Category Archives: Jaguar

The Purr of the Electric Cat. The 2019 Jaguar I-Pace EV 400 AWD

 

 

Jaguar's Race Director James S Barkley

After attending an introduction event for Jaguar’s EV Racing in New York City, last year, I have looked forward to the opportunity to spend time and experience life in a luxury EV. This summer, a Photon Red First Edition Jaguar I-Pace showed up in my driveway.

IMG_3022While the world is focused on SUV’s even as they pertain to electric-powered vehicles, Jaguar has nicely put together a sleek hatchback, that is a luxury sedan, sports sedan, EV and with the full-size hatch, all-wheel-drive SUV. And the adjustable suspension helps on or off road.

 

Design

IMG_2570Ian Callum accepts 2019 World Car Award for Jaguar I Pace
IMG_2570Ian Callum accepts 2019 World Car Award for Jaguar I Pace

First and foremost, it is a Jaguar. You can tell  Ian Callum kept with the brand’s design language using angles to replace the curves of the Jags of my youth. More a 1980’s than 1960’s look, while still quite current. Aerodynamics is the name of the game when trying to stretch every electron into a mile, and with this I-Pace, you have a 230-mile range on a charge. And selling it as a luxury SUV, and sports-sedan in one. This one has all-wheel drive and an adjustable suspension that you can raise and lower the vehicle for off-road travel if needed.

 

Under the Hood

IMG_3048While you will not find anything under the hood, or as it is known the “frunk” or boot, which is the proper British terminology, other than small cargo space. It is almost not worth opening.

20190716_074055

Where is all the power coming from, you ask?  Well, two electric motors that produce 394 horsepower and 512-ft of torque are fore and aft with a 90-k Wh battery pack that is mounted low and provides a 76 MPGe combined.  Actually, the only way to see anything close to the powerplant would be to put it on a lift and take it apart. So for us, we never got to see anything but what the promotional material shows. Single-speed transmission with simple push-button controls and separate buttons for mode settings give you all the control you need in this EV.

 

Electric Plug-In?

20190716_073528Should I have range anxiety? Well, range anxiety is a part of the current EV driving experience, so it comes with the territory.  It did not take us long to figure out how to cure that and enjoy the drive in this iconic brand’s EV 400. We found both pay to charge, and free-to-charge locations via the Plugshare and ChargePoint apps. Which provided fast chare options while we were out, though often not in places we were initially going, or maybe wanted to go.  As well as plugging into our 110v home outlet for a trickle charge, of about a mile an hour.

 

How do you start an EV

Jaguar's Activity Key – allows you to wear a key to the vehicle and not carry one with you.
Jaguar’s Activity Key – allows you to wear a key to the vehicle and not carry one with you.

Like with most modern cars the RFID keyfob has replaced the switchblade or knife blade key, and Jaguar feels its owners will be active and may want to wear their key like a fitness tracker, so they provide an activity key, a black band you wear on your wrist that can get wet if you go kayaking or sailing, or surfing.

 

Door handles are recessed into the Jaguar I Pace until activated
Door handles are recessed into the Jaguar I Pace until activated.

 

Aerodynamics or Tesla design copy? How do you get the door handles to pop out?  Having the key in your pocket and activating the door handle by touching it, front or back, or hitting the traditional keyfob unlock button makes the door handles appear from the side slab of the I-Pace.

 

 

 

IMG_3071

An important part is even if the I-Pace doors are unlocked, the charging plug is still locked onto the charging port, and you have to unlock the car again (even if it is unlocked) to release the plug.

 

Cargo

IMG_3063While the frunk is small, not to worry the conventional rear hatch has plenty of room with the 3rd-row seats up or down, if you are carrying anything, and the four-doors open wide to give you easy entry and exit to the vehicle for all the passengers. Two bucket seats up front and a sizeable split-bench seat in the rear. And as the I-Pace is a wide car, there is plenty of room in that rear seat for three people.

