Europe’s leading premium electric SUV go head to head

Like most mainstream automakers, Mercedes has been working on an all-electric drivertrain for more than a decade now. However, the Germans joined the market relatively late, with its first production model, the B-Class Electric Drive, being introduced in 2014. Four years later and Mercedes has finally rolled out its first fully independent EV built on a stand-alone platform. It’s called the EQC, and it’s part of the company’s new EQ brand for electric vehicles.

The EQC joins a rather tight niche of all-electric crossovers, with competitors including the Tesla Model X, Jaguar I-Pace, and the upcoming BMW iX3. The Model X is already dominating the segment, but the I-Pace is also new to the market. With the EQC set to go on sale in 2019, it’s the right time to compare it against it’s most important rivals. This time around, we’re looking at its European counterpart, the Jaguar I-Pace. Let’s find out how the two compare in terms of design, technology, and drivetrain below.

Mercedes EQC vs Jaguar I-Pace Exterior

Mercedes-Benz EQC vs Jaguar I-Pace Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The two crossovers are significantly different design-wise. More importantly, they have different proportions. For starters, the I-Pace is a tad shorter than the EQC at 184.3 inches in total length. That’s 3.1 inches shorter. Interestingly enough, the British crossover has a four-inch longer wheelbase, which translates into significantly shorter overhangs. While shorter, the I-Pace is notably wider, boasting an extra five inches in width over its rival. It’s also a bit more than two inches lower.

This basically means that while the EQC boasts a traditional compact SUV stance, the I-Pace has the sportier looks on its side, being notably wider and lower, while having a shorter overall length.

But it’s not just the proportions that make the I-Pace look sportier. While Jaguar is traditionally a luxury carmaker and it’s products are usually focused on elegance rather than sportiness, the British firm adopted a new strategy recently. Following the massive success of the F-Type, nearly all of its crossovers borrowed styling cues from the two-door sports car. The I-Pace is no exception, sharing most of its stance and features with its little cousin.

Front

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The The I-Pace's oval grille is an almost exact copy of the F-Type's.

The headlamps aren’t’ as aggressive as the sports car’s, but their slim and wide design give the front fascia a mean stance. The bumper also has a unique layout among other SUVs, as the side vents are placed higher than usual, just under the headlamps. By contrast, the EQC looks mundane. Sure, the headlamps, the grille, and the black insert that connects them make it stand out compared to other Mercs, but we’re still looking at the same classic layout. Then there’s the front hood, which looks rather simple compared to the I-Pace’s vented lid.

Side

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The story is similar with the side profile.

The EQC is pretty much a GLC with a revised glasshouse, new wheels, and bespoke front bumper inserts.

If it weren’t for the blue "EQC" badges on the fenders, you could mistake the crossover for an updated GLC. The I-Pace not only looks unique compared to everything else in this niche, but it also looks decidedly sportier. The main culprits are the extended wheelbase combined with the very short overhangs, the wavy beltline, and the coupe-style roofline. The nose is also very short, while the quarter window is integrated into the rear door. Overall, the I-Pace looks more like a hot hatch with a slightly taller ride height.

Rear

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Around back, the EQC once again looks like a traditional SUV with a tailgate that extends just above the bumper, a basic, black-painted apron, and a small spoiler on the roof.

The good news is that the taillights are narrower than you’d expect on a Merc and flank and thin red light bar that stretches across the entire width of the tailgate. But that’s the only highlight we can talk about. Moving over to the I-Pace, and the British crossover immediately stands out thanks to its F-Type-inspired headlamps and unconventional trunk lid.

While most SUVs sport a wagon-type tailgate, the I-Pace departs from that concept, featuring a short deck lid like those seen on notchback designs. The deck lid is also flat at the edge, enhancing the vehicles already wide stance. While the bumper is devoid of the big tailpipes usually seen on gasoline-powered Jaguars, it still features sizable vents and a diffuser in the middle. A big departure from the EQC’s grocery getter design.

All told, both vehicles have their unique appeal, but it's pretty obvious that they're aimed at different customers.

The EQC looks like a more modern GLC with the high-tech aspect of electric cars, while the I-Pace wants to stand out as an F-Type-inspired crossover that acts like a low-slung hot-hatchback.

Who wins? It really depends on what you want. Since I’m no fan of the traditional crossover design, my vote goes to the Jag.

