Although the Jaguar I-Pace was released in 2018, can an earlier model stand up to a new Volkswagen ID 3? We crunch the numbers

It’s never been better to be able to buy a car you didn’t have the means to afford, or make a dream of personal or family transport a reality. It does this all the time across the entire car market, which is why it’s so beloved. It’s currently doing this with the electric family car that showed how an EV could work.

This subset of cars isn’t very large. It includes the Mercedes-Benz EQC, which is currently close to PS50,000. An Audi E-tron is also a member of it. Used examples of the car can be found for as low as PS45,000. At five years old, the Tesla Model S is still available for sale second-hand. Used Tesla Model Xs can be found for as low as PS50,000.

The Jaguar I-Pace was a close second, beating its German counterparts by almost a year in 2018. With the first examples of the all-electric Jag about to reach that crucial three-year milestone in their life cycle, the Jaguar I-Pace is set to surpass an important threshold as a used vehicle. As many lease agreements and finance terms end over the next few month, used cars will be brought back to showrooms and traded on more often than ever before. Keep an eye on the classifieds this autumn, and the sub-PS40,000 I-Pace will soon appear. It will stay with us once it is here.

It’s funny, but that’s precisely the amount of money you might be thinking about spending on a new EV – even if it is of a smaller and less expensive class than the I Pace.

This brings us to our first head-to-head comparison of new and used. If PS40,000 happens to be your budget for a family-life-compatible electric car in 2021, then, should it go on a brand-new, top-of-the-line Volkswagen ID 3 Pro S Tour, complete with a handsome equipment level and the biggest battery and most powerful electric motor that Wolfsburg has to offer? Should it instead go on the three-year-old I Pace, which offers huge relative gains in performance, practicality, and desireability, but is a bigger leap of faith as a used car than a new one.

First, a safety net is essential, even if the I-Pace is being purchased used. The ID 3 is covered by Volkswagen’s three-year, 60,000-mile warranty; Jaguar offers the I-Pace three-years and unlimited mileage. For our budget, you will likely be looking at a used British car around three years old. However, keep in mind that warranty extensions can be made at an additional cost for any car still under manufacturer warranty that has been maintained only by main dealers.

There are many reasons to consider paying a premium for an approved used I-Pace at a main dealer rather than searching for the cheapest. Although approved-used I-Paces are typically 10% to 20% more expensive than comparable cars in independent dealer stock they may also qualify for finance contribution or free home charger deals. They also come with two-years of dealer warranty coverage.

Jaguar and Volkswagen have similar terms for their battery warranty. Both provide coverage for failures due to manufacturing defects up to eight years after the vehicle has been driven 100,000 miles. Both cases allow for the transfer of the coverage to the second and third owners. In either case, both companies will replace or repair a battery that has less than 70% of its original storage capacity. As part of the deal, you will receive an appraisal of the actual battery capacity of an approved-used I-Pace.

However, no matter what you buy, your I-Pace should not tell you whether the battery is dead or good. You can use smartphone apps to track your battery capacity. They are based on the indicated state of charge as well as actual miles traveled. It’s worth looking into an I-Pace equipped with Jaguar’s latest battery management system. If it doesn’t return a true 160 miles in mixed usage, it’s probably worth investigating. The most likely culprits are higher-mileage vehicles that have been regularly fully charged and fast-charged.

A good, three-year-old IPace would provide a lot more than an ID 3. In terms of battery capacity, range and charging speed, the newer Volkswagen is more efficient than its predecessor. The Jaguar can charge at speeds of up to 100kW using a motorway DC fast charger, while its rival can reach speeds up to 125kW. It can also be charged faster with an AC wallbox that is home-fitted.

The ID 3’s 82kWh gross battery capacity could give you between 250-280 miles in real-world driving. The I-Pace’s range will vary depending on the battery condition. However, a healthy car should be able to travel between 190 and 220 mpg from a 90kWh battery compared to the Volkswagen’s on similar terms.

The I-Pace, which is heavier and heavier than the ID 3 with two motors to drive four-wheel drive, is what makes it less efficient. It doesn’t handle or perform like the larger car. It is easy to forget how enjoyable the I-Pace can be to drive. It is supple and yet manages with remarkable balance and agility.

It responds well to low speeds and is still responsive when you accelerate on the motorway. The I-Pace drives well, even with all the electric competitors it faces today than it did three years ago.

The single-motor rear-driven ID 3 has half the peak power of the I-Pace but only nine-tenths the weight. It doesn’t have nearly as much power under full load. It’s not as dynamically competent or vice-like, but it’s quite easy to drive.

Both cars are quiet and comfortable, but the Jaguar is more responsive and controlled when air suspension is installed (steel coils were standard on Jaguars and are more common to be found on lower-trim cars).

The ID 3 is slightly more maneuverable because it is smaller and has a tighter turning radius.

The ID 3 has plenty of space for teens and children in the back, and a large boot. However, the I-Pace is an adult-sized four-seater with ample cargo space, which can be used to haul bikes and other equipment around on longer trips.

It also has luxury-car interior richness and lots of exterior-design star-quality, while the ID 3’s cabin feels cheap and unconvincing at nearly PS40,000. The exterior design is quirky, but it is clumsy in some places.

You probably know where the PS40,000 would go. It’s possible to own ID 3, but not at this cost. We’d rather wait and watch as I-Pace prices fall this autumn, and then, when the right main dealer example appears, start haggling.

Without good dealer support, no one wants to make the leap on an electric vehicle. But Jaguar’s approved-used program should give you enough confidence to buy an EV. Driving an I-Pace, which has a 200-mile range in real-world terms, would be a great reward.