IMG_3060

Open the hatch, and you can load large items, put down those rear seatbacks and the long flat cargo floor is easy to load in and out of.

 

Price – EV’s are not cheap

IMG_3059First of all, EV’s tend to be thought of as the play toys of the Rich, or those that want to be seen as financially successful. Tesla owners feel they have the sole ownership of the upscale EV space. So when Jaguar quietly stepped in without fanfare and put the I-Pace on the scene, we knew the price tag would be comparable.

20190716_072959Starting at just under $70K for a base Jaguar I-Pace, but really whoever buys a base car?  While there are a few who are looking for basic transportation, and the Nissan Leaf’s and Kia Niro EV’s may work well there. When you get to the level of luxury that Jaguar represents you want to add bells and whistles to your whip. Our I-Pace, the First Edition, 400 AWD I-Pace stickered out at just under $80K.

Now EV enthusiasts will tell you all about the tax incentives and all, but still, you have to buy something before you get a tax break for the purchase. Well, there is the free charging, when and where you can find it.

 

Charging Infrastructure

2019 Jaguar I Pace at a ChargePoint ChargerAs they say, nothing is free in this world. You get what you pay for!  And indeed when it comes to EV Chargers, I would agree about that.  While Tesla owners rave about their own (and totally proprietary, chargers. So don’t even think about plugging in there if you are not driving a Freemont Cali built the car. Charging stations are located all over the country, which is a beautiful thing indeed. Many are at commercial centers, though some gas station | convenience stores are adding them, most EV owners have to rely on public charging stations.  Finding them through Plug Share, Electrify America, and Charge Point, as well as other app-based programs,  are expanding. We discovered that Charge Point seems to have a better handle on their chargers, and they tend to be better-maintained infrastructure.  We found that newly constructed parking garages with EV charging as part of the design are better than those that are retrofitted. If for no other reason than the number of chargers.

IMG_3047Charging at home, if you have installed a 240 V dedicated EV Charger, you will do better than using the supplied charging plugged into a 110v grounded home outlet. The added cost to your home electric bill will help you decide if an EV is right for you.

 

Aud Etron with Electrify America ChargerCharging at your place of work, if you are lucky enough to be located in a location that provides charging for EV’s all the better. I have seen solar-powered chargers as well as banks of chargers in office building garages.

 

 

Promotion and Racing

Jaguar Race to InovateWhere does this E-Grand Prix racing come into play?  For Jaguar, racing is such a part of their heritage; it makes total sense that they are early participants in the sport of racing EVs. Jaguar and racing are like Milk and Ice Cream, they are even better together.  Racing has always been a proving ground for automotive engineering, as it is some of the best testing that any vehicle can go through.

 

Awards and Accolades

Jaguar wins 2019 Word Car Award Ian Callum AcceptingIn 2019 Jaguar I-Pace wins World Car of the Year Awards presented at the New York International Auto Show, and we were there (at the next table when the awards were presented.)  And justly so, Jaguar has brought forth a great product in the early days of modern electric vehicles.

IMG_2577

 

Words and images by William West Hopper.

William West Hopper, VIP Tour Guide at the 2019 Washington DC Auto Show. Photo by Bonnie M. Moret
William West Hopper, VIP Tour Guide at the 2019 Washington DC Auto Show. Photo by Bonnie M. Moret

Mr. Hopper is a lifelong auto enthusiast. As a member, he currently serves as the President of the Washington Automotive Press Association WAPA and is also a member of The International Automotive Press Association IMPA.

All opinions are his own. Mr. Hopper received no compensation from producing this post. He was given a week with the Jaguar I-Pace that arrived with a 60% charge, and he returned it with a 100% charge.

 

Advertisements

The Italians are Coming – And so are the Americans, the Germans, the Brits, all to Virginia this Fall for the 1000 Miglia Warm Up USA

Watch our YouTube Video on the 1000 Miglia Warm Up USA.

Emanuele Manzitti of the Italian Embassy, Franco Gussalli Beretta, 1000 Miglia President , Francesca Parolin, 1000 Miglia General Manager, and Mark Gessler at the Italian Embassy in Washington DC.

The presentation of the second American edition of the 1000 Miglia Warm Up USA was held this morning (April 26, 2019) at the Italian Embassy in Washington DC. Italian Ambassador Armando Varricchio, together with Mille Miglia President Franco Gussalli Beretta, announced: “We started a journey. Today we consolidate this tradition that is part of the sporting and cultural fabric of Italy that for centuries has made beauty, style, creativity and passion for life one of its characteristic traits. I am sure that the 2019 edition will be as successful as the 2018 edition and will contribute to consolidating a prestigious image of our country in the USA”.

 

Goals of the 1000 Miglia Warm Up USA

20190426_121217The aim of the 1000 Miglia Warm Up USA is to involve the participants in a compelling sporting experience in the “Spirit of 1000 Miglia,” This the 2nd American event is reserved for 40 historic cars that meet the eligibility requirements for 1000 Miglia and a limited number of Supercars. Newbies to the race will be offered the opportunity of real “Warm Up” dedicated to those who, not knowing much about 1000 Miglia, will have an overview of the rules and activities that characterize the participation in the most beautiful race in the world. During the four day event, the participating cars will travel 800 miles through some of the most evocative and iconic areas of Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland to then reach the heart of Washington DC. Ending on Italian soil with the award ceremony hosted at the Ambassador’s residence Villa Firenze in Rock Creek Park.

 

Why is the Mille Miglia Coming to the USA?

Blue 1968 Ferrari GTC and Red Alfa Romero on display at the Italian Embassy in Washington DC.
Blue 1968 Ferrari GTC and Red Alfa Romero on display at the Italian Embassy in Washington DC.

The event is managed by the Italian Government and is designed to show off the best of the Italian culture to the world through this iconic road rally. While historic rallying cars are just one part of the event, engaging in the historic culture of Italy is the main reason.  Bringing it to America, as well as other countries gives others a chance to enjoy the excitement and charm of the Mille Miglia.

 

MM Alfa“The international development of our brand – declared Franco Gussalli Beretta, President of 1000 Miglia Srl – must involve the United States, one of the first and most important countries in the world for the presence of cars of great historical value and it is a great honor, for 1000 Miglia and me, to be here alongside Ambassador Varricchio confirming the inseparable bond between 1000 Miglia and Italy and to present the second edition of 1000 Miglia Warm Up USA. We look forward to involving the participating crews, the fans, and enthusiasts in a week of training and getting to know all the rules, the particulars and the emotions that they can experience when they participate in 1000 Miglia that takes place every year in Italy in May. Finally, I would like to thank Chopard and Alfa Romeo, who has been by our side for many years and who have chosen to support us in this project as well.”

 

Plans for the 2019 Virginia Event

1000 Miglia Warm Up USA 2019 Virginia Route Map
1000 Miglia Warm Up USA proposed 2019 Virginia Route Map

Car and driver teams will be invited to apply, and entries will be submitted for review through the summer. In early September an announcement will be made as to the 40 historic cars and handful of supercars accepted.  The group will gather at the Salamander Resort in the Virginia Horse Country’s quaint village of Middleburg VA. From there they will spend four days broken into a day of training and three days of rallying to points as far north as Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural gem in Western Pennsylvania and to the south to Monticello in Charlottesville VA. Trekking over picturesque back roads and the historic Skyline Drive. Ending their rally in Washington DC.

For detailed information on the 1000 Miglia Warm Up USA click here.

WWH and MM photographing historic cars at the Italian Embassy in Washington DC like the blue 1968 Ferrari GTC
WWH and MM photographing historic cars at the Italian Embassy in Washington DC
Word by William West Hopper | Images by Marco Marinucci, 1000 Miglia

Jaguar Electrifies – From the Racetrack to the Road.

