The Problem With (Modern) Cars.

13 September 2019

I have had the recent experience of driving some modern vehicles, i.e., Cadillac, Jeep, Toyota, Nissan, F250, Chevy, Mini, Challenger and some others, and I am disappointed. Oh, they’ve got lots of guts, handle well, comfortable and all that. What grinds my gears are the instrument panels. The designs are ghastly.

In all these cars:

The speedometer and tachometer are tiny – about the size of a small coffee cup. The pointer and numerals are a light gray on a black background and difficult to see, especially in the day time.

The speed is displayed on the dial as well as a number displayed in the middle of all manner of obscure things you have to study to make out what they are. We don’t need both – it’s a wast of space in instrument panels that are way, way too small to begin with.

Fuel and Temp gauges are well hidden and tiny. On some cars, they are built into the rims of the speedo and tach and unless someone points them out, you can’t spot them. On others, they are wee bars that are hard to locate and have very poor contrast so are very hard to see.

As for messages, they use a squint-print type face like that used for the footer on a web page. Cannot be read while underway without distracting yourself from what’s taking place on the road. Bad. Way bad.

The radio (called “entertainment centers”) are especial horrors. They were designed at The Lighthouse For The Blind. Flat, glossy touch screens that washout in the most feeble of ambient lighting. What they display are travisties: little thin lines, odd incomprehensible icons and numbers too faint to read. Oh, and you can’t easily find bass and treble; you have to drill down at least three levels in a menu you have to search for on that flat, shiney glass panel.

The climate control is no better. It often shares the ugly glass panel with the radio (Entertainment Center). It uses teensey chrome butons with pressed-in icons to announce their functions (not). One car had seat heaters and, on entering and assuming my position behind the wheel, I bumped the hidden switch turning them on and when my rump was almost burning, could not find that switch so as to turn them off. A most uncomfortable ride.

Someone somewhere decided to vex and annoy the customers with this nonsense but the car sell, so … Well, here’s the one out of a new Caddie.

Here’s one from a 2008 Chrysler