Buttons for simple things?

curb-optional

Member
Dec 21, 2023
44
39
Massachusetts
1704818793714.jpeg


I had read that luxury manufacturers (like Porsche) were busy adding buttons back into their high end cars. Why? Because a iPad in a car is cheap. It turns out that luxury consumers want buttons, knobs, and dials. You want a large iPad type screen too - it's a luxury, so you want both. Tesla types have been saving money by putting only iPads in the cars and calling it a "luxury." It wasn't and thus the tide has shifted. Removing buttons, knobs, dials, etc. reduces costs and make manufacturing simpler. But simpler is not luxury, and hence luxury cars have been going back to offering luxury features. NOT having buttons, knobs, dials, switches, and consolidating all comfort functions to one screen, all that says is cheap, IMO. The push back has been that scrolling to adjust heat or radio takes attention away from driving, and overall, after a period of time, it's just annoying. If it seems innocuous to scroll and push, try putting a button next to the fridge door's handle, and then pressing the button before you open the fridge door each time. This is where luxury is going back to: you need immediate control on things that are adjusted multiple times while driving. If everything is controlled through one screen, then a malfunction in that screen can render certain features not working? I have a LR now and a button for everything. If the fan on the heater didn't work, the heated seats and steering wheel, plus the heated windshield still did. One was separate from the other, not just physically, but separate elctronics to control the feature. It may sound like a waste of money, until a single chip goes blitz and you loose all creature comforts? If there's a consolidation of elctrics to one chip, and that one chip controls both the heat and the GPS maps, are you out on both at the same time? If you've ever driven a Wrangler for a while, you get the genius of simple buttons.
 
I had read that luxury manufacturers (like Porsche) were busy adding buttons back into their high end cars. Why? Because a iPad in a car is cheap. It turns out that luxury consumers want buttons, knobs, and dials. You want a large iPad type screen too - it's a luxury, so you want both. Tesla types have been saving money by putting only iPads in the cars and calling it a "luxury." It wasn't and thus the tide has shifted. Removing buttons, knobs, dials, etc. reduces costs and make manufacturing simpler. But simpler is not luxury, and hence luxury cars have been going back to offering luxury features. NOT having buttons, knobs, dials, switches, and consolidating all comfort functions to one screen, all that says is cheap, IMO. The push back has been that scrolling to adjust heat or radio takes attention away from driving, and overall, after a period of time, it's just annoying. If it seems innocuous to scroll and push, try putting a button next to the fridge door's handle, and then pressing the button before you open the fridge door each time. This is where luxury is going back to: you need immediate control on things that are adjusted multiple times while driving. If everything is controlled through one screen, then a malfunction in that screen can render certain features not working? I have a LR now and a button for everything. If the fan on the heater didn't work, the heated seats and steering wheel, plus the heated windshield still did. One was separate from the other, not just physically, but separate elctronics to control the feature. It may sound like a waste of money, until a single chip goes blitz and you loose all creature comforts? If there's a consolidation of elctrics to one chip, and that one chip controls both the heat and the GPS maps, are you out on both at the same time? If you've ever driven a Wrangler for a while, you get the genius of simple buttons.

Yep. Made an account here just to complain with you. I've looked everywhere and no one seems to be talking about this. It's super cheap and cheap looking. It bothers me enough to be second guessing whether I should be buying a top of the line 2025/2026 4runner revamp instead of the GX, but rumors are it's going to be a Tacoma power plant so, meh. I'm in line for an Overtrail (TTV6 pls), I like the luxury of Lexus but this is just....

It's not just about cheap vs. luxury, it's simply faster and less dangerous to have tactile buttons. If I am on the freeway or in heavy traffic and I need/want to change my climate because it's become a distraction to my driving, I can do so in my Corvette without taking my eyes off the road.

Can't do that with a touch screen. For a company that has such a complete "safety package" it's a complete let down to go completely buttonless. At the very least, they need to have an "Auto Concierge" physical button that automatically and perfectly sets the climate control to your knob setting. I'm glad they kept the off-road settings off the pad, unlike some of the competition but to not even have the basic climate controls as buttons? This is an awful oversight.

The screen is a pretty big let down over something like the Ford Ranger Raptor's recent center console release. Let alone other vehicles.

You hit the nail on the head. If the screen breaks, you are likely stuck with whatever climate it was last on or whatever it feels like being on.
 