NYC Formula E Race CourseFormula E Racing completes the 2018 eleven-city tour on July 14 & 15 by returning to Brooklyn’s Red Hook, for the second year, running on a purpose-built closed 14-turn, 2.373 Km long street course. The Panasonic Jaguar Race team will go into the New York Race in fifth place, with drivers Mitch Evans and Nelson Piquet Jr. at the wheel of a Jaguar I-Type 2 race car.

 

Jaguar Formula E Drivers Mitch Evans and Nelson Piquet Jr.
Jaguar Formula E Drivers Mitch Evans and Nelson Piquet Jr.

Formula Racing, thought of more as an international event, racing in cities like Monaco, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, has found its way to the USA once again. Racing has always been a way automakers test vehicles and components to build better street vehicles as well as promoting the brands. Over the past four years, Formula E Racing has helped promote and develop the technology used in the modern-day world of electric vehicles by brands like Jaguar, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, and others.

 

Jaguar IType3
Jaguar IType3

While Jaguar has historically been involved in auto racing, they returned to racing in October 2016 by being the first premium manufacturer to join ABB FIA Formula E  series with an I-Type 1 racecar and have plans already confirmed for an I-Type 3 car for next year’s series.

 

Panasonic Jaguar Racecar
Panasonic Jaguar I Type 2 Racecar

This year’s I-Type 2 electric racecar has a 0 to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds with a top speed of 140 mph. powered by a 200 kWh McLaren built battery, and charged by a sustainable glyercine fuel source. The car produces 270 bhp in qualifying mode and runs at 180 kWh producing 240 bhp in an energy saving race mode. The I-Type 2 racecar has a completely new powertrain, including motor, inverter, gearbox, cooling system and brake by wire, replacing last season’s mechanical brake system. In all 219 components have been changed from the original I-Type 1 car.  While the batteries are charged prior to running the race, the driver adjusts the brake pads from within the car to get the best regenerative braking power available.

Formula E Racing

Jaguar IType 2Formula E is the world’s first electric street racing series powered by renewable energy with a focus on developing electric vehicle powertrains. To control costs, all of the race cars share common components including the carbon fiber chassis and battery. The team and manufacturers can customize their own powertrain, which includes the motor, transmission, inverter, rear suspension, and software to maximize speed and endurance.

Jaguar FIA StandingsElectric vehicles are as fast on the track as they are in the planning and development stage. FIA Formula E cars are proposed, prepared, tested and qualified in a short five-month period prior to the opening of each season. With one-day races, they get just 2 to 3 practice sessions to qualify for each race.

 

How Different?

Jaguar Race to InovateFormula E is disrupting the boundaries of motorsports with a focus on technology, innovation, and sustainability, as well as spectator entertainment. Environmentally friendly and clean electric vehicles show how sustainable transportation can be the key to lowering air pollution in urban centers and lessening global emissions. The series is committed to reducing the carbon footprint with improved efficiencies by powering the races by 100% renewable energy by next season.

 

Electric Production Racing Car – The Jaguar I-Pace eTROPHY Street E-Racecars

Jaguar EV Race CarWhen the Jaguar I-PACE, a fully electric four-door hatchback,  goes on sale later this year, the brand will be the first to have both a Formula E race team and a road going production EV available to consumers. Both the Jaguar I-PACE and the current I-TYPE 2 Formula E racecar use shared technologies. Similarities include the use of high-efficiency permanent magnet electric motors and pouch battery cell technology for maximum powertrain performance.

Jaguar IPace ETROPHYWhile the actual FIA Formula E Grand Prix Race takes up only a portion of the four-day stop in each city, an eTROPHY Street E-Race series is being initiated with next year’s 5th season starting in December of 2018. Jaguar is participating with 20 identically set up I-Pace racecars designed, engineered and built by Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations.

