Between June 4th, when the first wave of re­views of the New Jag hit (off­i­cal­ly the I-PACE, what a dumb name) and the time the sales­man called me say­ing “Time to sign the or­der if you want to be in the first wave”, I had to de­cide whether to spend a lot of mon­ey on a car I’d nev­er seen or touched. So I paid damn close at­ten­tion to those re­views. I’m a crit­i­cal read­er, and sus­pi­cious about the mo­tives of prod­uct re­view­er­s, and I think the pic­ture that emerges is pret­ty clear. This post is to enu­mer­ate what I think it’s pos­si­ble to know for sure about the car with­out hav­ing owned or even driv­en one.

I’ll throw in a bunch of links down at the bot­tom to re­views that I think are par­tic­u­lar­ly use­ful.

Facts ·

  • The sto­ry starts in 2014, when Jag lead­er­ship de­cid­ed to go all-in on a from-scratch elec­tric mod­el. They put an in­te­grat­ed de­vel­op­ment team all in one room at the Univer­si­ty of War­wick  —  not ex­act­ly tra­di­tion­al auto-biz prac­tice  —  and even­tu­al­ly brought the new car from noth­ing to mar­ket in “only” four years, which is con­sid­ered very good in that in­dus­try.

  • It has two mo­tors, one wrapped round each axle, with the space be­tween full of bat­tery, then the cab­in perched on top. At mod­er­ate speed­s, on­ly the back wheels drive.

Underneath
  • It’s al­most all alu­mini­um and, de­spite that, is still super-heavy (2100kg), most­ly be­cause of the bat­tery.

  • I’m not go­ing to re­cite horse­pow­er and torque num­bers that I don’t un­der­stand, but peo­ple who do un­der­stand them sound im­pressed.

  • I don’t un­der­stand charg­ing is­sues well enough to have an in­tel­li­gent opin­ion, but Seth Wein­traub does, and his re­view is full of use­ful de­tail. Tl;­dr: The range is com­pet­i­tive with oth­er high-end electric­s.

  • It doesn’t have gears as such, just but­ton­s: P, N, R, D. The North Amer­i­can edi­tion comes on­ly with air sus­pen­sion, and has a thing where you can el­e­vate the car for a tricky drive­way or rut­ted grav­el, and it set­tles down au­to­mat­i­cal­ly at high speed­s. I gath­er the Euro mod­el can be bought with springs.

  • Another dif­fer­ence: The Euro mod­el comes with ei­ther a stan­dard or glass roof; in the New World it’s all-glass all the time. Per­son­al­ly, I’d pre­fer a lay­er of met­al be­tween me and the sun, but they claim it’s suf­fi­cient­ly shad­ed and UV-impervious.

  • Electrics are su­per qui­et in­side so, if you wan­t, the Jag will play you a spaceship-y ac­cel­er­a­tion sound that changes with the speed. For­tu­nate­ly it’s op­tion­al; al­though one of the journos who took it out on the race­track said he found it use­ful in sit­u­a­tions where you don’t have time to look at the speedome­ter.

  • There’s a screen be­hind the steer­ing wheel where you can dis­play speed and charge and maps and so on. Front cen­ter, there’s a big­gish (but not Tes­la size) screen above for In­fo­tain­men­t, and a small­er one be­low for cli­mate con­trol. On the sub­ject of cli­mate con­trol, the con­sole has a cou­ple of ac­tu­al phys­i­cal knobs for that.

Black interior
· · ·
White interior
  • It’s got a fair-size trunk at the back (the back seats fold down 60/40) and a tiny one un­der the front hood; some­one sug­gest­ed it was just big enough to car­ry your cat.

  • As with most electric­s, you can do one-pedal driv­ing, where eas­ing off the ac­cel­er­a­tor goes in­to re­gen­er­a­tion mode and pro­vides enough break­ing for all but ex­cep­tion­al cir­cum­stances.

  • You can ac­tu­al­ly take it off-road, up and down stupid­ly steep hill­s, through re­al­ly deep pud­dles, and so on: The “LR” part of JLR is Land Rover, and that part of the com­pa­ny knows some­thing about those things.

  • There’s plen­ty of room in­side for four big adult­s. The per­son in the mid­dle of the back seat should be on the small side.

  • No­body has seen ei­ther Ap­ple CarPlay or An­droid Au­to at work, but the com­pa­ny claims that both will be sup­port­ed. My own Jag deal­er said he’d heard that they’d done the tech­nol­o­gy work were just do­ing li­cens­ing and pay­men­t.

  • It has a SIM slot and over-the-air soft­ware up­date.

  • You can equip it with a tow-bar and bike-rack and roof-rack.

  • It’s built, not by JLR them­selves, but by Magna Steyr, a con­tract man­u­fac­tur­er in Graz, Aus­tri­a, that al­so builds the Mercedes G-Class and BMW 5 Series.

Things that are good ·

  • Every­one agrees that it’s a blast to drive. What’s in­ter­est­ing is that the most com­mon com­ment was “feels just like a Tesla”. The Top Gear scribe point­ed out, in a melan­choly tone, that ap­par­ent­ly all elec­tric mo­tors feel more or less like all oth­er­s. This is a big change from the days of internal-combustion en­gi­nes, which have all sorts of per­son­al­i­ty. It’s fast, ma­neu­ver­able, and com­fort­able.

  • The one-pedal driv­ing mode takes a bit of get­ting used to but all the journos end­ed up lov­ing it, and as­sum­ing that pret­ty ev­ery­one would use it all the time.

  • The seats are said to be super-comfortable.

  • It has all the bells and whis­tles and tech­nol­o­gy gad­gets any­one could wan­t.

