Car Advice

Infotainment: Jaguar InControl Touch Pro review

The new Jaguar F-Pace runs Jaguar’s hyped InControl Touch Pro infotainment unit and so to does the upgraded XE, so, is it any good?

IN-CAR INFOTAINMENT AND communication systems are in a constant state of flux. And no sooner does one car maker reveal its latest tablet-esque system than another has released its system that’s either bigger or faster.

But it wasn’t so long ago that we never needed our infotainment systems to do much more than change the radio station from either AM to FM, or use a safe-cracker’s touch to finely tune a radio station.

And then along came sat-nav units and map book publishers began going broke. And now, the touchscreen units we have in even the cheapest of cars are able to connect with you phone and while all will stream the music on it, many, depending on the connectivity, will even be able to display the maps and more from your phone, read out text messages and even allow you to dictate a response.

So, in this brave new world has Jaguar been able to produce a better infotainment and communication system? Well, even without turning the car on you’d have to say, yes. And anyone who owns an older model Jaguar or Land Rover will tell you just how clumsy the old units were.

If you’re an Apple nut like me then, right off the bat, Jaguar’s InControl Touch Pro system is a little frustrating. And that’s because it doesn’t offer either Apple Car Play or, for those with an Android phone, Android Auto. Grrr. Yes, there are InControl app can be downloaded from your favourite app store, and this allows access to your contacts, calendar and music – beyond that, via companion apps you can sync map route details with your phone. And, if you’re going to buy a Jaguar that runs this system then it makes sense to download and use the app.

So, let’s take a look at the numbers. The InControl Touch Pro system offers a 10.2-inch tablet style touchscreen (the standard unit is 8-inches), it has a quad-core processor and a 60GB solid state drive. Just like your smartphone it offers pinch and swipe gestures for sat-nav functionality. And the system can act as a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to eight devices and a crystal clear 825W Meridian Digital Surround Sound System.

Unlike some competitors which offers control units down by gear levers, as well as capacitive functionality, the InControl Touchscreen Pro system only works via touch, or the steering controls. But it’s much quicker to simply reach across than try and scroll via the steering controls. Whether some sort of external controller would mean you’re eyes are on the road more when using the system is debatable, but we have heard that argument being made.

Like all things you can’t just slip behind the wheel and tap away at the screen and expect to know all of the ins and outs and even after a week with the Jaguar XE I’m positive I still didn’t plumb the absolute depths or total capabilities of the system. And I didn’t download the InControl app, although I should have.

First impressions, though, are that the system is clean and clear with the fonts the right size to be read and understood quickly. The touch functionality is good in that you have to actually touch the screen with a reasonable amount of pressure for it to respond rather than just brushing a finger across the surface of the thing and having it react and head off in a direction you didn’t want it to go in. The menu is pretty easy to understand and relatively straightforward with all of the shortcut buttons across the bottom of the screen. And one of the things I really like, and the Jaguar system isn’t alone in this, is that the home screen can be customised to show the functions you most use, meaning you don’t have to scroll through screens to find them.

Connecting your phone either via Bluetooth or USB cable is easy but, unlike, say, with Apple Car Play connectivity, if you don’t have the InControl app on your phone you’ll need to manually input your travel destination for it to show up on the sat-nav. As advanced as these systems are, especially, when connected to the internet, it’s a shame there’s no workaround, but then Apple and Google want car makers to use their systems specifically rather than creating a way for an Apple or Android device to sync completely with, say, Jaguar’s connectivity technology, but I digress.

According to Jaguar, the system’s sat-nav can keep navigating you even when the GPS signal is lost, which is cool but probably won’t get much use given unless you’re in an underground carpark or a lead-lined garage you’re unlikely to lose the GPS signal for so long that you’ll end up getting lost. Supposedly the system uses dead-reckoning functionality, which is where you use a previously determined location to calculate your current position. The system will also tell you if you’ve got enough fuel in the tank to complete the planned journey with petrol stations highlighted along your route if you don’t have enough fuel; if you want to add one as a waypoint, which won’t mess up your destination route, you simply tap the petrol station you want to deviate to.

And, as long as your car is connected to the internet, the Commute Mode will learn your daily drive and use both real-time data and historical information to suggest alternative routes if there’s congestion. And approach mode will show, when you’re 200 metres from your destination, a 360-degree street-level view of your destination in a smaller screen alongside the main navigation display. Indeed, that’s one of the cool elements of the InControl Touch Pro system is that it can display in picture screens that allow you to access other functions, like music, without losing, say, your navigation screen.

The Screens

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Turn the car on and, if it’s fitted with InControl Touch Pro, this is what you’ll see. It’s a 10.2-inch touchscreen. You can see that there are three screens that you can customise to hold the various oft-used functions you require. The screen is fast to use and it’s easy to shuffle the pages around into the space you want, and the Home shortcut button means you can always start over if you get lost.

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This screen appears when you click on the shortcut that looks like two cogs. That will then allow you to access and customise key settings, from adjusting the audio balance to either the front or the back and the treble and bass levels to much more. It’s easy to use and I found it worked well.

