Here in the car world, we get exposed to a lot of different manufacturers’ wares, and it’s occasionally a struggle to remember just how a particular car does a particular function. It’s not too bad determining whether you push or pull the right-hand stalk to get the wipers going, but when it comes to changing a radio station, or god help you, figuring out how to turn off a blasting heater when controlled by some inscrutable touch screen, it can make you question your sanity.
Fortunately, most present day infotainment systems, those big screens in the center stack, only control the audio, maybe nav, and interface with your mobile phone. That doesn’t mean that car company’s can’t make them frustratingly obtuse in their operation. Take Honda for example. For some reason, Honda decided to replace the standard for a century volume control knob on their CR-V’s system with an ’80s-chic chiclet-sized rocker. It’s non-intuitive, slow to use, and only partially redeemed by redundant controls on the steering wheel. Why did they do this? Well, apparently because they wanted to hide the CD slot behind the LCD display, requiring it to motor out of position should you want to use that antiquated audio medium. Honda has thankfully gifted buyers of their 2018 CR-V with a proper volume knob.
The thing of it is, Honda’s system, knob or not, is still not as awful to use as is Toyota’s. Seriously, what the hell, Toyota? Infotainment systems don’t need to be so bad. In my experience Kia’s system isn’t awful, nor surprisingly is Mitsubishi’s. In fact, one of the better ones I’ve used of late is Volkswagen’s heavily revamped MiB system that debuted on their lineup in 2016. What about you, have you experienced the frustration of having to decipher a non-intuitive infotainment system, perhaps on a new car, or worse a rental that you’ll never see again? What in your experience has been the worst experience you’ve had with one?