If you’re in the market for an electric luxury SUV but don’t want a Tesla, you don’t have many options to choose from — at least not yet. The Jaguar I-Pace and the Audi E-Tron are currently your only other options in North America, though the Mercedes-Benz EQC will finally hit the market in early 2021. But, if you can’t wait that long, the I-Pace and the E-Tron are both competent electric vehicles (EVs). Keep reading to decide which one is right for you.
Jaguar didn’t hold back and loaded the I-Pace with lots of standard and optional tech. All trims come with an upper 10-inch touchscreen, a lower 5.5-inch touchscreen, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, an 11-speaker Meridian audio system, a navigation system, SiriusXM satellite radio, six USB ports, and a vehicle smartphone app. Optional tech features include a head-up display, a watch key (activity key), and an upgraded 15-speaker Meridian audio system.
Like the I-Pace, the E-Tron has a standard 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and two center touchscreens, but the E-Tron’s are slightly larger. The top screen measures 10.1 inches, and the lower screen checks in at 8.8 inches. Other standard tech features include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, a navigation system, SiriusXM satellite radio, four USB ports, and a vehicle smartphone app. A head-up display is optional.
The I-Pace’s 90-kWh battery pack powers front- and rear-mounted motors that have a combined output of 394 horsepower and 512 pound-feet of torque. The EPA-rated driving range is 234 miles on a full battery. A full charge for the 2020 I-Pace takes about 13 hours using a Level 2 charger, but using a DC fast charger will take between 40 to 85 minutes to charge to 80%, depending on its power output.
Audi’s E-Tron uses a slightly larger 95-kWh battery pack. Its EPA-rated range checks in at 222 miles, thanks to a recent update, and 218 miles for the Sportback model. Combined power output for the front- and rear-mounted motors is 355 hp and 414 lb.-ft. of torque, though an over-boost function briefly bumps those numbers up to 402 and 490. The E-Tron uses a 9.6-kWh on-board charger, and using a DC fast charger (150 kW) can charge 80% of the battery in about 30 minutes. A full charge on a Level 2 charger will take about 10.5 hours. Its zero-to-60mph time of 5.5 seconds (with Boost Mode) isn’t as brisk as the I-Pace, but it’s still quick.
Unfortunately for the I-Pace, the IIHS and the NHTSA have yet to conduct any crash testing. But the EV’s base S trim comes with a long list of standard driver-assist features, which include front collision warning, emergency automatic front braking with pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, rear cross-traffic alert, a self-parking system, front and rear parking sensors, vehicle exit warning, high beam assist, driver attention warning, and traffic sign recognition. The optional Drive package (which is standard on the SE trim) adds adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitoring. The optional Driver Assist package (which is standard on the top HSE trim) adds adaptive cruise control with lane centering.
Crash testing for the Audi E-Tron has been good. The IIHS gave the EV its highest award of Top Safety Pick+ for 2019, and it gave the Sportback the Top Safety Pick+ award for 2020. In NHTSA testing, the 2020 E-Tron received the highest five-star overall safety rating.
Standard driver-assist features on the base Premium trim include front collision warning, emergency automatic front braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, vehicle exit warning, automatic high beams, steering-responsive headlights, and a surround-view camera system. The Driver Assistance package is optional, and it comes standard on the top Prestige trim. It includes lane-keeping assist, lane centering, adaptive cruise control, side-impact assist, intersection assist, front and rear parking sensors with automatic braking, and traffic sign recognition. A head-up display is standard on the Prestige trim.
It’s an easy win for the I-Pace in this category. While the E-Tron looks like every other SUV (or a slightly better-looking Q5), the Jaguar’s proportions are unique and attractive with its bulging front fenders, flowing body lines, and squared-off rear end. But that’s not the case inside. Despite the fact that the I-Pace’s interior is luxurious, stylish, and modern-looking, the E-Tron’s is on a whole other level. It has plenty of luxury like the Jaguar, but it bleeds high-tech, almost as if its interior is straight out of a future concept. E-Tron buyers who want a more stylish SUV should look at the Sportback model, which gains a fastback-like roofline.
Interior dimensions and cargo space
Front and rear headroom and front legroom are almost identical in both EVs, but the larger E-Tron has four additional inches of rear legroom and more shoulder room in both front and rear seats. The same goes for cargo space. The E-Tron’s 28.5 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 57 cubic feet with them down is more than the I-Pace’s 25.3 cubic feet and 51 cubic feet, respectively. The E-Tron Sportback’s shape hurts its cargo space a little — it measures 27.2 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 54.5 cubic feet with them down. Both EVs seat five passengers.
The E-Tron is the larger of the two EVs. It’s almost 10 inches longer, about 4 inches taller, and 2 inches wider. But the Jaguar’s wheelbase is 2.6 inches longer. The drag coefficient is almost identical: .30 for the E-Tron and .29 for the I-Pace. The biggest difference is in curb weight. The E-Tron’s 5,754-pound rating is literally half a ton (1,000 pounds) more than the I-Pace. That’s a lot, and one of the reasons why the E-Tron’s driving range is shorter. The E-Tron Sportback’s exterior dimensions and weight are the same.
Jaguar breaks the I-Pace range into three trim levels named S ($69,850), SE ($76,250), and HSE ($80,900).
Audi breaks the E-Tron range down into three basic trim levels named Premium ($65,900), Premium Plus ($74,800), and Prestige ($79,100). Motorists who want the Sportback model have two options called Premium Plus ($77,400) and Prestige ($83,300) to choose from.
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