In my second update, I outlined the advice given to me by an F-Pace owner/enthusiast with respect to softening up the Jag’s ride. I took the air pressure down in all tires, from 44 psi to 34 psi, and enabled “light load” mode in the vehicle settings so that the tire pressure monitoring system would not trigger a low tire pressure warning every time I drove. The latter took a bit of research to find that vehicle settings were accessed in the driver gauge cluster (left side), via the directional pad on the steering wheel. So how is the ride after a few thousand miles and a couple of road trips?
Kinda the same, to be honest. On smooth roads, the ride in light load mode is fine, not noticeably smoother or less jarring than when the tires are set at 44 psi. And on rough roads, the ride can still be quite harsh and brittle. Passengers unfamiliar with the F-Pace still comment on its roughness over bumps; those who rode in the vehicle before and after the tire pressures were reduced also don’t notice any major differences. For the daily driver, the effect of light load mode is probably mostly psychological. I can’t really discern if the ride is actually better, but I take comfort in the fact that I have done as much as I can to improve it (without swapping tires or going to a smaller-sized wheel for more tire sidewall).
Just after the Los Angeles Auto Show, the PR team at Jaguar Land Rover arranged a morning surf session with an environmentally friendly surfboard manufacturer it supports. I wrote about the fun we had with Skunkworks and the Waste-to-Waves program here.
During the session, Jaguar PR’s Nate Hoyt asked me if I had tried the F-Pace’s activity key for my morning surf adventures. I mumbled no and cited bogus excuses of not having the time to learn its complexities. Hoyt politely endured my bloviating and then explained there was really nothing to it. Jaguar’s activity key is actually a sensor embedded in a rubber strap. “You just put it around your wrist or ankle, leave the key fob in the car, and then shut all the doors,” Hoyt said. “To lock or unlock the vehicle, touch the flat part of the bracelet to the J of the Jaguar on the rear hatch. That’s it.”
Embarrassed yet excited about the prospect of no longer having to waste time securing the F-Pace’s key fob in a special combination lock, I strapped on the bracelet for that morning’s paddle out, and, well, I’ve been using it ever since.
Jaguar’s activity key works as advertised and is a godsend to anyone who doesn’t like to or simply can’t carry a key fob around with them. It’s a simple-looking device: a rubber strap like you would find on any sports watch but with thicker, flat, inflexible section where the sensor sits. It’s comfortable to wear even with my birdlike wrists, like a large Fitbit-style activity monitor, although it provides no data readouts because it has no screen or buttons. I wear it on my right wrist because the left is for my watch. After a few seconds, it’s forgotten, especially under the compression of a wetsuit.
There are a couple of interesting quirks to its use. For instance, when it’s time to lock the F-Pace, if any of the doors or the tailgate have been open for more than a few minutes, the system won’t respond when the bracelet is touched to the J of the rear Jaguar badge. That is easily remedied by opening and shutting any door. After activity, when it comes time to unlock the vehicle, sometimes the bracelet needs a couple of touches at the J, although this might be a quirk unique to my post-surf circumstances; the bracelet is often wet from seawater or a rinse from the beach shower.
The last obstacle is price; at $400, Jaguar’s activity key is certainly not as affordable as the $25 combination-locking container I have been using for the last few years to secure car keys while at the beach. But it is certainly a lot cheaper than the roughly $15,000 worth of flatscreen TVs that were charged to my credit cards when my wallet and iPhone were stolen from a previous press car. I had made the poor decision of attempting to hide the keys to a Mercedes-Benz GL test vehicle behind the cover of the trailer hitch—and, well, let’s just say thank heavens for American Express’ fraud protection division.
Next update: mysterious shut-off behavior revealed!
Read more about our long-term 2017 Jaguar F-Pace: