New cars are packed with ever more technology, including rapidly expanding touchscreens controlling everything from cabin heating to sat nav. But do these systems really make driving easier?
In the past, if you had a driving licence, you could jump into any car and drive away in seconds. Now though, it can feel like you need to take a training course to navigate your way around a new car.
Even trying to start a modern car can see you searching around the dash on the hunt for the starter button (what was wrong with a key?) with some companies siting this crucial control far out of comfortable reach.
And complicated touchscreen ‘infotainment’ systems can be even more challenging, often requiring you to delve into onscreen menus to adjust basic controls such as speaker volume or open the sunroof.
But do you think that these sophisticated media systems make driving any more streamlined – or do you find them a distraction? Would you rather more conventional controls that take much less getting used to?
Help using your car tech
It seems Toyota know that some drivers need a helping hand with their in-car controls. The company has launched no fewer than 10 new videos to help owners find their way around their Touch 2 multimedia and navigation system.
These cover everything from connecting your phone to the car, to updating maps and software and setting up an online ‘Toyota customer portal’ account. Credit to Toyota for trying to help owners get the most of their cars but I wonder if the need for guidance defeats its purpose to make the in-car experience smoother?
More features or simpler controls?
Now, I’m a huge fan of the trusty sat nav, but the appeal for me is that it makes my life easier. Having to set up accounts, transfer files onto a memory stick, plug in to the car to download updates and then wade through multiple menus does not appeal to me.
Would you rather have more functions and large touchscreens to play with or a pared back, simple dashboard with controls you can navigate by touch? I’ve recently bought an 11-year-old car and love its uncomplicated dashboard and easy to use controls – so I know which side I stand on, but what about you?