  • The cab­in has all sorts of stor­age space in bins here and there and un­der the back seats and so on.

  • It has more than enough range for peo­ple who drive around town and then oc­ca­sion­al­ly go 200+ km for busi­ness.

Things that are not so good ·

  • If you’re a road war­rior, Jag doesn’t have any­thing to com­pete with Tesla’s su­per­charg­er net­work. I’ve start­ed pok­ing around PlugShare and ChargePoint and so on, and I think you could man­age road trip­s, but it’s not go­ing to be as slick as with a Tes­la. Per­haps this sit­u­a­tion will im­prove?

    Me, I have a car­port on the back al­ley and I’ll put in a charg­er and I should be fine.

  • The in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem is slow and lag­gy, and some im­por­tant set­tings are deeply nest­ed in­to the menus. An­droid Au­to is my an­swer to that.

  • The stor­age space isn’t that well-organized and it’s not ob­vi­ous where to stow the charg­ing ca­bles.

  • The fifth per­son in the car is go­ing to be kind of cramped.

  • Vis­i­bil­i­ty out the back win­dow is lousy, with big rear posts get­ting in the way.

  • The brake ped­al tries to com­bine re­gen­er­a­tive and fric­tion brak­ing and as a re­sult is said to feel soft and weird.

  • The air-suspension ride has been re­port­ed as feel­ing a bit jit­tery and un­sta­ble at low/­mod­er­ate speed­s.

  • The cen­ter con­sole crowds the driver’s leg a bit; more of a prob­lem in left-hand drive ve­hi­cles, ob­vi­ous­ly.

My con­clu­sion · What hap­pened was, when the first buzz of pub­lic­i­ty hit in March I was in­ter­est­ed enough to drop by Van­cou­ver Jaguar and talk to Caleb Kwok, the sales man­ager. He’s a plau­si­ble guy, re­spon­sive to email, and any­how, he con­vinced me to put down a re­fund­able de­posit, buy­ing me a place near the front of the line at the time ac­tu­al or­ders would open up. Which turned out to be last week.

By which time I’d read all the ma­te­ri­al sum­ma­rized in this piece. On bal­ance, I liked what I heard; the plus­es were pret­ty big and none of the mi­nus­es both­ered me that much. Re­mem­ber, the longest trip I nor­mal­ly take is 230km to Seat­tle, where I park for a cou­ple of days then drive home.

So I signed on the dot­ted line, and my de­posit is no longer re­fund­able.

The big wor­ry, of course, is re­li­a­bil­i­ty and man­u­fac­tur­ing qual­i­ty. Jaguar, at var­i­ous times in its his­to­ry, has had a mis­er­able rep­u­ta­tion. Of one fa­mous mod­el, they used to say “It’s a great car, so buy two, be­cause one will al­ways be in the shop.” It’s worse than that; Jag at one point had a par­tic­u­lar­ly stinky track record around elec­tri­cal sys­tem­s.

But there are stats sug­gest­ing Jag’s do­ing bet­ter in re­cent years. And then there’s the fact that it’s be­ing built in a plant where they al­so make Mercedes and BMW. Grant­ed, I’m tak­ing a chance here.

Help­ful re­views ·



Contributions

Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Karl Volt (Jul 08 2018, at 10:37)

ad Sounds: It's not only about fun. In my opinion, I'd love to have no sound up to 55 km/h, a clear difference in loudness exceeding 55 km/h with a mid-level sound, and at 105 and 135 km/h additional "sound barriers". (Not only) here in Austria, we have speed limits at 50 km/h, 100 km/h and 130 km/h.

This could be extended by a fourth "sound barrier" at 70 km/h which is a frequent temporary speed limit.

This way, I don't have to follow the speedometer that closely with my eyes. The additional acoustic signal tells me that I am too fast or consciously exceeding it. IMO this would be a clever usability thing to have.

ad Magna and production quality: I was working there until ten years ago on a consulting basis in Engineering (not production). From what I've learned back then: less than 15 percent of all cars are made by the OEM (like Jaguar) themselves. The rest is done at external companies either in parts or whole cars. Usually, the level of quality is even higher at external companies like Magna because OEMs look more closely before they put their name on the product.

Meanwhile, I no longer work in automotive but I would not worry a second when buying a car manufactured at Magna, who has quite a reputation when it comes to complex production setups. For example, ten years ago, they were producing three totally different cars on one single production line which is really impressive when you take into account all that logistics behind. Magna is also a top player for all-wheel-drives, not only for Mercedes G-class or Steyr G. Therefore, they did all kind of 4-wheel-drive-car adaptations for German OEMs.

Further more, Magna proved that they are able to do a very innovative car from scratch just for demonstrating purposes. Search for "Magna MILA" and you will be surprised how "capable" this "supplier" is.

I am not affiliated with Magna or any automotive company in any kind any more for many years.

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From: Anson Lee (Jul 09 2018, at 11:49)

If Tesla had a better interiors, on par with traditional luxury automakers, would you put it back on the consideration list? And aside from the car hardware itself, does the Tesla "platform" of charging stations, software innovation etc... offer any competitive advantage in your opinion?

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From: Martin Wood (Jul 10 2018, at 20:53)

I had heard through various car buffs and media that here in NZ the idea of an emitting vehicle noise was being suggested as to the number of close calls car verses pedestrian .Up to 20km .Sounds plausible.

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From: Adam Sloan (Aug 29 2018, at 13:51)

Just back from 2 weeks in Vancouver, I'd say the electric car ratio there is just noticeably higher than elsewhere (unlike the Bentley/Lambo count!). I could do 95% of my driving with a Leaf, but the payback over my Prius may never justify it. Until the kids get a bit older and want some keys...

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July 07, 2018
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