Jaguar IPace Interior
Jaguar IPace Interior

The I-Pace eTROPHY is an all-wheel drive with front and rear synchronous motors for a total of maximum peak power output of 400PS 700Nm torque. With a lightweight interior with an FIA approved spec safety cage, seat, and harness. As well as a modified racing chassis to increase stiffness, aerodynamic enhancements, and chassis adjustability to ensure closer racing. Using the same 90kWhr lithium-ion battery found in the production I-Pace, dedicated motorsport software and controls system developed by Jaguar Racing for Formula E to provide sophisticated energy, power, and regen strategy control.

 

Jaguar's Race Director James S Barkley
Jaguar’s Race Director James S Barkley

Jaguar’s Team Director, James Barkley, shared details the brand’s “Race to Innovate,” how the Formula E experience creates tangible R&D benefits for the electrification of future Jaguar and Land Rover road cars. How the new all-electric I-Pace has benefited from the real world of Formula E series racing.

 

 

“We are developing the next generation of EV technology on the race track. This is why we race,” said James Barclay, Panasonic Jaguar Racing Team Director. “Formula E racing provides an ideal performance test bed for EV technology in a punishing, high-performance environment. It is incredibly exciting for the team to be a part of this revolutionary engineering exchange. We’re looking forward to finishing off our second season in New York City next month, a year which has seen us go from strength to strength.”

IPaceEtrophyracecarTwenty I-Pace eTROPHY will be available for a complete Ride and Drive package from Jaguar at a retail cost of £200,000 + VAT per car and eligible for three years. Not including the FIA eTROPHY fee of £450,00 + VAT entry fee per annum, providing entry into ten international race weekends as the main support Championship to ABB FIA Formula E. Drivers are required to have a minimum of an international C Circuit Race License and be categorized as bronze, silver or gold FIA Driver. Teams will compete for race by race prize money for top ten competitors and an end of season prize for three entrants and top three drivers.

 

Words by William West Hopper, Images by Jaguar Media and William West Hopper

Jaguar E Racecar rear

American Sweethearts the SUV & CUV

American family favorites, Crossovers and SUV’s dominate the market due to their versatility. So understandably there are plenty of them at all price points, a mix of high and middle-end models. I have taken these out over the past few months for quick around the block drives as well as extended time periods. Here are my thoughts on them. Some, not all we have done full reviews on which are featured elsewhere on the site.

Fiat 500X – Cuteness seems to be a staple with the Fiat brand. Though with the whinnyFiat 500X engine and a transmission hunting for the right gear provide a less than enjoyable drive experience. I took this funky Italian breadbox up the mountain roads of New York State in May. Pluses are plenty of space and a very attractive interior design. Lots of trim levels and features are available. Discounts are plentiful at year end. Minus are: A clunky exterior, a noisy drivetrain, and a transmission always hunting for the right gear. Prices start at $19,995 and with generous year-end allowances you can put a lot of cute Italian into a small payment for a Fiat.

 

Nissan RogueNissan Rogue – An overall everyday crossover, easy to get in and out of, with plenty of cargo space. I kept expecting more from the Rogue considering the amount of hype this vehicle has gotten from Nissan’s  PR department to the auto media. Including being heavily featured in recent Star Wars movie promotions and #RogueTrip events. Pluses are a well-made dependable vehicle. Minus are that the Rogue is not so memorable in the overall scheme of things.  Starting at $24,680 and going up depending on trim levels and options. My heart does not go pitter-patter over this model as it does with Nissan’s other products. Though I may need a #RogueTrip to experience this vehicle in more depth.

 

 

 

Toyota Highlander

 

2018_Toyota_Highlander_SE
2018_Toyota_Highlander_SE

When did this crossover become so large and in charge? What once was a mid-sized big SUV replacement seems to be growing. While right in the middle of Toyota’s extensive lineup of SUV’s and Crossovers it is a good option for those looking for a dependable, and long-lasting vehicle with plenty of options. Pricing starts at $31,030, incentives are not aggressive due to this being a top-selling model. I was not expecting a WOW, and the Highlander followed suit by not making me squeal for joy while behind the wheel. Though in the long run, the Highlander will be there, dependable and safe as any of Toyota’s vehicles.

