The Jaguar I-PACE: Luxury And Sport Combined For A Sweet Ride Into The Future

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I've always been a car girl. My father was in the car business his entire life and I grew up learning a lot about cars. I was most familiar with European vehicles, as they were almost exclusively what my father sold on his lot. I had a lot of fun learning to drive stick-shift in an old VW Rabbit when I was 17, and that began my love affair with driving.

One of the first question I ask people is what they drive. I like to find out why certain cars appeal to people, and if I don't like their answer, I try to sell them their next vehicle. A car is not just something that takes you from point-A to point-B. I think driving should be an experience that gets you excited; even if it's your morning commute to work. As we head into the future with the vehicles we purchase, a lot will be changing. Electric vehicles are where it's at—and I've got my eyes on the new Jaguar I-PACE.

I was invited to Portugal with Jaguar Land Rover last week to test drive the brand-new, all-electric Jaguar I-PACE. The entire experience was incredible, thrilling, educational, and fun. I'm so thankful I said yes to this opportunity to learn about this EV, and to put the I-PACE to the test in Europe.

Although the I-PACE has been in the making for four years, it beat other car companies like Porsche and Audi and it's already pre-selling at a rapid rate. Simply put, the Jaguar I-PACE is most definitely the leader of the pack, with its only competition being the Tesla.

"Where other companies talk about the future, we build it. We have torn up the rule book to create the newest member of the PACE family, the all-electric Jaguar I-PACE. With zero tailpipe emissions, no CO2, and no particulates, it moves us dramatically closer to our vision of a clean and sustainable future." Dr. Ralf Speth, CEO, Jaguar Land Rover

Over the course of two days, we drove the I-PACE on the highways, through tight, small village streets, up twisty mountain roads, and even went off-roading. All in a luxury SUV, no less. And let me tell you: this vehicle performs.

The Jaguar I-PACE is a true Jag. It's luxurious, comfortable, well-designed, and delivers sustainable sports car performance. This five-seat SUV is great for anyone who loves luxurious vehicles, and perfect for families (especially for parents who aren't willing to sacrifice what they're driving just because they have children).

It may look small on the outside, but it's what's inside that counts, right? The I-PACE has exceptional space inside, plenty of storage, (seriously, the storage!) and ample rear trunk space.

Since I'm a newbie to driving in Europe (I never drive in Greece, but I found the drivers in Portugal much more tame) I let my driving buddy take on the harder parts of our road trip—like the first half of our off-roading adventure. We started driving through water (yes, really) and then off we went, up our off-road course. The all-wheel drive system on the I-PACE handled this drive really well, and then our vehicle was put into Adaptive Dynamics, Adaptive Surface Response mode—kind of like cruise control, for getting through rough roads. All we had to do was steer, and thankfully, we didn't steer off the mountain.

Once we successfully completed our off-roading adventure in the I-PACE, we drove to the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve for some more fun—this time on the race track, where we put the I-PACE to the test.

My only experience on a race track is watching F1 Grand Prix, so being behind the wheel of the I-PACE (and an F-Type vehicle) on the track was new for me. In my mind, I was an amazing race car driver, but once I was on that track, reality kicked in. I got over my fear around the second lap around the track, and drove as fast I felt comfortable. Thankfully, I had an amazing instructor beside me, helping me the entire time. Lesson learned? Not only is the I-PACE a sweet car for highway driving, (even long distances) the I-PACE can go off-roading and race around a professional track with sharp turns.

The details:

The 2019 Jaguar I-PACE joins the PACE family of Jaguar SUV's and is the first battery electric vehicle created by Jaguar.

The I-PACE is fast. It goes 0-100 km/h in just 4.8 seconds; not something I put to the test on the highway, but definitely had fun with on the track.

All-wheel drive, 394-horsepower, all-aluminum body, with 50/50 weight distribution, which, I learned, is excellent for handling. Instant torque and the all-wheel drive traction gives the I-PACE the acceleration of a sports car.

The I-PACE comes equipped with an Amazon Alexa Skill, meaning drivers can ask an Alexa enabled device for information held in the Jaguar InControl Remote app.  You can Ask Alexa for any of the information held on the Jaguar Remote app. Things like "Is my car locked?" "What is the charge level?" "Do I have enough range to get to work?" One full charge, by the way, provides a range of 386 km in North America.

The I-PACE has a sleek, coupe-like silhouette influenced by the Jaguar C-X75 supercar with a short, low hood, aero-enhanced roof design, and curved rear windshield.

The Touch Pro Duo infotainment system in the I-PACE (new to Jaguar) utilizes an innovative combination of touchscreens, capacitive sensors, and tactile physical controls to operate key functions while reducing visual clutter in the car.

I-PACE owners can achieve 80 percent battery charge from empty in 40 minutes using 100kW DC fast chargers, and will also have the convenience of using both AC and DC power to charge their vehicle. (It'll take just over 10 hours to charge using a 230V/32amp charger).

The standard glass panoramic roof runs the length of the car and floods the cabin with light, giving the interior added sense of space. Both the roof and side windows absorb infrared light, keeping the cabin cool, even in the sunshine.

You can change the I-PACE's regenerative braking setting between high and low. As soon as you lift your foot from the gas pedal, the car will quickly decelerate, which was helpful on our drive through Portugal's many traffic circles.

The Jaguar I-PACE retails in Canada for $86,500. If you are anything like me (and basically live in your vehicle because you drive so much) it's a true investment, because of the money you'll be saving on gas alone. Plus, it's good for the environment.

All Jaguar and Land Rover models will offer electrification from 2020, giving customers the choice of what they want to drive.

My review

The I-PACE is an amazing and smooth ride, and I loved it. It's really quiet, too. I would absolutely recommend this vehicle to my friends and family. What really stood out for me was just how comfortable and well-designed the vehicle was. The back window is a little on the small side, but after a few minutes I got used to it. (The back windshield has no wiper because the wind swept up through the hood of the car puts enough wind to clear the rain off your vehicle while you're driving).

The navigation system was my favourite part. It was much better than some of the other vehicles I've put to the test recently; it's so simple and the GPS was so helpful. (Especially when you're in a European country and not familiar with any of the roads).

What's really great about driving the I-PACE? The enjoyment of the ride, and knowing you're doing your part to help the environment. You not only look stylish in an I-PACE, you look smart.

I was invited to Portugal to review the I-PACE with Jaguar Land Rover. All views are my own, and you can read more about the I-PACE in an upcoming issue of Luxe Ottawa Magazine. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to contact me.
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