In Review

Mercedes EQC vs. Audi e-tron vs. Jaguar I-Pace: which is the best electric SUV?

The EV market is hotting up with an influx of electrified crossovers - here’s how three of the best compare

There has never been a better time to jump into the world of electric cars, with some of the biggest carmakers already having some form of electrified model in their showrooms. 

Tesla’s saloons are arguably the most recognisable electric cars, partly thanks to the Twitter antics of co-founder and CEO Elon Musk.

But there have been a number of new releases from rival manufacturers over the past 18 months that have turned up the heat in the growing market.  

Jaguar’s I-Pace, for instance, was a critical hit when it launched early last year and it has since been joined by the Mercedes-Benz EQC and Audi e-tron in 2019.

So which of the three comes out on top?

Prices

At £64,495, the Jaguar I-Pace is the cheapest of the bunch. Second place goes to the £65,640 Mercedes EQC, while the e-tron is the most expensive at £71,490.

It’s worth noting that the UK Government offers a £3,500 grant towards purchasing an electric car, though most companies factor that into their car’s list price. 

Winner: Jaguar I-Pace

Battery range and performance

On paper, the I-Pace offers the greatest battery range out of the three SUVs. Jaguar quotes a range of 298 miles under the new WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure), which is considered an accurate representation of real-world driving. 

Putting the claim to the test, Top Gear drove the car on a 291-mile trip from London to Land’s End in Cornwall - leaving the car with about 11% of charge to spare. 

However, that’s only if you turn off the air conditioning, radio, heads-up display, lane assistance, wipers and headlights while “crawling along”, the motoring news site says. In the real world, drivers can expect a range below 200 miles. 

Critics have yet to put the Mercedes’ 259-mile range nor the Audi’s 241 miles to the test as extensively as Top Gear has done with the I-Pace. Given that both the EQC’s and e-tron’s range were measured using WLTP, the I-Pace is the one that takes the win here. 

Winner: Jaguar I-Pace

Practicality
Audi E-tron

As these are electric cars, two of them offer storage compartments both at the rear and under the bonnet. One, sadly, only comes with a rear boot to stow your luggage and groceries. 

The Audi offers a boot space of 605 litres at the rear and 60 litres under the bonnet. The I-Pace comes with a larger boot at 656 litres, though its front compartment is less than half the size at 27 litres, notes CarBuyer.  

But the Mercedes EQC has by far the smallest storage options. Not only does the rear boot have only 500 litres of capacity, but there’s no compartment under the bonnet for smaller items. 

With the I-Pace and e-tron being evenly matched, we call this a draw, with the Mercedes a distant third. 

Winner: Jaguar I-Pace and Audi E-tron

On the road

All three models have been a hit with the critics in terms of driving. 

Auto Express says of the I-Pace, “silent, sharp dynamics, beautifully built cabin and rock bottom running costs are just a small part of the car’s unrivalled appeal”. The EV’s steering is a particular highlight, while its low centre of gravity gives it “a sense of agility missing in many rivals”.

The EQC, meanwhile, gets high praise from Autocar. “Electric cars simply don’t come any more refined, well-appointed, luxurious or laid-back than this,” the magazine says. “Find a mode in which you can drive the car confidently, by contrast, and it could hardly be more relaxing, pleasant or easy-going.”

While the e-tron also impresses, Evo says it feels heavy compared to its rivals. “It certainly can’t beat the Jaguar i-Pace for agility, despite having its batteries set low in the chassis.”

So the e-tron misses out on the top spot here, meaning it’s a two-horse race between the I-Pace and the Mercedes EQC. 

Winner: Jaguar I-Pace and Mercedes EQC

Verdict
Jaguar I-Pace

Whichever model you pick, all three manufacturers have built strong contenders not just in the electric market - but also in the ultra-competitive SUV sector. 

But there can be only one winner, and the honours go to the Jaguar I-Pace. 

The Mercedes EQC puts up a good fight but is let down by practicality issues, while the Audi e-tron seems to mirror the same weighty driving characteristics of a conventional combustion-engined SUV. 

The I-Pace, meanwhile, is the cheapest of the bunch, offers the best range and is more likely to put a smile on drivers’ faces on a twisty section of B-road. 

Overall winner: Jaguar I-Pace

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