Despite most car buyers going for technological extras, such as in-built entertainment and navigation systems, our latest investigation found that the majority of drivers find these features distracting.
We tested eight different ‘infotainment systems’ from some of the biggest selling carmakers in the UK. Each system was different, from the features onboard to the controls – be it touchscreen, click-wheel (single control dial with a multitude of functions) or an array of buttons on the dashboard.
Our tests were focused solely on the ease-of-use of these systems, both when stationary and when driving.
While the best-rated systems were those fitted in premium-badged brands, like BMW and Mercedes, our dedicated team of testers were overwhelmed by the depth and varying control functions for all of the entertainment, navigation, climate and communication features.
Eyes on the road
We’ve previously had a good moan about modern cars being too technologically advanced for their own good here on Which? Conversation, but our research did find that the above features are what drivers want most.
But are we wise to want them in our cars? We surveyed 1,011 Which? members, finding 241 who already have a car with one of these more advanced infotainment systems. Of these, seven in ten admitted to finding them distracting.
That’s why we’ve developed our own 10-point best practice charter for in-car tech. In the coming months we’ll be presenting this to road safety groups, government bodies and car manufacturers in an attempt to get them to agree to the production of less distracting in-car tech.
Our checklist ranges from advice like ‘drivers shouldn’t need to look away from the road for more than two seconds to operate any single function’, to ‘entering sat nav destinations should be disabled when moving.
So, which in-car tech features do you think are most distracting? And do we need to counter this obsession for complicated infotainment systems in cars?