If you then add in less responsive ‘touch’ buttons, even with haptic feedback, then it becomes even more of a hunt. It became more apparent to me recently when I drove the new Golf GTI. The new GTI is an all-around excellent car, until you try to change a setting. All the buttons are now touch-based, and the screen is absolutely crammed with functions. Try to hit the quick-nav button to go to climate, and if you hit a bump your hand will glance over to “options”. At which point you’re hunting for even longer just to get back to where you started.
This rush to tech everything up and cram it into a screen is in danger of making good cars dangerous. And sure, voice control is helping to sort that, but how many voice controls are perfect? The simple solution is to keep the screens, but allow buttons for the most used functions, the things you do when driving – climate, dynamic car settings etc. It was interesting to see this week that the new Audi e-tron GT has dispensed with the second screen seen in the A6 and A7, and returned some buttons to the dash. Maybe, before governments need to legislate for safety, the OEMs are realising they need to change themselves.
Let’s put it this way: what really is the difference between hunting in a screen for the right menu to change your heater, and getting your phone out to read a text?
Tesla image by David Von Diemar.