maximum five-star ANCAP crash-test rating.
It managed to do well in all four of the independent body's disciplines, especially so for occupant protection at 91 and 81 per cent for adults and children, respectively, while vulnerable road users (cyclists and pedestrians) fared worst with a still-adequate 73 per cent rating.
Six airbags are fitted (dual front, head/side front and head/side rear outboard occupants), along with a raft of driver-assist systems, including AEB, lane-alert, lane-assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear-collision monitor, rear-traffic monitor, adaptive cruise control with steering assist, driver fatigue monitor, tyre pressure monitors, emergency call out and traffic sign recognition with adaptive speed limiter tech.
Note the AEB operates from 5.0km/h to 85km/h, and functions in day and night conditions in all cases including cyclists and pedestrians. The lane support systems operate from 50km/h to 180km/h.
Additionally, you’ll find anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake-assist, as well as stability and traction controls.
No front occupant knee or centre-front airbags are fitted.
Despite its long options list, thankfully all key safety equipment is standard on the Evoque. Active items include auto emergency braking, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, traffic sign recognition, driver attention alert, a clear exit monitor, and adaptive cruise control.
Only two items which could be considered under the safety umbrella remain on the options list (the options list becoming a recurring theme in this review), a 360-degree parking camera ($500), and the ‘ClearSight’ rear view mirror, which is able to show a camera view out the rear if the mirror is obscured by luggage or people in the cabin ($1230).
Elsewhere, the Evoque scores two ISOFIX child seat mounting points on the outer rear seats, and three top tethers across the rear row.
There are six airbags, and despite notably missing a front centre airbag, which is often required for a maximum safety rating to today’s standard, the Evoque maintains the maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating it was awarded in 2019. For the record, it scored very highly across all categories.
Additionally, owners will enjoy five years/130,000km of free scheduled servicing. These are at 12 months or 26,000km.
Jaguar says the EV traction battery is covered by an eight-year/160,000km warranty, with a minimum of 70 per cent state of health.
As of April, 2021 all Land Rover products are finally covered by an industry-standard five-year and unlimited kilometre warranty, matching its key rivals, and beating out BMW which persists with an old three-year warranty promise. Five years of roadside assist is also included for the duration.
When it comes to servicing, the P300e is available to be purchased with a five-year plan ($2650 - $530 annually) which covers 102,000km of visits.
This pack is well worthwhile as Land Rover servicing is generally quite expensive when purchased a-la-carte.