Following the news of Mercedes’ gigantic Hyperscreen, a dashboard-width touchscreen, Core77 readers sounded off with unanimous disdain:
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– “Am I the only one who thinks that replacing tactile controls with touch screens in cars is one of the worst design trends of all time?” –TJ Ward
– “We never had a car with a screen until recently, a 2020 Kia Sportage. It’s super distracting trying to navigate the screens while driving. most of the time I just shut it off in frustration.” –Juan Cano
– “You also can’t leave your finger on a button and press it several times with a touch-screen like you can a tactile control…even the slightest touch on the screen will “press” the button. I hate the touchscreen controls in many situations.” –Zach Wheeler
– “Not to mention the greasy finger paintings that will be left all over the dash.” –Anthony Locascio
– One quoted Autocar’s take on touchscreens: “Items such as choosing a music track on Spotify took up to 20 seconds. We just don’t have any way of understanding the impact of that on safety in the real world.” –Ray Jepson
I’m with you; one reason I chose my current car is that it had an actual volume control knob and minimal touchscreen controls. Plus, who wants an entire dashboard that can disappear due to a technical glitch?
Then I got to thinking: What’s the opposite of Mercedes’ Hyperscreen? Then I saw this footage of a Toyota Gazoo Racing Hilux that’s making the rounds:
The footage outside the windshield didn’t interest me that much–but the dashboard did. I’ll screenshot and lighten it for you, for visibility’s sake:
It’s pretty bad-ass. Granted there are some screens to display crucial information, but every cabin-operated mechanical function of the car (I’m assuming by the icons, I sure can’t read the lettering) has a physical button, and some have attendant red and green lights.
If you look at other rally car interiors, you’ll see there’s a preference for analog/physical.
Granted you’ve got a navigator to press some of those buttons, and the layouts could use a little design help (button shapes, sizes, color-coding, etc.), but it’s telling that in high-pressure situations where safety and reliability counts, rally drivers aren’t going for touchscreens.