Hybrids & Electrics

Can the Jaguar I-Pace Charge Off-Road Better Than a Tesla?

Although Jaguar’s EV production has been hit by COVID-19 and battery shortages, its I-Pace crossover has garnered high marks. While some early models had issues, Jaguar has genuinely used racing to help improve its EV. However, while it offers sports-car-like performance, the Jaguar I-Pace isn’t necessarily someone’s first choice for an off-roader. But increasingly, EVs are being marketed with off-road capabilities. Fisker is even offering an off-road package for its Ocean crossover. But can the I-Pace venture off-pavement? And can it go farther than a Tesla Model X or Model Y?

Jaguar I-Pace specs and features

For 2020, the Jaguar I-Pace is available in 3 trims: the $69,850 S; $76,250 SE; and $80,900 HSE. All 3 have 2 electric motors, which produce 394 hp and 512 lb-ft, and give the electric crossover all-wheel drive. They also have the same 90-kWh battery pack, which gives an EPA-rated 253 miles of range. The I-Pace is also fast-charger-compatible; Car and Driver reports it can recover 80% of its range in 40 minutes.

Every Jaguar I-Pace gets Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as standard, as well as a WiFi hotspot and a 10” infotainment touchscreen. Even the base S comes with automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and lane-keeping assist as standard. Leather upholstery, though, is only standard on the SE and above. However, adjustable-height air suspension is standard.

2019 Jaguar I-Pace
2019 Jaguar I-Pace | Jaguar

On a daily basis, the Jaguar I-Pace has a lot to offer. True, Car and Driver and Motor Trend report its real-world driving range falls short of the EPA rating—which isn’t unusual. However, there’s enough space to comfortably fit 5 adults, Outside reports. And MT named it a 2019 SUV of the Year finalist due to both its design and excellent handling.

But what about when it comes to off-roading?

What’s the I-Pace like off-road?

On paper, the Jaguar I-Pace does have some off-roading creds. For one, it can wade into water 19.7” deep. Also, its air suspension can raise ground clearance from 5.6” to 7.8”, Edmunds.com reports. Plus, as Outside points out, being an EV, the I-Pace has a flat undertray. Meaning, there’s nothing to snag on a branch or rock.

Autoblog recently took a Jaguar I-Pace up a US Forest Service fire road. And despite being on 22” summer-performance tires, the crossover handled it admirably. However, using the air suspension for more ground clearance actually decreases usable travel. Meaning, going over certain obstacles may ‘top out’ the springs. But, alternating between normal and extended modes—something Autoblog reports air-suspension-equipped Jeep owners do—resolved the issue.

Top Gear also took an I-Pace off-roading and apart from an undertray coming loose, the electric crossover came through unscathed. Outside and TFLCar were also impressed by the Jaguar’s off-roading. Though, both recommend fitting proper off-road tires. In addition, they note the I-Pace isn’t really a Wrangler-esque rock-crawler. It doesn’t have the ground clearance or wheel articulation that more serious off-roaders, like a 4Runner TRD Pro, would have.

Interestingly, Autoblog notes that driving off-road didn’t decrease the Jaguar I-Pace’s range any more than normal driving would. Partly, that’s due to regenerative braking working while going downhill. However, it does mean that you won’t have to bring along a gasoline-powered charger, or necessarily worry about getting stranded.

Can Tesla’s SUVs go off-road?

Stock, TFLCar reports the Tesla Model X isn’t the best off-roader. Its tires especially limit how far it can venture off-pavement. And even with snow tires, The Drive reports the Model X’s AWD system struggles to properly manage traction. And it actually has slightly less ground clearance than the Jaguar I-Pace, Car and Driver reports.

But with the correct tires, InsideEVs reports the Tesla Model X can indeed go off-roading. However, there is a caveat: Tesla hasn’t listed a wading depth for the Model X. So, while it may be able to handle puddles and shallow streams, best not venture into rivers.

2020 Tesla Model Y AWD Performance side
2020 Tesla Model Y AWD Performance side | Doug Demuro via YouTube

The Tesla Model Y is the closer Jaguar I-Pace competitor. And it does have more ground clearance than the Model 3 it’s based on. However, as Jalopnik explains, despite offering an off-road driving mode, it doesn’t make for a good off-roader.

For one, it doesn’t have the I-Pace’s adjustable suspension, so it has even less ground clearance. In addition, as the video above shows, the Model Y doesn’t have much in the way of articulation. Meaning one or more wheels would be stuck in the air, unable to push the crossover forward.

Then again, Tesla isn’t pushing for the Model Y as a serious off-roader. And it’s unlikely most Jaguar I-Pace owners will genuinely take their electric crossovers so far into the bush. However, now that Jaguar Land Rover has bought off-road tuner Bowler, perhaps in the future, they will.

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