I attended the launch of Jaguar Land Rover’s newest vehicle, its first ever SUV, the F-Pace. It was a 2-day event in Port Elizabeth where we got to drive inland via Grahamstown, with a lunch stop at Shamwari Game Reserve, and then overnight in Port Alfred. Day 2 was at Aldo Scribante raceway, I had been there once before but a long time ago so forgot what the track was like. Driving the F-Pace was a good refresher, and the chance to push the limits, legally 🙂
Now I don’t know about you, but this most obvious thing about the F-Pace is that it’s one good looking SUV! I love the design. The company could have easily taken one of its Land Rovers and stuck a Jaguar badge on it but didn’t. It started from the ground up with the F-Pace; but it does have elements from the X range. As expected from Jaguar, a lot of attention went into the details, which I can appreciate even though I may not be the target market.
As you know, I’m no motoring journalist or don’t pretend to be one, so I assume you read about the launch last week when motoring media attended. If not, take a look on cars.co.za. My blog post is going to focus on, you guessed it, the technology. I haven’t come across a vehicle with this much tech inside it *heart eye emoji*
Before I get into the tech aspects, I just want to add that I specifically drove the F-Pace R-Sport, F-Pace S and F-Pace First Edition variations at the launch, in either petrol or diesel. The V6 supercharged ones were good to drive, but I preferred the diesel ones as they were lighter. You can get very comfortable in these cars and not realise what speed you eventually end up doing *cough* but all that was allowed on the track! We drove on the road, off-road and on the track, so got a chance to really put it through its f-pace(s).
I’m going to run you through my favourite tech bits inside the F-Pace:
- It basically has a mini PC inside: the system is powered by a quad-core processor; has Ethernet connectivity; a solid state drive (it’s 100GB but 60GB is free to use); has a SIM card slot; WiFi hotspot functionality via the SIM card; 2x USB 3.0 ports; HDMI port and smartphone hotspot capabilities. An ideal situation would to be to ask your network for a clone SIM and stick it into your vehicle and use the data from it or hotspot from your smartphone without removing your existing SIM. Alternately, just buy a spare for data only (FNB hands these things out for free).
- It features a brand new infotainment system from Jaguar Land Rover called InControl Touch Pro, with a 10.2″ screen, this variant is the high-end model. The standard one is 8″ and called InControl Touch. It will be available on all 2017 models under the Jaguar Land Rover brand. It currently does not support CarPlay and Android Auto. It is super fast and responsive due to the hardware mentioned above. This is the first time I’ve tested a car with dedicated features like this; all other systems have been slightly slow.
- There is an accompanying app called Jaguar InControl Remote that works in conjunction with your vehicle with access to fuel, range, weather, climate control, check if windows or doors are open, lock and unlock the vehicle remotely, or locate your vehicle in a crowd through a ‘beep and flash’ function. It also offers other features like walking directions from where you are currently located to where you parked (like if you’re out at a concert and can’t remember late at night). It offers full trip logs in the app, which is handy if you need to submit logs or even to SARS. So essentially you can turn on your car from inside the house to the temperature you want before heading out to your garage and driving off! There’s also Apple Watch support, so you can start the F-Pace from your APPLE WATCH! You can also control your vehicle from another city, like if you left something unlocked by mistake. From a security point of view, the app has 2-factor authentication so you will need a PIN, aside from your username and password, to make changes. Ok, the app has a lot of useful features, and I can’t go into every single one on this post. Screenshot from the Apple Watch:
- InControl Touch Pro will let you update HERE maps wirelessly when there’s an update available, but if its too big, you can do this at a dealership. You can also access the internet via the browser on the Pro, but only when the vehicle is not moving for obvious reasons.
- Just like you would with any accompanying device, you can load apps for InControl Touch/Pro via the smartphone app and let it sync. The system will have its own process where Jaguar approves what apps are available. It’s also market-specific; so if South Africans request a specific app, they will push it up the queue. I heard that Zomato for example will be available, which is great if you’re exploring and looking a restaurant nearby.
- I absolutely love the digital dashboard which is customisable to up to four different looks (minimal is the best). When you have the map mode on and a turn is coming up, the left hand panel will switch to a map mode (see pic below; top left). Also, you can turn the whole digital dashboard into map mode if you want (bottom right). This is not to be confused with the InControl Touch screen which is in the middle of the car.
- There is a specific route planner mode on the app, so you can pre-load your journey before you get into the car. This function was used at the launch event so all we had to do was get into the car and drive! It will give you a full log, consumption, and every bit of relevant info.
- The F-Pace has a built-in SIM card in the vehicle which you as the driver don’t have access to. It used for emergencies only. Like if you are in an accident and the airbags get deployed, the car will automatically make the emergency call, regardless of how injured you are or if there’s no cellphone signal. Jaguar will know exactly who you are, where you are, what your VIN number is, etc. So it won’t be a case of getting into accident and being left alone in the middle of nowhere waiting for hours for help. The Emergency button works the same way when you press it; also works when you don’t have signal.
- There’s an activity key that is available as an extra for about R4000. It’s a waterproof band that you wear on your wrist and acts like a key to the vehicle, allowing you to leave the actual key inside the car. Once you lock the car with the activity key, by pressing it onto the J on the Jaguar logo on the boot, it locks the car and disables the use of the actual key. When you unlock the car the same with with the activity key, then only does the normal key become usable again. Best case scenario? You’re a surfer and don’t want to take your keys in the ocean with you; just purchase the activity key and off you go.
The F-Pace launched officially in South Africa last week, and pricing starts at around R780 000. The technology pack is available as an add-on for R30 000. The vehicle is available in many variations and trims, accessories etc at a cost. My favourite interior from last week was the red and black:
Thank you Jaguar Land Rover for having me!
Welcome to Wired to the Web. My name is Nafisa Akabor and I’m a technology journalist covering business and consumer tech for the last 14 years. I’m passionate about start-ups, smartphones, mobile payments, travel tech and electric cars. ✉️ email@example.com