Despite a Head-Start the Jaguar I-Pace Has Fallen Behind Its Rivals

By and large, automakers weren’t quick to electrify their luxury offerings. Jaguar was one of the earliest to do so, introducing the I-Pace in 2019. Despite its relatively early head start, it recently earned U.S. News and World Report’s lowest ranking for an electric SUV. With a 7.7 out of 10, it’s certainly not a bad car by any stretch. However, the 2023 Jaguar I-Pace faces stiff competition as other luxury automakers have entered the market with better offerings.

A Jaguar I-Pace on display
The Jaguar I-Pace | Jaguar Media

Jaguar’s early entrant, the 2019 I-Pace

While Tesla was drawing kudos for its Model S, Jaguar slipped into the market in 2019 with the I-Pace, a sleekly designed AWD electric crossover. The I-Pace received priase from multiple automotive publications like Car and Driver, with reviewers noting that the vehicle provided a legitimate challenge to Tesla and offered Jaguar a foothold in what was then a narrow market.

The 2019 I-Pace still lagged the 2019 Tesla Model S in range. However, the I-Pace still offered a respectable amount at the time: 234 miles, to be precise. This range was driven by a dual-motor electric system and a 90.0-kWh battery pack that generated 394 hp and 512 lb-ft of torque. And it wasn’t just powerful. It also boasted impressive acceleration and handling due in part to a robust air suspension system.

As expected with a Jaguar, the interior was also suitably impressive, with refined design styling, a panoramic sunroof, and an infrared windshield, among other amenities. There was a Bluetooth key that started the car on your approach and also learned your preferred climate, seat, and entertainment settings and turned them on automatically. These features, among others, certainly made the 2019 I-Pace a worthy competitor to the 2019 model Teslas on paper.

Unfortunately, the company could not take advantage of the foothold it secured. The 2019 I-Pace had a lower range than advertised, a recall issued due to a braking issue, considerable software problems, and more.

Newer Jaguar EVs are getting outpaced by the competition

With these problems now largely in the rearview mirror, Jaguar now faces stiff competition from other automakers. Of course, Tesla remains in the mix. But other luxury automakers like BMW, Genesis, and Cadillac are also in the mix.

In U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Luxury Electric SUVs for 2022 and 2023,” the publication offers the 2023 BMW iX, 2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge, and 2023 Genesis GV60 their top three spots. Also making the list are the 2023 Cadillac Lyriq, 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQB, 2022 Tesla Model X, 2022 Audi e-tron, and Tesla Model Y (fourth through ninth, respectively).

The 2023 Jaguar I-Pace is tied with the 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge for ninth place. And while all of these vehicles offer premium features and superior performance, the top-ranked simply outclass the latest I-Pace in both categories.

What Jaguar needs to do to compete

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To compete effectively, Jaguar needs to overhaul its design to compete with its peers in terms of power, range, and efficiency. To illustrate this point, consider the top-ranked 2023 BMW iX.

The iX offers horsepower ranging from 516 to 610, depending on your chosen variant. Its range is 324 miles, and its handling is superb for a vehicle its size. Depending on the powertrain selection, it also offers combined fuel efficiency of either 77 MPGe or 86 MPGe.

Compare these figures to the 2023 I-Pace’s power, range, and efficiency numbers. The I-Pace still only generates 394 horsepower and offers a combined 76 MPGe and 234 miles of range. These figures were competitive a few years ago, but not anymore. And while the I-Pace is less expensive than its peers, with a starting MSRP of just $71,300, it isn’t as well equipped as others in the segment.

While the iX and I-Pace boast high-quality interior design and comfort, the iX arguably offers the better standard tech selection. Inside, the iX offers a wide 14.3-inch touchscreen, six USB ports, wireless charging, ambient lighting, and quad-zone climate control, among other features. In contrast, the I-Pace offers a 10-inch touchscreen paired with a 5-inch control display, five USB ports, and dual-zone climate control.

I-Pace owners can match the iX’s standard features with upgrades. But the iX comes with more available off the lot. Jaguar should also consider upgrading its base-level offerings to compete with other luxury electric SUVs.