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One of my big things is a reversing camera and this one is excellent. The line markings show up as you start to move. At night, or in low light, the picture is excellent.

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Because I know how to park a car, I didn’t need to let the car do it for me, but it’s nice to know it can if you need it. You simply press the P (with an arrow) button in the menu and then you can choose from these three scenarios.

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Climate control is controlled via actual dials beneath the touch screen, but it terms of directing air flow, you can do that via the touchscreen.

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Music is easily accessed when you connect your phone either via Bluetooth or USB cable. Pressing the Find button allows you to search by Album or Artist or via a Playlist. See below.

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This is the final page in the home screen.

Summary

Despite a few shortcomings for me, like no native connectivity for my iPhone, Jaguar’s InControl Touch Pro system is clever, simple to use and pretty powerful when it comes to its ability once synced with your phone via the InControl app.

I liked how quickly the all of the menus worked and responded, how easy it was to go back one page if you went the wrong way, and how quickly I managed to work out the key functionality. To get to grips with everything it can do, however, you’d need more than a week.

 


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Terrence Green
Terrence Green
4 years ago

How much did they pay you to lie about how good this system is? I have a 2016 Jaguar XJ. It has been the worst customer service experience of any car I have ever owned. Jaguar has been lying about an upgrade to this system since the two days after i bought the car when it was back in their service department. Three missed dates on upgrade. They now claim September 23rd as the date. If not I’m organizing a class action Lawsuit for selling a product since july 2015 yes thats 2015 knowing full well it wasn’t ready for the market lying about what works and using american consumers as their qa on the consumers dime total fleecing. So I’m very serious when I ask how much money you were paid to lie or what gifts were you given

PracticalMotoring
4 years ago
Reply to  Terrence Green

Hi Terrence, thanks for your comment and I’m sorry to hear you’re having problems with the unit. My experience was based on my week-long test of a Jaguar XE and then the F-Pace. Both cars ran the new InControl Touch Pro systems and I didn’t have a single issue. The system never froze, the sat-nav kept pace and readjusted quickly and I found the menu pretty easy to follow. Sure, the Jaguar system is a way behind, say, Audi’s MMI system, but it’s not bad either.
Practical Motoring would never accept payment to write nice things about car companies or their products. I’m happy to help you with your issue so email me at Isaacb @ PracticalMotoring.com.au

Phil Reith
Phil Reith
4 years ago

Hello Isaac…I purchased a 2017 Jaguar XE in late June and I love the car…but I’m really very unhappy with InControl Touch Pro (ICTP). I truly regret “upgrading” to this infotainment system, mostly because JLR engineers made a egregious omission with regard to voice-to-text messaging when they designed this alleged state of the art vehicle tech platform, as text messaging is not a recognized function of ICTP. WTH? Much older…as well as much less expensive cars have systems which enable voice-to-text…or at least are compatible with a smart phone virtual assistant (such as SIRI) to allow voice texting through the car Bluetooth system. With ICTP I have to physically pickup and hold the phone to read a text and/or respond to one (by clumsily typing)…instead of simply listening to the very pleasant JLR ICTP voice (I’ve convinced myself its Elizabeth Hurley) read the message to me over the car’s speaker system. Unfortunately, ICTP also prevents any good, acceptable workaround as it very effectively shuts down SIRI on my iPhone 6S when connected to the car either wirelessly or via the iPhone cable. Very frustrating indeed…not to mention very unsafe (and illegal in my home state of Nevada). I don’t know about you…but despite of my being a little hesitant to actually embrace SMS text messaging as a convenient way to communicate, the fact remains that most of my family, friends, colleagues…and the world…seem to prefer it over voice calls these days. ICTP’s glaring shortcoming is a very serious handicap considering I’m constantly inundated with text messages while driving. I’m somewhat surprised your informative review of ICTP didn’t mention this lack of functionality.

Phil Reith
Phil Reith
3 years ago

Buyer beware!!! As I mentioned in my comments last month…you may want to avoid the JLR InControl Touch Pro system (ICTP) if you want send and receive text messages through your vehicle “infotainment” or Bluetooth system as you will not have any voice-to-text functionality with ICTP. I’ve owned my 2017 XE for four months now and JLR has done nothing to correct this known issue. Very frustrating indeed!

Arv
Arv
3 years ago

Can the 2013-2016 range rovers be upgraded to the new 2017 infotainment center? The size is the exact same, it would be a swap. But, would it be compatible with the current MY13-16 interface? I am curious, this would be great. It is unfortunate for us that bought a 2016 and the 17 has a way better infotainment center.

stuart
stuart
3 years ago

Hi Isaac, was this test done in Australia? as i have just taken delivery of an F Pace, with upgraded ICTP, but there is no ‘In Control Apps’ ‘button’ to press – they have told me it is not available in Australia (see your last photo) until 2018….

PracticalMotoring
3 years ago
Reply to  stuart

Hi Stuart, yes, those images were taken by me here in Oz. I didn’t download the InControl app but you can here and you can see the additional functionality it affords here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/jaguar-incontrol-apps/id843273193?mt=8
If you’ve got the full -size 10.2-inch unit then you should have the InControl Apps menu item. Cheers Isaac

Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober