By Charleen Clarke
Lots of people have asked me why the Jaguar I-Pace is now officially the best car in the world (this is no namby-pamby claim; it’s the 2019 World Car of the Year). Interestingly enough, all the people who have asked me the question have never driven the vehicle (once you’ve driven it, you’re sold). So, for those poor sods who have yet to experience the I-Pace in all its glory, this is what you’re missing out on. These are also my top eight reasons why it’s the 2019 World Car of the Year:
1. It goes like a rocket
At the South African launch of this incredible vehicle, I warned my co-driver that he was about to experience something incredible (having already driven the car in order to vote for it in the World Car Awards). “I suggest you put your head firmly against the headrest,” I urged him. He looked at me as though I had lost my mind – and then proceeded to lose his sunglasses when I propelled the I-Pace from zero to 100km/h in just 4.8 seconds. They flew right off his head.
2. It looks so bloody good
For the first time in the history of the World Car Awards, the I-Pace collected a whopping three awards. One of those was World Car Design of the Year. It’s not hard to understand why. Its sleek, coupe-like silhouette was influenced by the Jaguar C-X75 supercar – and the result is simply spectacular. Its dramatic, cab-forward profile, short overhangs and taut, muscular haunches give it a sense of drama which set it apart from other SUVs. The first time I saw it, the only thing to come out of my mouth was “wow”. (Trust me, that’s a first for me – and most other women too.)
3. It is as green as Kermit the frog
I would never toss my deo like truly devoted bunny huggers. But I do like green things. And the I-Pace is one such thing. This earned the vehicle its third trophy at World Car Awards: that of World Green Car. It’s electric! So forget about those nasty emissions!
4. It’s easy to live with
Green cars have been a challenge in the past – because they took forever to charge and then, once fully charged, they could only go around the block (yes, I know, I exaggerate ever so slightly). The I-Pace is not such a creature. The I-Pace’s 90kWh lithium-ion battery delivers a range of up to 470km (WLTP cycle). And it’s capable of charging from 0 to 80% in a maximum 72 minutes (60kW DC). Alternatively it takes around 12 hours to achieve the same state of charge when using a domestic wallbox (7.4kW AC).
5. It’s engaging to drive
The I-Pace is a brilliant car to drive. It’s engaging and fun too. When I’m driving it, I feel as though I’m behind the wheel of a sports car… not a fuddy duddy SUV. It’s a real driver’s car. I like.
6. The interior is a great place to be
Jaguar interiors rock my world. And of course this applies to the I-Pace too. The spacious interior – enabled by the bespoke electric vehicle architecture – is finished with beautiful premium details and exacting Jaguar craftsmanship. It’s oh so posh, sweetie darlings.
7. It is practical
Need lots of interior space? Tick that box. What about a reasonable boot? Tick. This is a car that can accommodate five adults and their luggage. No problem.
8. You stand a great chance of not dying
I know that we’re remarkably good at killing people on our roads in South Africa. We are world champions at this, in fact. However, when I’m in an I-Pace, I feel relatively safe. That’s because it has earned a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. The body structure provides high levels of occupant protection, and is complemented by technologies designed to protect other road users and pedestrians, including a deployable bonnet and autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection.
Finally – and I didn’t put this in my top eight because it’s hard to justify – I love the I-Pace because it’s something quite different. There really isn’t anything else quite like it on our roads. And that works for me.