 

 

 

GMC Acadia Denali

 

2017 GMC Acadia Denali
2017 GMC Acadia Denali

GMC is an upmarket luxury truck maker showing that GM is paying a bit more attention to the details. Bringing luxury and utility together in an elegant package. While not as finely outfitted as the Terrain (which was not available to drive, though I attended a presentation on it earlier this year, see another post.) The Acadia is available starting at $42,255 and the Denali (upscale) trim starts at $45,415. While this is not a sports car, nor is it a luxury boulevard cruiser, the Acadia provided a very comfortable drive experience, one that I would find enjoyable on a long road trip. It was a nice both inside and out with a lot of attention to detail, especially for the front seat passengers.

 

 

 

Hyundai Tuscon

 

2017 Hyundai Tucson
2017 Hyundai Tucson

Sorry to say, this is one that I took out of the parking lot and quickly brought back. A cheap fit and finish made it memorable, and not in a good way. Even in the next to the top of the line Night Edition drag, there were some basics that could be improved. I have been very impressed with what Hyundai and Kia have brought to market recently and comparing the Tuscon to other Hyundai models driven in the past year, this one was a disappointment. While the Tucson starts at $20,200, it could be so better from a company that offers America’s best automotive warranty and well-known customer service. Hyundai is pronounced like Sunday for those who wrestle with the pronunciation of the brand name.

 

 

 

Land Rover Discovery

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Well now we are talking, no longer the boxy wannabe of its forebears, the odd exterior design is not unpleasing to the eye, just reminded me of a bathtub, a luxury spa tub. The Disco, as it is known, would not take long to get used to. The interior was quite comfortable, though not as impressive as I would expect from this legendary British Empire Automotive brand. This is one we would like to spend more time with to get the full Rover experience. Starting at $52,090 it is right at a price point with some strong competitors offering top-notch larger size SUV’s. The Discovery and it’s twin the Discovery Sport are positioned just under the famed Range Rover. The brand is owned by Tata, a large multi-national, multi-product-service company based in India. Which may be why this vehicle and the Jaguar F-Pace seemed to be so closely related, almost cousins. (Jaguar is also owned by Tata.)

 

Diesel powered Jaguar F-Pace
Diesel-powered Jaguar F-Pace

Jaguar F-Pace  – Here is a sleek and sumptuous SUV that I was very excited to get to drive for a few days this Fall. While it was an enjoyable ride, it was not everything I had hoped it would be. The 2.0 liter turbocharged 4-cylinder diesel-powered version provided excellent fuel economy power and responsiveness. Comfort was nice with heated and cooled seats and all that one would expect in a proper English road car. Some of the technology was substandard compared to the competition, such as a limited vision camera, the center console display and the tinting on the windows rendered my two separate electronic toll pass devices inoperable, which was a tad embarrassing, as I was driving a Tata executive from China to an automotive media event. With prices starting at $42,065 for the basic model, topping out at over $62K for The pinnacle of F-Pace luxury, the Portfolio Edition. With a great ride and wonderful styling and fuel economy in the upper 20’s on diesel fuel, it is not one we would ask to leave the stable. But maybe send back for some more training.

 

 

Kia Niro

Kia Niro Hybrid
Kia Niro Hybrid

Stepping into a Kia, the last thing you would expect is to fall in love with an economy car, a hybrid at that. That is what I did, within a few moments of driving this odd little crossover, I said to myself, I would buy this car. It was nimble, spacious and had plenty of technology aboard. A bit quirky and awkward at first, but it grows on you like a loveable, nerdy, best friend. I could easily see loading stuff in this car and be heading out on adventures. Prices start at $23,240 for the base model going up to $31,900 for the top-of-the-line Touring model. All feature a 1.6 L 4-cylinder and Full Parallel Hybrid System and provide anywhere from 40 to 52 miles per gallon. Even more of a reason to love this little Korean Crossover. Yet another vehicle from Korea that will give the Prius some challenges in the marketplace.

 

Cadillac XT5
Cadillac XT5

Cadillac XT5 – For me, it is hard to see Cadillac as a crossover, or even as an SUV. In my mind, Cadillac is a luxury car that says you have made it in the game of life. I have fond memories of the powder blue Eldorado Convertable (with a white top) that I drove to my Junior and Senior Prom in High School (it matched my Tux, hey it was the mid-1970’s and I still have the clip-on bow tie and button on ruffles for the shirt! And even the tux jacket somewhere.) The XT5’s interior rear-view mirror (the same on all Cadillac models) is a bit unnerving as it is a live video feed out the back, which for some reason played havoc with my sense of equilibrium, and eventually, I did find a way to switch it off. As a Crossover, it was a nice, but not as roomy or easy to get in an out of as I would like. And as a Cadillac, it was quite plain. I just would like it to be more elegant, more luxurious, more everything that a Cadillac is. Which also means different from the other GM products on the market, which the XT5 really is not. Prices start at $39,395 and with a number of add-ons it could be a contender. I especially like all of the safety features that Cadillac is offering on its current line of vehicles.

 

 

 

Jeep Compass

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

When you think America, the original SUV is just one name JEEP. While it may not be what we see on today’s roads, it was the World War II Jeep that the soliders brought home with them. Realizing that this rugged little four-wheel drive workhorse that took them all across the world’s battlefields. Now it has now become a staple in US driveways. No longer simple or even little, the Jeep has many iterations and is as capable as ever. The 2018 Jeep Compas is as close to the original as you might want to get, just now with a battalion of safety and technology features, not to mention and comfort that was unknown when it became a civilian product.  The Compass may not have much more room, but four guys in this Jeep can be an interesting experience. We all found the engine noise annoying, especially on long drives. The Compass is a great size for urban runs. Prices start at $20,995 and discounts can be had depending on the dealer or buying service you are using.

 

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A much-anticipated SUV that feels direct from the Italian Alps is this upscale
ride from the legendary automaker, Alfa Romero. With prices starting at $41,995 the Stelvio will be one that will sell quickly, even adding lots of options. This is one great looking SUV, sales will happen due to the Stelvio’s exceptional style, if for no other reason. Size is not enormous, but the driving experience is all European. Fit and finish need some work, though as with an Italian lover, you get the good with a few rough edges. We have not spent enough time in this vehicle as we would like, and hope to do so in the coming year.

 

Volkswagen Atlas

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We reviewed this full-sized 3-row American style SUV from the company that built the People’s Car earlier this year. The Atlas will fit the needs of many Americans due to the amount of interior space it offers. The Atlas is not going to win beauty pageants, it is a rolling bread box with very square angles. Made in Tennesee, it looks like a Ford Explorer just with a little some German styling cues. This is not the SUV for you If you are looking to make a statement about what you drive. Starting at just over $30K, this one will be a dutiful and dependable workhorse, as VW’s are well known for.

 

 

I was able to drive these vehicles due to membership in several professional automotive media organizations or by invitation of the manufacturer. I received no compensation or incentives for driving and reviewing the vehicles mentioned, other than the loan of the vehicles for up to seven days.

William West Hopper and the Kia Stinger
William West Hopper and the Kia Stinger

Words and Photos by William West Hopper
Photos of the Toyota Highlander, GMC Acadia, Hyundai Tuscon were from their respective automotive media sites.

 

 

Jaguar Redefines Marketing, A Movie Featuring You As The Star Along With The Car

Jaguar offers a full line of vehicles from sports cars to sedans to an SUV.
Jaguar offers a full line of vehicles from sports cars to sedans to an SUV.

