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Jaguar jumps into gadget land

Jaguar jumps into gadget land

The venerable British carmaker, now owned by Ford, showed off a modern edge at the Detroit Auto Show with unprecedented audio and video connectivity. Offered as a dealer option in its X-Types and S-Types in early April, the system lets passengers bring their own media on MP3 players, iPods, DVD players, USB drives, and SD cards. For audio, the center console hides a bracket suitable for holding different types of MP3 players, an iPod connector, RCA jacks for auxiliary input, and a USB port for playing music directly from a thumbdrive. To play video on the two rear headrest LCDs, passengers can plug in an SD card or hook up any type of video player to the dual S-Video and RCA jacks, pictured here at the base of the center console. A set of wireless headphones ensure that movie soundtracks don't annoy anyone in the front of the car.

The S-Type on the show floor that Jaguar used to display these new components unfortunately also revealed a generally sloppy installation of new technology. The center stack, which houses the navigation and audio control LCD, was made of plastic, which looked a little cheap for a Jaguar. Worse, a satellite radio tuner was set into the center console, just in front of the shifter, instead of being neatly integrated into the main LCD. Although I appreciate Jaguar putting fun gadgets into the cabin, the implementation is extremely piecemeal for what should be a high-end carmaker.