Tesla Model Y Performance vs Jaguar I-Pace
Tesla finally completed its S3XY lineup with the release of the Model Y, but while the S, 3, and X were released into unchallenged market segments, other manufacturers have beaten Tesla to the electric midsize crossoverpunch.
Specifically, the Jaguar I-Pace looks like a fitting rival to the Model Y. It’s luxurious, sporty, and practical—an excellent first entry into the electric vehicle ring. It also begs the question: does Tesla need to worry about the electric up-and-comer? Or, is the Model Y the knockout blow of a seasoned vet?
Aside from competition from other automakers, the first comparison Tesla fans will be putting the Y through is a point-by-point match up to its simultaneously older and littler brother: Model 3. It’s basically impossible to discuss the Y without talking about the 3. They’re built on the same platform and share a little more than 75 percent of the same parts. Their interior styling is the same and exterior styling is so close that the Model Y looks exactly like a taller and longer Model 3—and that’s basically what it is.
The point of stretching out a Model 3 is to make a bigger and more practical family car more in line with current American buying habits. Sedans are deposed, Crossovers are king.
You sit higher on the road compared to the Model 3, and there is significantly more head and legroom for rear passengers. Taller passengers who eat their knees in the back of the 3 will appreciate the higher rear seats of the Y.
The Model 3’s trunk is also dwarfed by the gaping hatchback found on the Model Y, which provides more than four times as much cargo space. A useful cherry on top is the power liftgate, though the lack of a remote open or motion sensor is poor form, especially since it is present on most other vehicles in the segment. Who wants to futz with their cell phone to open the hatch when they’ve got full hands?
Bigger families can also take solace knowing that a 7-seat Model Y is coming in 2021. Tesla will even take your order on one now—though just how much room the third row will get is still unknown.
The size and practicality do make the Model Y a winner as a daily driver. But bigger means heavier and heavier means less sporting. The Model 3 is beloved for its driving characteristics—can the Y compare?
Fortunately, the Model Y Performance packs the same heart-pounding, face-melting, stomach-weakening acceleration to be expected from all performance Teslas. Zero-to-60 happens in just 3.5 seconds, and you can mash the go pedal at any speed for an intoxicating rush of power.
The Y will even take corners with confidence. Its center of gravity is still sedan-low thanks to the placement of the heavy battery pack underneath the car. Frankly, it has more grip than most drivers have skill to use. But you do feel that extra weight. It has more body roll and it is less nimble than the 3. The Y is good to drive, but it’s not as rewarding as the 3 is to drive hard.
Unfortunately, the Model Y is suffering from the same batch of issues its older little brother did during its initial rollout: build quality.
Our Model Y has some of the typical mismatched panel gaps and the rear bumper doesn’t match the rest of the car’s paint as closely as you’d like it to. It doesn’t take much online searching to find reports bigger issues: creaking noises, failing door seals, and even leaking windshields.
Normally this would be disappointing on a car that costs north of $60,000, but expectations need to be broken to be disappointed, and Tesla’s last product launch made this one unsurprising.
That said, Tesla will improve build quality of the Model Y over time. The company is constantly making small improvements to each car and the build process to ensure that quality is constantly improving. Later buyers will have less to worry about than early buyers.
But when it comes to the Jaguar I-Pace, build quality is never a worry.
This electric crossover has an old-school luxury badge and the old-school luxury fittings to match. The interior is covered in real leather, made from real cows. Two touchscreen control panels are accompanied by weighty metal switchgear and smooth metallic trim highlights the curves of the interior. There’s even that solid luxury-car thunk when closing the doors.
The downside to all that luxury material? Weight. The I-Pace weighs almost 300 pounds more the Model Y. It’s smaller, too, with a shorter roofline that leaves less headroom for passengers and less space for cargo—and that smaller size has a real slimming effect, as the I-Pace hides its extra weight better than the Model Y does.
Its smaller footprint makes the car feel more nimble. It’s eager to turn in and eggs the driver on. It’s so easy to lay down the power coming out of a corner and quickly reach highly illegal speeds.
Technically it is slower off the line than the Model Y Performance, but to borrow a phrase from the Brits themselves: 0 to 60 in 4.5 seconds is still bloody quick.
You pay a lot for the privilege, though: the I-Pace starts at $69,850, or about $9,000 more expensive than the starting price of the Model Y Performance. It’s also easy to load the car all the way up. Our 2019 Jaguar I-Pace HSE is the top-trim model and stickered at $80,500.
Unfortunately for Jaguar, the I-Pace has a demand problem that Tesla does not. The I-Pace suffers some extreme initial depreciation thanks to the incentives tossed on new cars to move them off the lot—plus it’s still eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit. With just one owner at 4,400 miles, this like-new I-Pace is now retailing for $58,990. That’s cheaper than any new Model Y Performance, and used examples won’t fall below that price for many months due to high demand.
The Jaguar I-Pace does have a serious flaw, though: it’s inefficient and lacking in endurance—making just 234 miles of range out of a 90 kWh battery pack. This issue is compounded by a slow DC fast charge rate. A maximum 85-kilowatt charge speed means it’ll take about an hour to recharge the car from 0 to 80 percent. That’s a long time to wait for not very much range, especially when compared to the Model Y.
The Model Y packs a 75 kilowatt hour battery pack, and the high-consumption Performance model with large range-hurting wheels still manages 280 miles on a single charge. Without the 21-inch wheels, the car can do 315 miles on a single charge. Plus, you get access to Tesla’s unbeatable Supercharger network, which offers fast chargers all over the country and a 250-kW charge speed that has drivers charged up from 0 to 80 percent in just 30 minutes—and drivers can play games or watch movies or sing karaoke in the car while they wait.
As a car, the Jaguar I-Pace is built better and drives better. But the Model Y is a better electric car, offering the convenience, range, and fun tech features that make Teslas so popular. It doesn’t matter that Tesla can’t align its panels as closely as the competition—there is a special charm to its cars that keep people coming back for more.
The Model Y is no exception.