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Screen Test: Five Frustrating Infotainment In-Car Interfaces Page 4

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2013 Lexus ES 350

2013 Lexus ES 350

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Lexus Remote Touch

We're conflicted about this one, honestly. Perhaps in a nod to the older crowd that tends to consider the brand, Lexus has set up its Remote Touch system to be about as close to a simplified desktop computer as you'll find in a car. The screen uses a simple, understandable menu system, nice large fonts and boxes, and takes advantage of color. And several of our editorial team do appreciate how the system has haptic feedback, allowing you to feel a little pull (or click) as you go from one screen option or area to another. Yet several of us see this system as one of the most frustrating of all, because even after you 'learn' the system you still need to keep an eye on the screen—and off the road—whenever making a selection.

2012 Audi A8 L 4-door Sedan Audio System

2012 Audi A8 L 4-door Sedan Audio System

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Audi MMI

An editor called the latest iteration of Audi's Multi-Media Controller (MMI), now used throughout much of the lineup, “half-brilliant, half-assed,” and much of our staff agrees. While we love the beautiful, very functional Google Earth maps and wide-screen displays, and the very cool scratch pad that lets you trace out letters for destination input, we find the structure of its menus—and how there aren't just easy, ever-present shortcuts, presets, or bookmarks for frequent tasks—frustrating once you get to use the system more.

“The Germans, as a group, have decided we're too dumb for touchscreens,” commented another editor. “There's physically no way to shortcut the knob interface and hard keys.”

2014 Mazda Mazda6

2014 Mazda Mazda6

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Mazda TomTom Navigation

In an affordable car, the new Mazda system was the most frustrating system of any we've recently encountered. The top-level infotainment system in the new 2014 Mazda6 and CX-5 pairs TomTom navigation with integration for hands-free calling, media and satellite radio, and even Pandora music integration, provided you've installed the app on an iPhone or other approved handset. But maps and menus are laggy, voice controls are extremely limited, and the central-console controller, while it looks great, ends up feeling like an underdelivering iDrive knockoff.


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Comments (3)
  1. Having experience several versions of the Comand system, I find it somewhat archaic today. Currently, I have a '12 Audi Q5 with MMI plus and it works pretty well. The voice control doesn't always understand and the windows and sunroof need to be closed. The most frustrating is the radio which permits "presets" or favorites but requires you to select "Presets" every time you start the car a new. One feature no often mentioned is the in dash screen between the speedo and tach which provides duplicate info from the main screen and button on the steering wheel which permit telephone, media selection and use without use of the main control knob. It also provides nav info. And the "optional" Bluetooth works great.
     
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  2. As an owner of a 2008 Audi A6, I have to disagree with your assessment of MMI. Using the knob and button controlled interface is much easier than stretching for a screen interface. After about a week of use, I got the hang of it and can easily use it while paying attention to the road. The voice control and Bluetooth also work very well for cell operation.

    Plus, you don't have to be constantly wiping off greasy fingermarks as with the CUE display. I've tried Caddy's system and applaud their effort, but there's no workaround for this messy byproduct.
     
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  3. Just had the Ford dealer install the latest My Ford touch into my wife's 2013 Escape. For a starter I went to download it onto a thumb drive as the letter of instruction advised me to. Couldn't download it onto a Mac Book as it required a java program first. Couldn't install Java as they and Mac are not friends. So went to the dealer and they performed the download and installation. All that was left was for me to reset the radio stations and the rear camera. This I shouldn't have had to do.Now I understand why people don't like My Ford Touch.
     
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