Jaguar isn’t the first name that comes to mind in the world of electric cars, but the brand is officially ready to make their entrance. The 2019 Jaguar I-PACE is a bold step in many ways: a new model, new technology, and Jaguar’s first ever all-electric powertrain. After Tesla took the world of electric cars by storm, luxury badges began to jump on board. Jaguar went to the drawing board and came back with Tesla squarely in its sights. The I-PACE will hit dealerships in late 2018, and it may be worth waiting for.

Best Value

Jaguar provides plenty of ways to kit out your I-PACE, but for value, we’d stick with the base S trim. All I-PACE cars get the same powertrain, powered by two electric motors. Trim decisions come down to features like rim size and technology packages.

The I-PACE S comes with most of the essential luxury features, including LED headlights, heated side mirrors, automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, parking assist, and a rearview camera. Leather seats are always a standalone option if you don’t like Jaguar’s Luxtec, and a Drive package adds even more safety tech for $1,700. But we’d keep things simple – grab heated seats and Jaguar’s adaptive damping system, and you can have an all-electric performance machine for $71,695.

Here’s how we’d build it:

  • Model: 2019 Jaguar I-PACE S
  • Engine: 90-kWh battery; two 147-kW electric motors
  • Output: 394 hp / 512 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Single-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: All-wheel drive
  • Range: 240 miles
  • Options: Eight-way Heated Front Seats ($500), Adaptive Dynamics with Configurable Dynamics ($700)
  • Base Price: $70,495 (including a $995 destination fee)
  • Best Value Price: $71,695

Performance

Jaguar I-PACE

The I-PACE nudges the scales perilously close to 5,000 pounds, but 512 pound-feet of instantaneously available torque come to the rescue. Jaguar claims that the I-PACE sprints to 60 miles per hour in a mere 4.5 seconds. It has the range to rival a Tesla Model X as well, with an estimated 240 miles between charges. The battery packs fill to 80 percent in under 90 minutes on a typical public charging station, but will need to be plugged in overnight at home. These batteries are also arranged for perfect 50:50 weight distribution, which should help the I-PACE live up to Jaguar’s sport-focused heritage.

So far, only the one battery option is available. This gives buyers less flexibility, although even the larger Tesla batteries don’t drastically extend range. The I-PACE is lighter than the Model X but still heavy by crossover standards, which may dampen some of the fun.

Style

Flowing organic curves are Jaguar’s signature language, and they’re put to good use on the I-PACE. Muscular flares sweep up and back into haunches that mask both the practical hatchback and the bulky battery. It’s a sleek package, with a big hood vent to make sure you know it means business. The interior is as high-tech as the powertrain, with dual touchscreens controlling infotainment and vehicle functions. The dash is conventional but high-tech, and it complements the car’s aesthetic nicely.

The I-PACE can’t keep up with the cargo capacity of modern crossovers, with a mediocre 25.3 cubic feet of space (52 with the seats down). Jaguar’s exterior designers have produced fine work as usual, but the tapered hatchback shape may not appeal to everyone. The brand also doesn’t (yet) carry the same environmental credibility as Tesla, which may make it hard to tempt Americans.

The Best and Worst Things

Jaguar moving to all-electric powertrains (and doing it with such style) can only be a good omen for the future. A bit more practicality and customizability would help tempt the luxury buyers they need to challenge Elon Musk and his lackeys.

Right For? Wrong For?

Jaguar I-PACE

The Jaguar I-PACE is an excellent car for urban buyers who want a futuristic all-electric crossover at a friendlier price point. The performance and luxury look to be on par with Tesla, with range and practicality to match. With Jaguar’s heritage, what’s not to like?

Outside of areas with developed charging infrastructure, range anxiety will dampen the I-PACE’s charm. It’s also not quite spacious enough for full family duty. The seating is roomy enough, but families who need to cart dogs and hockey bags may need a more spacious vehicle.

The Bottom Line

If the automaker has done their homework on the powertrain, the 2019 Jaguar I-PACE shows all the signs of being a success. It has the looks, speed, and features to take the fight to Tesla. As a luxury brand with a long history in automotive royalty, Jaguar isn’t always the quickest brand to change, but this is one risk we’re glad they took.