Tesla Model X vs Jaguar I-Pace – a comparison of two Electric SUV leaders

Jaguar’s new electric I-Pace is coming to Australia and it will start at a stout $119,000 for the entry-spec S. No, that isn’t cheap but when it arrives in October, there will just one credible rival for your electric SUV affections and that is the Tesla Model X.

We thought we’d have a quick look at the two cars and their starting prices to see what you’re getting for your money and whether the Jag really is that much cheaper.

Pricing and Specifications

 Tesla Model X 75DJaguar I-Pace
Price (before ORC)$132,024$119,000
Battery packLithium-ionLithium-ion
Seats5 (optional 7)5
Media screen size17-inches10-inches
Free charging400kWh pa / unlimited with referral codeTo be confirmed
Charge time (100W)50% - 30 mins
100% - 60mins
80% - 40mins
Range417km (NEDC)480km (WLTP)
580km (NEDC)

Tesla Model X 75D

Tesla Model X

The 75D kicks off $13,000-odd more than the Jag at $132,042 which if I’m honest is the car that almost nobody buys, and definitely not with just five seats.

Tesla’s website pricing claims a $119,000 base price. This is…cheeky. When you look at the breakdown, you’ll see a charge of over $12,000 for luxury car tax (LCT). You and I cannot escape that tax, it is not added as an on-road cost and Jaguar’s pricing includes the LCT. If you don’t like LCT (and who does, especially on EVs), write to your local member of Federal Parliament.

You start with 20-inch alloys, a nine speaker stereo, aluminum chassis and body parts, keyless entry, front and rear cameras, forward AEB, front, rear and side parking sensors, sat nav, cruise control, electric front seats, active LED headlights, lane departure warning, fake leather interior, power tailgate, auto wipers, air suspension, speed sign detection and whatever else Elon dreams up to send you via software update. It’s a moving feast.

Under your feet is a 75kWh battery and an electric motor at both ends firing power at the road through all four wheels. The claimed NEDC range is 417km and 0-100km/h arrives in 5.2 seconds.

Jaguar I-Pace

Jaguar I-Pace

The I-Pace will ship in four spec-levels plus a special First Edition. For now, we’re going to have a look at the entry-level S so we’re comparing like-for-like.

On the S, you’ll get 18-inch alloys, LED headlights, electric front seats, something Jag calls “Luxtec” upholstery, GPS sat nav and a Meridian sound system. You also get forward AEB (up to 80km/h), traffic sign recognition, lane keep assist, rear cross traffic alert and reversing  camera.

Also under your feet is a battery pack, but in the I-Pace there is just one choice at launch, a 90kWh lithium-ion pack with a claimed WLTP range of 480km. WLTP is probably a little less optimistic than NEDC, with a wider range of tests and longer cycles, so real-world numbers will be closer.

Jaguar isn’t shy with its power figures, the company saying its self-developed electric motors belt out 294kW and 680Nm. Flatten the throttle and you’ll sail past 100km/h in 4.8 seconds, quicker than the 75D and 100D (if you care).

Design and Practicality

 Tesla Model X 75DJaguar I-Pace
Number of boots2 - rear with tailgate, front under bonnet2
Total storage capacity (litres)2492 litres (5 seater)656 (rear seats up)
1453 (rear seats down)
Central storage consoleYesYes
Glove boxYesYes

Model X

Tesla Model X Interior

These two cars are very, very different approaches. The Tesla is a polarising design – it hides neither its bulk nor its credentials. The Model X is very slab-sided and needs big wheels to fill the huge wheelarches. Tesla has ignored funky surfacing, with a distinct CGI look to the body panels. Unlike the Model 3 horror stories, the X’s panel gaps aren’t as variable but you’d expect more from a similarly-priced European SUV.

I’ve spoken to very few disgruntled owners, but the ones that have been range from shoulder-shrugging, “Well, that’s what you get for early adoption” to “I’m handing it back.”

The skateboard battery-pack-and-drivetrain combination (which the I-Pace also employs) means a gigantic, voluminous interior. I am not personally a huge fan of the Tesla interior furniture but most owners love it. A minimalist design, the modular approach to seating means you can have fix, six or seven seats on board, although the pricing reflects the basic five-seater.