It also matters how the button feels. I have a '22 EQS and I just sold a '21 GLS. The '21 came with these big, wonderful buttons on the steering wheel, the doors and in the center console. They were tactile and felt premium. The '22 came with these plastic, high gloss black buttons which look nice, but feel cheap. I can never tell if I have hit the right memory seat button. It looks like a premium cabin, but it doesn't feel like it's going to last much beyond the warranty period.

That brings me to the other elephant in the room - the software required to drive those iPads can be glitchy, and has necessitated a few dealer installed updates and upgrades. How long will the software be supported? Mercedes, notoriously stopped supporting live traffic updates an cars that were just 3 years old in 2020.
 
If Lexus goes all "let's pretend EVs are always right" with their screen (unlikely) then all functions are likely going to one computer chip and/or fuse. Forget the cost of the knobs - it's also the independent and separation of wiring that adds manufacturing costs. If there's a problem with that single chip that all functions get funneled to, major functional features could become unchangeable when a minor sends a fail signal to the chip. I get this is expected for a low cost production vehicle. But on a high cost luxury one, I'd expect all the features to be on different chips and fuses. Redundancy is a luxury feature, and if you've been in an old LR, you get redundancy. Just because it's not visible, it doesn't mean I won't pay extra for it - it's a luxury feature, for sure. If the heater is working but the fan is not, you would still have heat, but not as forceful. If the radio goes does that take away NAV? Some new cars are (most likely) taking money from Google and others to NOT install proprietary on-board GPS and internal chips for sat-NAV and location storage. IF the car manufacturers are taking payouts from tech companies to withhold on-board NAV systems, it leaves the driver open to LTE issues, as well as Google marketing preferences. Of course Google wants to store your favorite locations in Google Maps, but why would a luxury car offer that sell out feature? It shouldn't. Luxury buyers don't want to be sold out to big tech. Thus, I suspect Lexus has to have its own NAV system to keep the driver away from big tech marketing. In setting up an internal NAV, that should all be to a chip/fuse that is highly protected in the car, and not subject to any type of sequential dominio like failure in features and functions. But that's just me....
 
  • Like
Reactions: MJE
The push back has been that scrolling to adjust heat or radio takes attention away from driving
This is the crux of the matter for me. Having to take my eyes off the road to find a formless button on a glass screen is a step down from my 4Runner, which is gloriously adorned with sensibly placed buttons and knobs which provide positive feedback without having to look at them.
 
This is the crux of the matter for me. Having to take my eyes off the road to find a formless button on a glass screen is a step down from my 4Runner, which is gloriously adorned with sensibly placed buttons and knobs which provide positive feedback without having to look at them.
It's not just consumers that want buttons. The NHTSA has become more critical of manufactures making iPad controls as a poor & dangerous manufacturing decision. An iPad is less beneficial to drivers (from a crash statistic perspective). Sure, Tesla can offer you only an iPad, but some Tesla models are inexpensive. The iPad control design is there because it's cheap, that's what it is. Eco models don't have buttons and knobs, so cars without buttons and knobs convey manufacturing budgeting and skimping. For comparison, read about the Bentley making sure it has a computer screen, but also having buttons. Porsche is doing the same. The dual control approach at Bentley pretty much sums it up: limited budget cars get only an iPad, but at the top tier buyer levels, cars need to have buttons to convey luxury. Whatever fun you attribute to a Tesla, it's not a Bentley :) Toyota gets that. Even Wrangler gets it (you seen the buttons in those? Wonderful). But if car companies want to cheap out and pretend that an iPad only solution is desirable, lots will fill up for sure as not only do consumers see through that bs., but now regulators are calling out the manufacturing cheapness. Besides NHTSA, the European regulators are also questioning why car makers are cheaping out on safety items like knobs, buttons, and dials for consumers? It's a good questions....
 
If I were Lexus/Toyota and the NHTSA baulked at a big touchscreen and a lack of tactile buttons on the center stack, my defense would be that the tactile buttons had been moved from the center stack to the steering wheel where they can be accessed without taking one’s hands from the wheel. I’d also remind them about the voice command system.

The downside there is that the functions of some buttons on the wheel change with context, but for a debate between Lexus and the NHTSA that would constitute getting into the weeds
I think.
 

GX550 Poll

  • 1. tOny enD

    Votes: 4 26.7%
  • 2. MJM

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 3. SsgIncognito

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 4. bfloyd

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 5. Let’s Gooo!

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 6. Widdlewadder510

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 7. BC/DC

    Votes: 3 20.0%
  • 8. 1 due

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 9. 95YotaPickup

    Votes: 8 53.3%
Back
Top