2017 Jaguar F-Pace: Exploring InControl Touch Pro, A Pricey Entertainment and Nav System
by Carlos Lago, Senior Writer
Two years ago one of the guys responsible for Jaguar's new entertainment system, dubbed InControl Touch Pro, was giving me a demonstration of the system's broad array of features. It looked slick, and the pretty 10.2-inch display reacted quickly to inputs. Still, I use my phone more than my car, so I asked about Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support. To my surprise, he brushed off the idea.
After logging a bunch of miles in our 2017 Jaguar F-Pace, I wish I could ask that question again. InControl Touch Pro is a $3,265 option, adding a 10.2-inch center display, navigation, on-board Wi-Fi, and a surround-sound system. It also replaces the gauge cluster with a 12.3-inch digital display. Both displays are attractive and switch between menus quickly.
But I was most interested in exploring the functionality Jaguar offers within the system in place of supporting Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. I found that, while it can do some neat things, overall it comes up woefully short of the capabilities and ease of use from the solutions from Apple and Google.
Setting it up
I went to incontrol.jaguar.com and, after accepting a bunch of legalese, created an account. Part of the process requires going outside, starting the car, and holding one of the SOS buttons for a few seconds in order for the system to communicate with something in space. The account also logs your VIN and license plate info. The latter is for assisting in emergencies or if your car gets stolen.
Through the website you can track your trips, including distance, duration, average speed, and efficiency. You could also stalk co-workers. You shouldn't. But you could.
What do you do after that? Download apps on your phone. For reference, I'm using a Google Pixel with the latest version of Android. The Google Play store lists four Jaguar InControl-related applications, each with middling reviews. I downloaded each.
Jaguar InControl Remote
The promise: Think of the Remote app like a more capable keyfob for your phone. It can lock and unlock doors, start the car with a target climate setting, and flash the lights and beep the horn to help you find the car in crowded parking lot. It also shows where you last parked and can give directions back to your car.
The reality: These features work most of the time. There's a bit of delay between making the command and the action, like a minute between hitting start and the car actually starting. I've had some functions time out, but that could be due to connectivity issues in the area. The navigate to where you last parked feature is neat, and on my phone launches right into Google Maps. Pretty sweet.
Jaguar InControl Apps
The promise: From the app description: "Jaguar InControl Apps enables you to use vehicle optimised [British spelling] smartphone apps on the vehicles (sic) touch screen by connecting your smartphone with a USB cable to the dedicated InControl Apps USB port. Once connected, the apps on the vehicle's touch screen have the same look and feel as they do on your smartphone. A variety of approved vehicle optimised apps such as: Contacts, Calendar and Music Player will be available, with more third party vehicle optimised apps becoming compatible over time for a continually fresh and personal user experience."
The reality: Untested, the number of "optimised" apps is tiny, and the majority of them see to be orientated toward owners in the U.K. My primary driving apps — Google Maps, Waze, Spotify, Pocket Casts — are not supported. Chances are your favorites aren't here either. Deleted.
Jaguar Touch Pro Tour USA
The promise: From the app description: "This simulator guides you through InControl Touch Pro's key features including its all-new predictive navigation system and its rich and engaging visual and audio experiences."
The reality: Don't download this application. It's intended to be a tour of InControl Touch Pro's capabilities, but it launches to a black screen and doesn't do anything. Not a good showing.
Jaguar Route Planner
The promise: "Set your destination from your smartphone and you'll be directed to your Jaguar as the app detects your vehicle's location. The smartphone app will then automatically sync with your Jaguar's navigation system using the Cloud so your car will be ready to take over navigating soon after you get in. Once you've finished your in-car journey, navigation is then handed back to your smartphone, which provides any final public transport and pedestrian directions to your final destination."
The reality: This app refused to accept my InControl username and password, so I figured the average 1.8-star review indicated many users had the same problem. I was wrong. This app, much like the car's navigation system, requires an entirely different account than the one I created before.
In order to activate this one, the system must have internet access. In order to get online, you have to plug in the SIM card located in the owner's manual. After waiting a few minutes, the system gets online, and you can create a profile.
After entering in all my information, including my birthdate (why does a navigation program need this?), I was greeted with the following error message:
This is a bad error message. Not only does it fail to tell you why there was an error, it also lacks an code that someone on tech support could look up. Fortunately, restarting the car cleared the error, and I was able to log in.
After all this, I booted up the Route Planner and started entering addresses. It couldn't find any. Not my home address, not my work address, and not obvious places like Starbucks or McDonald's. The point-of-interest search finds nothing in Los Angeles. But hey, at least the web portal (jaguar.here.com) works as advertised.
So does Google Maps, and that's the problem. InControl Touch works fine and has some neat ideas, but provides no significant advantage over Android Auto or Apple CarPlay integration. Further, the process of setting up InControl Touch is convoluted in comparison to those solutions, which require little more than just plugging in your phone.
Indeed, both Apple and Google say Jaguar is bringing support soon.
Carlos Lago, Senior Writer