Thu Feb 7, 2019, 11:58 AM

The Touchscreen Infotainment Systems in New Cars Are a Distracting Mess

New cars’ “infotainment systems” are a mess of dangerous touch screens and inscrutable icons. More knobs, please.

Ezra Dyer
Feb 7, 2019

When I’m in charge of a car company, we’re going to have one strict rule about interior design: Make it so it doesn’t cause you to crash the car.


You’d think this would already be in effect everywhere, but no. Ever since the arrival of the iPhone, car designers have aspired to replicate that sleek, glassy aesthetic within the cabin. And it never works, because you tend to look at a phone while you use it. In a car, you have this other thing you should be looking at, out there, beyond the high-resolution panoramic screen that separates your face from the splattering june bugs.

If a designer came to me with a bunch of screens, touch pads, or voice-activated haptic-palm-pad gesture controls, I’d trigger a trapdoor that caused the offender to plummet down into the driver’s seat of a Cadillac fitted with the first version of the CUE system—which incorporated a motion sensor that would actually change the screen as your finger approached it. And I’d trigger my trapdoor by turning a knob. I wouldn’t even have to look at it.

Knobs are great that way. So are buttons and shift levers. I know: booorrr-ing! Your mom’s Grand Caravan had a shift lever, right? She didn’t have to look at it or think about it, and if someone borrowed her sweet Iacocca-mobile, they’d know how to use it, too. What fun is that when you can turn shifting gears into a convoluted game of Bop It? Designers like to say that novel electronic shifters—rows of buttons, pull switches, or self-centering nubs—are all about freeing up interior space. But reinventing the shifter is really about impressing your friends with how novel and futuristic your car is. Well, sure. They don’t have to live with it.


I sent my '94 GMC Yukon GT off for a total "off-frame" restoration that is going to cost me around $10-12k. Love that truck, looked at new ones with all the above crap on it and decided keep what I have and with save $40k to boot.

Can't wait to get her back!!!

1 replies, 148 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 1 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Touchscreen Infotainment Systems in New Cars Are a Distracting Mess (Original post)
RCW2014 Feb 2019 OP
Currentsitguy Feb 2019 #1

Response to RCW2014 (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2019, 09:22 PM

1. I love, no I NEED the tactile feel of buttons and knobs I can operate without looking.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink