Jaguar's all-electric I-Pace has been named as the 2019 New Zealand Car of the Year. As well as being the first Jaguar to have secured the New Zealand Motoring Writers' Guild's ultimate accolade, the I-Pace is also the first pure electric vehicle to have done so.
Announcing the award in Auckland earlier this week, Guild president Richard Edwards said the I-Pace's innovative design and features led to its selection as this year's overall winner.
‘‘We are delighted to name the Jaguar I-Pace as the 2019 New Zealand Car of the Year. With it already holding the 2019 World Car of the Year title, it is a real endorsement of our independent voting process.’’
‘‘The Jaguar I-Pace is an impressive car. Its unique design offers buyers the chance to have both a sports car and SUV at the same time, while also offering the latest in convenience and safety features.
‘‘The fact that it is all-electric with a very usable range is an absolute bonus. New Zealand is ideally placed with its huge share of renewable energy to make the most of the advancements in electric vehicles the new vehicle industry is providing us,’’ he said.
The I-Pace is available here in three different models: the $144,900 I-Pace S, the $154,900 I-Pace SE and the $164,900 I-Pace HSE.
It is powered by a pair of electric motors (one driving the front wheels, one driving the rear) that produce combined outputs of 294 kW of power and 696Nm of torque. The motors are driven by a 90kW hour lithium-ion battery pack.
Despite its rakish styling and ability to sprint from 0-100kmh in 4.8 seconds, the I-Pace boasts a genuine off-road ability; it's equipped with a special offroad drive mode, has excellent approach and departure angles, and is rated for a 600mm wading depth.
Its nominal range between charges is 377km according to the standard EPA test formula and 470km according to the WLTP test. Our test suggests a comfortable real-world range of between 250km and 300km driving at highway speed on typical Otago roads with four adults aboard.
Jaguar NZ general manager Steve Kenchington said the award capped an exceptional launch for the I-Pace, which has been a pioneer in the premium EV category.
‘‘The acknowledgement from New Zealand's Motoring Writers’ Guild members, a highly experienced group who have reviewed hundreds of vehicles from almost every marque available on the market today, is particularly gratifying for the Jaguar team at a local level.
‘‘Today's award is recognition of the hundreds of hours that have been invested by world-class engineers and designers in developing the technology behind the I-Pace.’’
Even before winning the New Zealand Car of the Year Trophy, the I-Pace had laid claim to being the most highly-decorated production car in modern history, having secured more than 60 international automotive awards, including several national car of the year titles, as well as the coveted 2019 European and World Car of the Year trophies, which included the Best Design and Best Green Car awards as well as the overall crown.
It has been lauded by Drivesouth previously, securing our maximum possible (and rarely awarded) five-star road test rating. In earning that rating, the I-Pace also scored five-stars for its overall design, interior design, environmental sustainability and safety, along with four and a-half stars for performance and four stars for handling.
The voting members of the Guild evaluated the I-Pace against a range of criteria including how the vehicle performs its intended role, styling, interior design and accommodation, fit, finish and quality, ride and refinement, performance, road-holding and handling, value for money, active and passive safety and environmental responsibility.
The Jaguar I-Pace beat nine other finalists in the New Zealand Car of the Year awards, including two other EVs, to take the top honour. The other finalists were (in alphabetical order): the Audi e-tron, Ford Focus, Holden Acadia, Hyundai Santa Fe, Mazda 3, Mercedes GLE, Peugeot 508, Tesla Model 3 and Toyota RAV4.
- David Thomson