Does Jaguar’s I-Pace have what it takes to compete head-to-head with the mighty Tesla Model X and its headlining 2.5-second blast to 60? Let’s have a look.
The auto industry shift from internal combustion to electric power is happening as we speak, with automakers cranking out ever-increasing numbers of fossil fuel-free vehicles. Tesla was an early proponent of this approach back in 2008 with its Roadster. Thirteen years later, they have a fleshed-out lineup of sedans and SUVs including the Model X, the smaller crossover sibling of the Model Y. It has Falcon Wing doors, can be equipped with over 1,000 electric horses, and hit 60 mph in 2.5 seconds. It’s not cheap, but it is an impressive machine.
Jaguar, on the other hand, dates back to World War II and built its name around stately vehicles with more than a whiff of British decorum. Nevertheless, they’re not immune to these forces of change and as such, have been offering their all-electric I-Pace SUV since 2019. It is a bit smaller than the Model X, but also a lot less expensive, which is interesting given its historical position as a high-end brand. It begs the question of which one fares better in a head-to-head comparison, the Jaguar I-Pace or the Tesla Model X? Let’s find out.
Tesla offers two Model X configurations, Long Range and Plaid. Using two electric motors, one on the front axle and one on the rear, the Long Range runs in AWD at all times. It also starts at $95,000 or $118,490 with all the options checked. That will get you 360 miles of driving range, a big number in the burgeoning electric-range wars.
Stepping up to the Spaceballs-inspired Plaid Model X brings a third motor for a whopping 1,020 horsepower and $120,000 entry price. Driving range drops to 340 miles, but both models come with a 110-volt charger or an optional 240V version, to speed up charging. As well, owners can tap into Tesla’s Supercharger network to add 175 miles of range in 15 minutes.
Jaguar, uncharacteristically, is the bargain option in this comparison with a $71,000 base price. That puts you in the HSE, which is the only model offered in 2021, with a fully optioned model hitting $83,000. The lower price translates to a smaller car and reduced range versus the Model X.
The I-Pace is smaller in every dimension including 14” in overall length and offers 253 miles of range, which is partly due to its 90 kWh battery capacity against the 110 kWh setup on the Tesla. The dual motor, one per axle, setup on the Jag is the same as the Long Range Model X as is the resultant full-time AWD. A 240V home charger is standard I-Pace equipment, though a DC fast-charging port, that will add 80% battery capacity in 40 minutes, is included.
Tesla has been showing up stop light drag racers for years and the Model X looks ready to continue down that road. The Long Range model will hit 60 mph in 3.8 seconds, according to Tesla, and the Plaid edition makes Dark Helmet proud with a ludicrous 2.5-second sprint to 60. That kind of driving will certainly reduce your driving range, but it makes for a fun time.
Like most fully electric vehicles, the Model X utilizes a single speed, direct drive transmission along with regenerative braking. This latest Tesla has a rectangular steering yoke instead of a wheel which might take some getting used to especially given the lack of stalks or shifter. It’s all part of the Tesla flair as is the buzz around its trademark driving tech – Autopilot. Part of the optional, $10,000 Full Self Driving package, Autopilot allows the driver to cede driving duties to an onboard computer. This package also includes automatic parking and a Summon feature, which acts like a valet and drives itself to you. Given the wacky Falcon Wing doors, this ought to be handy in tight parking spaces.
In keeping with this new trend of automakers publishing claimed 0-60 times on their configurators, Jaguar notes a time of 4.5 seconds to 60 mph for the I-Pace. This is insanely fast, but because of the way Tesla has warped the perspective of acceleration, it somehow seems less impressive. Like the Tesla, Jaguar fits the I-Pace with standard 20” wheels, or 22” ones for an extra $2600. With Tesla, the 22” option adds $5500 to the tab.
Jaguar stands out with standard air suspension fitted to the I-Pace that should smooth out some of the flintiness imposed by those oversized wheels. While Jaguar isn’t offering to do all the driving for you, it does include several driver-assistance aids like adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, driver drowsiness monitor, and automated emergency braking.
Thanks to its larger footprint, the Tesla Model X can handle up to seven passengers with a third row, but can also be configured for five and six occupants. Though the interior sports Tesla’s signature spartan design, the occupants are coddled with UV and infrared protected glass, heated seats front to back, and triple-zoned climate control featuring HEPA grade filtration. The driver benefits from ventilated front row seating, a heated yoke, and windshield plus customizable driver profiles to keep your specific vehicle settings saved and ready to go.
In keeping with its environmentally friendly vibe, the Model X offers synthetic leather upholstery, the real thing having been nixed from the lineup. Driver conveniences include auto-dimming, power folding, and heated side mirrors along with hands-free opening of the doors and liftgate. Time will tell if the futuristic Falcon Wing doors will be a maintenance headache, but they sure look cool.
Per its reputation for luxury, Jaguar dresses up the I-Pace properly with Windsor leather upholstery and an optional suede headliner. Offering five seating positions only – there is no third row option – the I-Pace features an acoustic and solar attenuating windshield along with a fixed, all glass roof to keep things airy. Other standard interior amenities include an auto-dim rearview mirror and climate controlled seats.
The Jag can handle 51 cubic feet of cargo with the rear seats folded, which is quite a bit less than the 88 cubes on tap in the Tesla. It also has optional items like quad-zoned climate control, a heated steering wheel, and a digital rearview mirror displaying a live feed of what’s happening out back.
Though the Tesla Model X is available with two different powertrains, they offer the same level of features. The only options are paint and interior color, wheel size, and the Full Self Driving package. However, the list of standard equipment is lengthy. Front and center is a mammoth 17” touchscreen abutted by a 12” digital instrument panel. These displays handle virtually all functions including Tesla’s proprietary phone integration software, but they do not offer the mirroring tech from Apple or Android.
Twenty-two speakers handle audio duty including active noise cancellation. One year of complimentary connectivity means occupants can stream Netflix, YouTube, and more on the dash screen or rear 8” display. That backseat screen touts 10 teraflops of processing power targeted at the gamers out there. Standard driver assistance aids include blind spot monitoring, lane departure avoidance, and obstacle aware acceleration.
Jaguar’s I-Pace comes in a single trim, HSE, with standard equipment like a heads-up-display, navigation, soft close, power tailgate and smartphone mirroring software for Apple and Android devices. Meridian provides a 3D surround sound system comprising 15 speakers. The digital instrument panel matches the Model X with a 12.3” size while a 10” upper touchscreen plus 5.5” lower screen handle infotainment and vehicle functions. Optional items on the I-Pace like Qi wireless charging, video feed rearview mirror, and 360-degree exterior camera bring the Jag in line with the Tesla.
From a cost perspective, Jaguar takes the cake as a fully loaded I-Pace is more than $10,000 less than the entry Tesla Model X. The same applies to the used market. A year old I-Pace with 17,000 miles can be found for $51,000 while a 2020 Tesla Model X with similar mileage is over $100,000. Granted, the used car market is currently red hot and offering unusually high values, but still, the Tesla is more expensive.
That being said, Tesla has the gotta-have-it factor that Jaguar will struggle to compete with given its historically more staid reputation. The Jaguar I-Pace is certainly a compelling all-electric SUV, but the Tesla Model X steps ahead with its bleeding-edge Autopilot tech. The birdwing doors, 300+ mile range, and blistering acceleration don’t hurt either.