Mercedes EQC vs Jaguar I-Pace Interior

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Modern EVs usually have high-tech interiors and fortunately both the EQC and the I-Pace deliver in this department.

The I-Pace's cabin is heavily based on the concept that previewed the production, so it features a ton of cool features and design cues.

The dashboard is a traditional three-piece layout with the instrument cluster, the center stack, and the passenger side separated by distinct features.

Like most premium vehicles, the I-Pace’s instrument cluster is fully digital and displays various information on performance and data from the navigation system. The center stack looks clean and simple, with a pair of A/C vents at the top and a massive infotainment display in the center. Three buttons occupy the aluminum trim below. The passenger side of the dash looks rather small due to the big A/C vent in the corner, but the glove compartment area is stylish thanks to the genuine wood lid.

Mercedes-Benz EQC vs Jaguar I-Pace Interior Drivetrain
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Moving over to the center console, it boasts the same high-tech design as the concept car, featuring the same buttons and knobs and a small touchscreen for climate settings in the middle. The sporty seats and the organic-looking door panels, both wrapped in leather, complete the look.

Comfort is at its best in the I-Pace. Thanks to not having a transmission tunnel, rear-seat passengers benefit from plenty of room.

a 10.5-liter storage compartment, and tablet and laptop stowage beneath the seats. The trunk can take up to 23.1 cubic feet of luggage with the rear seats in place and up to 51.3 cubic feet with the seats folded flat.

As far as tech goes, the I-Pace comes with the new Touch Pro Duo infotainment system that combines touchscreens, capacitive sensors, and tactile physical controls. The navigation system assesses the topography of the route to destination and insights from previous journeys, including driving style, and calculates personalized range and charging status with accuracy. It also features Amazon Alexa Skill, which enables owners to ask an Alexa-enabled device for information held in the Jaguar InControl Remote app. You’ll be able to find out if the car is locked, the charging level of the battery, or if you have enough range to get to work. The I-Pace is also the first Jaguar to benefit from wireless over-the-air updates.

Mercedes-Benz EQC vs Jaguar I-Pace Interior
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The EQC's interior is equally exciting.

Mercedes claims that the cabin "pioneers an avant-garde electro-look," but that’s just a fancy way of saying that it combines features already seen in other Mercedes models with unique design cues. Familiar features includes the instrument cluster and infotainment display assembly, with two 10.25-inch screens placed behind the same glass to form a single, really wide screen. The center console is also similar to other Mercs like the GLC, as is the steering wheel with swipe controls. The already iconic round A/C vents were skipped for this model, replaced by rectangular one with rose-gold blades. The ones in the center stack are horizontal, while the ones in the corners are positioned vertically.

This is where the EQC boasts an interesting design feature, as the edges of the dash are angled toward the door panels and almost connect with the upper edge of the door handles. The panels also sport a unique design with a massive aluminum insert that transforms into thin fins toward the dash. The upper section is wrapped in leather, as are the door handles. The seats are sportier than you’d expect in an electric car and seem to provide proper lateral support. Many types of leather are available through the options list, including the AMG Line package, which also adds a flat-bottom steering wheel, sport pedals, and carbon-look trim.

Tech-wise, the EQC stands out thanks to the company’s recently introduced MBUX infotainment system. The software was revised specifically for this model and now displays info on the battery range, charge status, and energy flow. It also enables the driver to set up the EQ-optimized navigation system, driving modes, and charging current.

Mercedes-Benz EQC vs Jaguar I-Pace Interior
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A really cool feature is the intelligent voice control system with natural language recognition.

Activated by the keyword "Hey Mercedes," it supports multimedia functions like destination input, phone calls, music selection, writing and hearing messages, and weather forecast, as well as numerous convenience functions such as climate control and lighting. Thanks to its advanced natural speech recognition software, it recognizes and understands nearly all sentences when it comes to multimedia and vehicle operation. Unlike the A-Class, the car that debuted the feature, it also understands EQ-specific questions, like "Where is the next charging station?" and "Where can I charge the battery?"