Jaguar is taking to a big stage to let consumers know that their brand, an iconic heritage one, offers a modern line of cars that are very different from just a few years ago. This stage is not one of repetitive prime-time television ads, nor is it annoying pop up ads on your digital device. What Jaguar has done is put you in charge of their promotion, using the digital magic of the social share of a short video.

 

Jaguar features the iconic "The Leaper" mascot of the brand since 1938,
Jaguar features the iconic “The Leaper” mascot of the brand since 1938,

And here is where Jaguar got smart, they know that since this movie features you, you will share it on your social media channels. You become a star of a classic British Spy film, the talented British spy, the only thing you have to do is prove that you can drive. And what better to drive, then the iconic British Automobile, the Jaguar, in this case their new XE.

 

Jaguar worked with Facebook in partnership where you can make one of the scenes your personal Facebook Profile photo, a first for both companies. Jaguar is sure you will share it to your friends. And 85% of those that attend the Art of the Performance Tour do make the video and then share it via their social channels.

The Story Board for Jaguar's short film about you the British Spy and the perfect car.
The Story Board for Jaguar’s short film about you the British Spy and the perfect car.

Automobile companies have used ride and drive events as a way to showcase their cars, once you leave, all you have are memories, and a trinket. Any selfie images would be self-produced, and would not be as compelling as what #TheAudition creates with both you and the Jaguar. The process is simple, you review the story board, the script, practice facial expressions you will use in the scenes, head over to hair and makeup (yes you get made up like a movie star) and then head onto the sound stage where the director gives you the cues and gets you on camera. With rave reviews from the staff, like any star would expect!

Jaguar XE models ready to be taken out on the autocross course.
Jaguar XE models ready to be taken out on the autocross course.

Off you go to drive the cars on the street and an autocross course while they create the film. Stitching you into an already edited film, and you never end up on the cutting room floor. In just a few minutes you receive an email with a link to your film, and of course the Jaguar.com website.

 

Jaguar gives each attendee a key chain with the Jaguar mascot as a memento of The Art of Performance Tour.
Jaguar gives each attendee a key chain with the Jaguar mascot as a memento of The Art of Performance Tour.
Jaguar uses an RFID bracelet to identify visitors for their movie production.
Jaguar uses an RFID bracelet to identify visitors for their movie production.

Take a moment in the lounge to view your film on your own device and enjoy some cucumber sandwiches and proper English tea. While there you have a chance to access the Jaguar.com build site and talk with products specialists who are available to answer questions. One last digital moment is a photo with “the Leaper” Jaguar’s mascot, a Jaguar has taken the simple mass market demonstration event to the next level with the use of technology, what you do not see is the technology that makes it all happen. It starts with an RFID bracelet that you wear throughout the event. This tag identifies you and is attached to everything you do from each of your film scenes, your actual drive experience, to your memento photo and exit survey. This is what makes sure your digital content always has you in it.

 

Jaguar's Sports Car the F-Type and X-E Sedan.
Jaguar’s Sports Car the F-Type and X-E Sedan.

In talking with Kim McCullough Vice President, Marketing for Jaguar land Rover North America LLC, she spoke of how compelling this program has become bringing an event focused younger consumer to the brand with a very good return on investment. Jaguar had doubled their under 35 audience, as well as brought in many buyers new to the brand, looking for vehicles different from the traditional luxury and status cars that have become the mass-market norm. The Audition has exposed 92 million people via social sharing of this personal video where they co-star with the Jaguar in an action packed short film that is classically British, and ends in “Feed My Cat” which is a metaphor for the consumer to connect to the Jaguar brand.  And it turns

 

William West Hopper with the Jaguar Mascot
William West Hopper with the Jaguar Mascot.

Words and Images by William West Hopper

Note: This review was done during the open consumer days of Jaguar’s Art of Performance Tour. Mr. Hopper had the opportunity to spend time with Jaguar employees during this visit and was not given anything that was not available to the general public who attended.