Tesla Model X

The vast majority of the controls are in the 17-inch screen (in portrait mode) on the dash, angled towards the driver. The Tesla relies heavily on Google for a range of services but the system UI is elegant and for the most part user-friendly. I never got on with the stereo controls, though. And the Mercedes-sourced stalks for gear selection and the all-in-one lights/wipers/indicators is never not infuriating.

With two boots, you have a whopping amount of storage, with a combined 2492 litres, more than just about anything on the market. The vast majority of that volume is behind the rear seats in the squared-off boot which is easy to load.

Passengers will not want for leg or headroom and even with the whacky Falcon doors, I’ve had a two metre tall Sydney Swans reserve player seated comfortably in the back.


Jaguar I-Pace Interior

I haven’t seen the interior of the Jaguar myself – and let me tell you, a well-lit photo hides a multitude of sins – but it looks pretty good. Alongside the similarly-sized F-Pace, the I’s interior is quite rich-looking but it doesn’t scream “EV” the way the Tesla does. Although to be fair, the Tesla screams Tesla rather than EV specifically.

The I-Pace is a rare exception to “if only the production looked as good as the concept.” While not everyone likes it (obviously), Ian Callum’s team has produced a distinctive design with tons of Jaguar’s current design DNA. I think it makes the car less threatening to fence-sitters and also puts the Jaguar brand in the same league as Tesla.

Inside, the I-Pace features Jaguar’s new InControl Pro system with dual screens and looks like a more conventional car inside, which will certainly attract buyers hesitant about the Model X’s different approach.

The storage numbers aren’t as high as its American rival, with a 656 litre boot extending to 1453 litres with the seats all flat. The front boot is tiny, more of a glorified glove box, but I guess you could claim it as a second boot.

Like the F-Pace, the I-Pace sort of straddles two segments and ends up with more storage than anything comparable. The Tesla is also a much bigger car and hence has a lot more space.

Like the X, the I-Pace’s floor is flat, so there’s plenty of leg and headroom for rear passengers. If you skip leather, Luxtec is a wool blend textile and is combined with a recycled “technical suede cloth.”

Oddly enough, neither of them feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a bizarre omission.

Warranty and ownership

The Tesla warranty is a reasonably generous four-year 80,000km offer, with an eight year/infinite kilometre warranty on the battery. As I’ve already mentioned, software updates add the sort of features other carmakers could only dream of and, unusually, you can retrofit some “hardware” options like AutoPilot if you decide you want it after you bought it.

Tesla Supercharger

Superchargers are available in 22 locations across Australia, along with hundreds of what Tesla calls destination chargers. The Superchargers will charge you up to 50 percent in just half an hour and full in 90 minutes. If you’re mad enough not to get a referral code from another Tesla owner (they’re like vegans or CrossFitters, really easy to find), you get 400kWh of free SuperCharger use per year. Get the code and your charging is free.

Jaguar I-Pace Charge Port

Compare that with Jag’s claim of ten hours off a 7kW wall box for an 80 percent charge and they’re reasonably close on performance. As for a Jaguar charging network, James Scrimshaw, Jaguar Australia’s spokesman, told DriveZero, “We’re getting the dealerships ready to have charging points. We’ve got a plan for a national network that’s being developed. We’ll be launching in October and we’ll have the information before then.”

Jaguar’s global press release says their planned charging network will deliver 100km of range in 15 minutes and 80 percent in 40 minutes.The I-Pace will also plug in to existing charging stations in public places like A Better Place. Expect similar domestic power supply charging rates of aroun 9km per hour of charge to the Tesla.

I-Pace Remote Climate

The I-Pace also includes Ask Alexa, which means you can ask the car via your phone how much charge it has.

And the I-Pace even has its own racing series to support the FIA Formula E World Championship. You can’t say that about the Tesla.

The Jaguar warranty will most likely line up with conventional cars (three years/100,000km) while the battery has a Tesla-matching eight years, although you’re restricted to 160,000km or 20,000km per year.

