Parkers overall rating: 4.2 out of 5 4.2
  • Electric motor with 400hp and 696Nm
  • Very fast but very easy to drive
  • Sprint from 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds

If you're looking for a high-performance Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) that's capable of shifting your family more than 200 miles at a time, then you've arrived at the right place. The Jaguar I-Pace offers plenty of grace, space and pace – doubly impressive for an SUV.

>> We rate the best electric SUVs for 2020

Press the ‘D’ button on the centre console and the I-Pace glides from its parking space into urban traffic, apparently silently from inside the cabin, but with a low hum to warn pedestrians. It feels very easy to use for a car with 400hp and 696Nm of torque.

Accelerate up to motorway speed and the I-Pace surges forward with such relentless vigour that it makes most petrol or diesel cars feel decidedly sluggish, and can embarrass even high-performance cars.

While the 0-62mph time of 4.8 seconds is quite fast, the mid-range acceleration feels far stronger than that figure leads you to expect. Electric cars provide instant acceleration, and the I-Pace certainly feels very eager and responsive to throttle inputs, but it’s never excessively edgy during gentle manoeuvres.

More intriguing is ‘one-pedal driving’ – simply releasing the throttle results in a relatively strong braking effort as the electric motors harvest electricity to replenish the battery.

You can tone down the strength of this via sub-menus in the touchscreen and rely more on the brake pedal, but while it takes a small amount of time to adjust to one-pedal driving, it soon feels natural.

Handling

  • The best handling EV on sale
  • Huge grip but playful chassis
  • Agile and quick steering

Perhaps most surprising is how enjoyable such a heavy electric SUV is to drive down a challenging road – its balance of strong grip, instant performance and good body control conspire to make the I-Pace feel surprisingly agile when driven enthusiastically.

A contributory factor here is that the weighty battery and electric motors are concentrated so low down in the chassis, and the lower the weight, the better the handling of any car. There's some low-speed patter, which contributes to the feeling of sportiness, but overall, the quick steering and agility make this heavy beast feel far more agile than it has every right to.

On tight B-roads, there's no disguising this car's bulk, but you're only really aware of it around other cars. Yes, it's a cliche, but when up to speed, the I-Pace shrinks around you, and is a real joy to use. And it's not all about its impressive acceleration – far from it, in fact. Its combination of talents will keep you amused for some time to come.