Some specs remain a mystery though. Mercedes-Benz has yet to unveil info on legroom and trunk space. However, we can compare the EQC and the I-Pace in terms of design and features. As far as styling goes, I think that both SUVs look modern and boast that high-tech appearance EVs should have. While I favor Merc’s "two displays under one screen" layout, I also like the I-Pace’s cool looking center console and clean center stack. It’s really difficult to pick a favorite here. When it comes to tech though, the EQC seems to be the slightly more advanced car. It’s not far in front, but if you want smart voice recognition, it’s a better choice over the the I-Pace.

It’s a really, really close battle, but let’s say that the EQC wins this one.

Mercedes EQC vs Jaguar I-Pace Performance

Mercedes-Benz EQC vs Jaguar I-Pace Drivetrain
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Both vehicles use electric power only to move about, but each comes with their own specs and different outputs.

The I-Pace draws its juice from a 90-kWh battery, while the EQC has a slightly smaller unit that is capable of 80 kWh.

While you may be tempted to believe that a bigger battery means more power, it’s not true for this comparison. The Jaguar’s two electric motors generate 394 horsepower and 513 pound-feet of torque, while the Mercedes benefits from 402 horses and 564 pound-feet of twist. That’s eight horsepower and 51 pound-feet in favor of the EQC, but the extra oomph doesn’t make much of the difference when we look at the performance figures.

Specifically, while the Merc is slightly more torquey, it’s not the quickest of the bunch. Estimates say it can hit 60 mph in 4.9 seconds, which is almost a half-second slower than the Jag. The British SUV reaches the benchmark in 4.5 ticks. The I-Pace also hits the higher top speed at 124 mph, versus the EQC’s electronically limited 112-mph rating.

The Jag also wins the mileage battle with an EPA rating of 220 miles. The EQC is estimated to run for up to 200 miles per charge, but the EPA has yet to release official data.

In Europe, NEDC estimates put the EQC at 450 km and the I-Pace at 480 km.

Mercedes-Benz EQC vs Jaguar I-Pace Exterior
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If there’s one thing that these crossovers have in common is that both are inferior to the Tesla Model X. The American EV returns between 237 and 295 miles depending on the trim level.

Both crossovers are all-wheel-driven, with one motor spinning each axle. However, the EQC has a more intricate setup, as each motor was configured differently in order to reduce power consumption. Specifically, the front electric motor is optimized for the best possible efficiency in the low to medium load range, while the rear motor kicks in when the SUV is driven in a sportier manner.

Charging the I-Pace, which is fully compatible with 100-kW chargers, takes around 85 minutes to fill an empty battery to 80 percent. A 30-minute charge enables the car to run for around 80 miles, a solid figure for urban driving. The Jaguar also features a battery pre-conditioning system that raises or lowers the temperature of the cells to maximize range.

Mercedes-Benz EQC vs Jaguar I-Pace Exterior
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Just like the I-Pace, the EQC can be charged with both fast AC charging at home or at public charging stations. Merc says the battery can be charged from 10 to 80 percent in around 40 minutes, which is significantly quicker than the I-Pace. Final specs on full charging times aren’t yet available.

Interestingly enough, the less powerful I-Pace is the quickest car here. This may have to do with the lighter architecture, but it's also proof that Jaguar designed its EV with more sportiness in mind.

The I-Pace also returns better mileage, although the difference is marginal. On the flipside, the EQC charges faster, which comes in handy during long trips. Again, it’s difficult to pick between the two and depends on what are you looking for in an electric SUV.

Final Words

Mercedes-Benz EQC vs Jaguar I-Pace Exterior
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Needless to say, both crossovers are more than suited to compete next to the Tesla Model X.

Both showcase high-tech looks, both are stylish inside and out, and their respective drivetrains deliver a solid blend of power, efficiency, and quick charging times. Sure, they’re not as fast, powerful, or efficient as the range-topping Model X, but both the I-Pace and EQC are preliminary efforts in this market for Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz, respectively. Tesla started off with far less potent vehicles. By comparison, the I-Pace and EQC are tremendous first-time efforts. Choosing between them is obviously difficult. Unless you’re a fan of either brand, it all comes down to whether you like sporty or traditional designs and whether you want a vehicle that’s quicker or one that charges its battery slightly faster. You can’t go wrong with either of them.

Further reading

2020 Mercedes-Benz All-Electric SUV Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Read our full review on the 2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC.

Mercedes-Benz EQC vs Jaguar I-Pace Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the 2019 Jaguar I-Pace.

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