The Gadgets

Let’s face it, we love electric cars for the overall gadget-ness of them. They have cool things and we all like cool things.

Tesla is a clear leader in gadgets of a certain type. There’s a ton of hype around the autonomous driving (not yet fully-developed) and when it works, it works well. It costs a great deal more to fit to your Model X, though, and is subject to a range of delays and downloads.

Tesla Model X

Inside there’s very little to add apart from the supremely silly Bioweapons Defence mode which comes with the $8300 Premium Upgrades Package which also has an upgraded audio system, “self-presenting front door” and cold climate features like heated steering wheel, heated seats and defrosters for wiper blades and washer nozzles.

Enhanced AutoPilot ($6900) adds a whole bunch of sensors and cameras and another $4100 gets you “Full Self-Driving” which isn’t available yet.

Adding seats costs between $4100 for the seven-seat interior to $8300 for the two six-seat interior options.

The Falcon doors are standard and allow you to squeeze into tight parking spaces and still get out with just 30cm of clearance to the car next to you. Their reliability is a bit iffy, though, and all that weight high up in the frame doesn’t help the handling.

I-Pace Matrix LED Headlights

The Jag will have an options list as long as your arm, including very effective Matrix LED headlights, various Meridian-branded stereos (from good, to “how much blood is coming out of my ears?”), adaptive cruise with traffic support, but really, most of it is either cosmetic (wheels, panoramic sunroof) and air suspension, which is standard on the Tesla.

The Wash-Up

The $119,00 I-Pace looks pretty good against the Model X, especially when you consider a couple of ticked boxes on the options sheet still won’t push you to price parity. When you compare the performance of the I-Pace to the rather more expensive ($163,000-ish) 100D, the I-Pace looks better again – even the top-shelf HSE maxes out at $140,800 before on-roads.

Tesla Model X

The I-Pace can’t carry six seven people, so if you need those extra seats, the Tesla is the clear winner. The Tesla also has free charging if you know another Tesla owner. Getting to know another Tesla owner is as easy as making a joke about Tesla on Twitter (seriously, try it).

Jaguar has a much bigger dealer network and 80-odd years of building cars. While the drivetrain is new, the rest of the tech in the car is tried and tested. Jaguar not only knows how to build cars, it knows how to build lots of them and the Magna Steyr factory in Austria makes them well.

The Jaguar and the Tesla are aimed at different buyers but also the same buyers. Tesla’s head start has afforded it cult status in the market, but that’s a limited well to draw upon. The Tesla wasn’t a game-changer, it invented the game and has dominated it ever since.

Jaguar I-Pace interior photos

Jaguar is going after style-seekers and is doing so with a brand that knows how to find them and then sell a car to them.

Both will attract people looking to buy into the future of cars. The Jaguar is a genuine game-changer because it’s the first all-electric SUV from an established carmaker, with plenty of style and brand recognition across the globe. Park a Jaguar in your driveway and expect a lot of people take notice. I don’t think it’s overstating it to say that the I-Pace will do for Jaguar what the Evoque did for Range Rover.

The I-Pace is genuinely going to make life harder for Tesla because it’s a brand people know and want. Jaguar is quite open about the fact that the industry owes Tesla a lot, the American company has got the whole world talking about electric cars. There’s a slight sense of, “Thanks guys, we’ll take it from here.” And they might, too – they being legacy carmakers such as Jaguar, VW, Mercedes and BMW. Nissan is already doing a great job with the Leaf.

It’s another six months before the I-Pace will be in Australia, but the initial stories from the limited Geneva Motor Show drive are encouraging.

There’s no clear winner when you look purely at the fact that they’re electric cars. Choosing between the two is about more than kWhs and acceleration figures. Either way, battle has commenced.

Peter Anderson is a freelance motoring journalist based in Sydney. He wanted to be a car journalist from the age of fifteen but lucked into it almost twenty years later by engaging in Twitter banter with the-then deputy editor of a motoring website. Since then Peter has written for Carsguide.com.au, Practical Motoring, Box Magazine and regularly appears on radio on ABC Sydney to talk cars. He’s the owner of theredline.com.au, a performance car website and YouTube channel.