Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Long Term Test: 2015 Jaguar F-Type V6 post #2

Update #2
Current mileage: 3,580

In March, I got to spend some extended time with the Jag and the more I drive it, the more I fall in love with it. Using it for day to day tasks, the big cat is extraordinarily friendly as a daily driver. Set the car in normal mode, leave the shifting to the computer, and just enjoy the ride. The suspension is suitably comfortable while retaining its sporty character, absorbing minor road aberrations with aplomb whilst being firm enough to still toss the extra-wide roadster around with ease. Those exquisite manners carry through into the steering, which remains absolutely delightful compared to most of the electronic power steering units I have tried in recent memory. The Porsche Boxster is still sharper, but for a boulevard cruiser, the Jag pretty much nails it in terms of balancing feel with comfort.

To top it off, that extraordinary sound track is available all the time. A touch of the starter button triggers a symphony of sound from the exhaust system and offers delightful accompaniment to even the most pedestrian of activities. Dip the throttle with a little extra aggression and be rewarded by the menacing howl that emanates from behind. Best of all, while just cruising, the Jag purrs along without making excess noise, allowing for a relaxing ride (are you paying attention, Maserati!) and when the noise is wanted, a quick twitch of the ankle summons the bellowing beast.

One thing that has taken some getting used to is the auto-start/stop functionality. The system should be straight forward enough, cutting the motor when the car comes to a stop and remaining off until the driver lifts his foot off the brake pedal. The system works quite well and the engagement point that triggers the engine to fire again is easy enough to locate that I have been able to watch the cross traffic's signal and lift my foot just enough at the right moment to bring the engine to life just in time for me to roar off without an hesitation. What has been interesting to experiment with, however, have been the various triggers that cause the system to not engage. For instance, if the steering wheel is off center by more than a few degrees or if the transmission is in manual mode, the engine will remain running. While I have some concerns about the impact on the longevity of certain components, the system truly works well and is a necessary evil given how thirsty the Jag can be.

Last thing of note is that I am rather unhappy with Jag's headunit used in the car. It is a touchscreen, thankfully, but can be so slow to respond at times that I simply run out of time at a stop light trying to enter a destination or set up phone call. At least Jab saw fit to separate out a number of key functions with physical buttons and knobs, so it could be worse. This is one of those times where I absolutely wish automakers would just partner with the major smartphone operating systems and integrate my mobile device into the car's infotainment system more directly. It would go a long way towards improving the user experience and probably make most owners much happier with the initial ownership experience. Android Auto cannot come soon enough.

Still, I cannot get enough time behind the wheel. This is easily my favorite car in our long-term fleet.