2018 Jaguar F-Pace: Ambient Lighting Is Fun And Frustrating


2018 Jaguar F-Pace

Like so many other automobiles from this decade, our long-term Jaguar F-Pace crossover has customizable interior lighting, a part of the $2,350 Luxury Interior Package.

I’ve previously admitted to the fact that ambient lighting has me split in opinion. On the one hand I know that it’s probably going to end up being dated and uncool in the future. On the other, I actually quite enjoy it, possibly because I grew up in the neon-fueled world of early ’00s import tuner culture. I also like it from a color-coordination perspective. Our Jaguar’s bold blue hue called Caesium can be brought inside with equally bright illumination. It’s very satisfying.

But that satisfaction of having everything just so is quickly sullied as the center stack and switches are only one color that can’t be changed. Admittedly, that’s completely normal, but unlike many of those other cars that use neutral white illumination, the Jag’s light up in the same blue/teal color that made your Razr phone look cool so many years ago. And so whether you bathe your cabin in blue, red, purple or green light, the ambient lighting will clash with the main switch gear. You can pick a shade of blue for the ambient lighting that roughly matches the switches, but I don’t want to compromise my color preference because Jaguar didn’t put in LEDs in that would be neutral (or, even better, change to match the ambient settings).

I have other complaints about color-matching in the car, too. The instrument panel, which is a flat screen, has a few different display modes, but most of the readouts use a similar (but not quite the same) blue/teal color as the switchgear. So that doesn’t match, either.

Then, in the sport mode, the instrument screen switches to red. That brings me to my next gripe: all the ambient lighting switches to red when choosing this mode. I get it, red means sporty and Jaguar wants everything about sport mode to feel sporty. But damn it, I paid for custom lighting, let me keep that lighting when I’m also in a sporty mood. I actually sometimes skip the sport mode because I want to be swathed in my favorite hue more than I want slightly more sporty driving dynamics. Oh, and of course the switchgear remains teal/blue even in sport mode.

So yes, this is picky. But that’s the beauty of evaluating a car like the F-Pace over a longer period of time. Sure, we’ll obviously touch on things like the excellent powertrain, but we also get to notice those little things that can drive owners nuts — or make them fall even deeper in love with their car. After all, despite everything I’ve said, I would still add ambient lighting to my F-Pace if I were to buy one. It just makes it feel a little more personal and fun. I just wish Jaguar put a little extra effort into it.

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