Competition among EV manufacturers is at an all-time high, with most gunning for Tesla. At the forefront of this battle of the batteries, Jaguar is set on being the one to topple Tesla’s decades-long monopoly with its I-Pace. If that’s the case, declining to lend Car and Driver an I-Pace for a test drive doesn’t seem like a well-thought-out decision.
2021 Car and Driver EV of the Year contenders
The folks at Car and Driver nailed that sentiment right on its head when they said, “Either the Tesla Model 3 Performance will get you hyped about EVs, or nothing will.” The author of “2021 Car and Driver EV of the Year: The Contenders” dubbed the Tesla Model 3 “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.”
If that completely lost you, it’s referencing the 1968 nonfiction book by Tom Wolfe. Wolfe’s book unabashedly captured the birth of counterculture in a way that only a hippy author tripping on acid could, hence the title. Wolfe managed to inspire countless writers, who consider him one of the most influential American novelists of the early 1960s.
Once the history behind “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test” makes sense, one can appreciate the author’s humor. It seems to be paying homage to Tesla for ultimately driving the EV market to where it’s at today. Nevertheless, homage doesn’t mean you’ll be the one to bring home the ultimate prize by earning the title of Car and Driver‘s “2021 EV of the Year.” That honor was reserved for the Ford Mustang Mach-E dubbed “The Prophet.”
It’s worthy of the top spot for several reasons. As perfectly stated by Car and Driver, the Mach-E foretells “a future when an electric vehicle’s range is secondary to how it drives.” Additionally, it closely resembles the appearance of a traditional crossover, is reasonably priced, and dispels range anxiety.
Car and Driver listed 11 contenders, minus the I-Pace
Other than the Tesla Model 3 Performance and the Ford Mustang Mach-E, nine other EVs made Car and Driver’s runners-up list. The Nissan Leaf Plus earned the title of “The OG EV.” No list can have just one Tesla. So, the Model Y Performance and Model S Long Range Plus made it.
Unfortunately, the Model Y didn’t earn a cute moniker but rather a sardonic question: “Y, Though?” The author elaborated with an equally sarcastic description: “A sloppily built Tesla Model Y Performance leaves us wondering what all the fuss is about.”.
But one EV seemed to be missing from Car and Driver’s “contender” list. Like that roommate who hides the keys to their car before bed, Jaguar refused to allow Car and Driver a test drive of its I-Pace.
A brief overview of the 2022 Jaguar I-Pace
With an estimated starting MSRP of $69,900 according to Jaguar, the I-Pace is offered as either a 5-passenger crossover or a four-seat hatchback. The 2022 I-Pace is powered by two permanent-magnet synchronous motors (PMSM), making it an all-wheel drive (AWD) by default. While nowhere near a Tesla, it still produces 197 hp and 256 lb-ft of torque each. That’s 392 hp and 512 lb-ft of combined output and no change from the 2019 model. Based on previous test drives of the 2019 Jaguar I-Pace, reviewers say it handles more like a sports car than a crossover SUV.
Jaguar skipped releasing a 2021 model year I-Pace in 2021 for a reason; the 2022 model year should reward our wait with several upgrades. An optional styling package adds chrome exterior trim with Atlas grey accents and other slight styling enhancements. The already sophisticated interior is complemented by a high-class dashboard, a futuristic instrument cluster befitting a modern luxury EV, and an easier-to-operate infotainment system.
The I-Pace’s infotainment system does more than play music. It’s capable of informing you where to find the nearest charging station and how long it will take to recharge the battery. The old 7.0-kW onboard charger was replaced by an 11.0-kW version for faster at-home charging. According to Jaguar, this decreases the full recharge time from 12.6 hours to 8.6.
While reviews have stated the Jaguar I-Pace provides nicely bolstered front seats and ample passenger space, they’re not designed for long road trips. Nonetheless, creature comforts such as heated front and rear seats, quad-zone climate control, a heads-up display, and various leather upholstery choices add to its desirability. Not to mention wireless charging, a 360-degree camera system, and a complimentary 4G data plan. With all these features, it’s a shame Car and Driver wasn’t allowed to test drive the new I-Pace.