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11 Oct, 2019 10:30am Steve Fowler
First report: Jaguar's I-Pace is a showstopper at the local transport-themed village event
There's nothing quite like a British village show where the locals bring out the largest of marrows, the straightest of runner beans, their finest photography and perfect poetry – all to be judged by other locals who are supposed to know what’s good and what’s not so good.
The Chalfont St Giles village show is the quintessential summer event and is local to me. So when the organisers announced that the theme was ‘Transport Through The Ages’, I thought it was a great opportunity to bring things bang up-to-date and offered to take my all-electric Jaguar I-Pace along.
So there I was on a suitably sunny Saturday in September, lined up for the parade through the village, sandwiched between a smoky vintage car in front of me and a noisy tractor behind – my silent and emission-free Jaguar stood out a bit.
It seemed that the ‘through the ages’ bit had skipped about 50 years, but judging by the cameras pointing at my gleaming white I-Pace, it was one of the stars of the show.
It was the same when we parked up on Stone Meadow, having circled the display arena first and stopped to put out a small fire caused by the steam engine leading the procession. Then the crowds came – and there was so much interest in the I-Pace, I struggled to get away for a look at the award-winning tomatoes for myself.
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So how did people react to the newest of Jaguars? Firstly, I was surprised that so many people knew what it was and that it was electric. And they were universal
in their praise of the car’s design – I think it’s looking better and better.
Then came the questions, mostly following the lines of ‘how far will it go between charges’, ‘how much does it cost to charge’, ‘where do you charge’, ‘what does it cost’ and ‘what’s it like to drive?’.
I had my answers off pat: more than 200 miles; depends where you charge it and how much you pay for your electricity, but as little as around £12 at home; mostly at home, occasionally in the office car park; it starts at £60,995 including the Government’s £3,500 plug-in grant, and it’s brilliant to drive.
By the end of the day, I’d probably had around 100 people looking around the car, including two who said they were going to buy one after seeing it, and another pair who had their orders in but wanted to talk specifications before they committed.
Was it all positive? I’d be lying if I said there weren’t a few people who were anti-EVs but, genuinely, the vast majority of those I spoke to were curious and keen
to learn more about electric driving.
When my I-Pace isn’t sitting in a local field having its picture taken, I’m enjoying every second behind the wheel. Sure, the Jag has been usurped as our Car of the Year by the Tesla Model 3 – a cheaper EV with a longer range and even more straight-line performance – but that’s not to say my car doesn’t have its place in the world.
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Most of that is due to the way it rides and handles. There are few models that ride so well; the miraculous adaptive suspension system dismisses the Jag’s weight, while the 22-inch wheels glide over bumps. And there are few cars that can cling to the road through corners and slingshot you out of the other side so well; it’s just great fun.
The performance front seats (£1,400) are very comfortable, and I’ve had fewer complaints about space in the back for three than in many other cars. Anyone in the rear sits in awe of the panoramic roof (£960), although I don’t get the benefit in the front.
There are two minor concerns: as the weather’s cooled I’ve found the rear demister takes an age to work, and the infotainment has frozen momentarily a couple of times. Neither is enough to get a dealer involved, but both are worth keeping an eye on.
*Insurance quote from AA (0800 107 0680) for a 42-year-old in Banbury, Oxon, with three points.
5 Interest in our Jaguar I-Pace is huge wherever we go. The car’s looks are a major draw, encouraging people to find out more about life with an EV. But its best features are not only the way it looks, but also the way it drives.
- Model: Jaguar I-Pace EV400 HSE
- On fleet since: July 2019
- Price new: £71,495
- Engine: 90kWh battery, two electric motors, 395bhp
- CO2/Tax: 0g/km/£320
- Options: Metallic paint (£700), suede headlining (£900), 22-inch alloys (£2,400), Adaptive Dynamics (£800), air suspension (£1,100), Adaptive Surface Response (£610), panoramic sunroof (£960), head-up display (£900), 14-way heated and cooled seats (£1,400), Black
- Insurance*: Group: 50/ Quote: £842
- Mileage/Economy: 2,823/2.6m/kWh
- Any problems?: None so far