Whether they use a touchscreen, touchpad, a cursor, or a knob, infotainment systems won’t ever be perfect. While new models are being released and current models are being refreshed, it seems that trying to figure out what works best for everyone when it comes to designing the infotainment system is futile. Some infotainment systems are good, some are better, but here the five of the worst ones that you can currently find in new cars.
Acura True Touchpad Interface
When the Acura RDX was redesigned for the 2019 model year it was given a new interior with some elegant and tech-savvy design elements. One such feature is the new True Touchpad Interface that consists of a 10.2-inch screen that’s mounted on the dashboard, which is controlled by a touchpad on the center console.
In order to control, or click on, the different menus on the screen, the user touches the corresponding part on the touchpad. It’s designed to be intuitive, which it technically is, however, they could have just made it easier by making the screen an actual touchscreen. We applaud them for not making it like Lexus’ mouse-like setup, and it’s a unique take on screen control, but it does make menus tough to navigate through at times and there is a bit of a learning curve.
Toyota’s Entune system is available in the Camry, Avalon, and the Sienna. The new-ish Entune 3.0 system boasts a user-friendly touchscreen interface that does support Apple Carplay, but not Android Auto, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
The system makes you download the Entune app on to your phone to access the features on the infotainment system. Unfortunately, the app is buggy and has a host of issues, which makes sense as to why it has a 1.5 out of 5 user rating in the app store. That’s a shame, considering Toyota is one of the prominent automakers that’s renowned for reliability.
The Lexus system is by far the most annoying interface on this list. It uses a touchscreen that place on the center part of the dashboard with a joystick-like touchpad situated on the center console. In order to navigate and choose menus on the screen, the user needs to control the touchpad like a computer mouse and monitor.
Although it might be intuitive in the sense that everyone knows how to use a mouse on a computer, but it doesn’t make sense if you’re trying to quickly go through screens while driving (not that we condone that). The driver would have to take their eyes off the road, and it’s even clunky for the passenger to use while the vehicle is in motion. It seems to have gotten better with the updated 2020 RX model, however, Lexus’ overuse of it through the years has left a bad taste in our mouth.
Infiniti’s Intouch system, as found in the Infiniti Q50, Q60, and QX50 features a dual-screen system with an 8-inch screen up top and a 7-inch screen in the bottom. While we like the touch-screen interface, other critics say that the bottom screen, which controls the climate controls and other settings is tough to navigate. The upper screen shows the navigation, but the graphic display looks cheap and outdated, which is not something you would want in a $50,000 car.
Audi’s MMI Touch
We’ll start off by giving Audi credit for changing updating the infotainment systems in the A4, A6, A7, A8, and e-tron with the much-better MMI Touch Response system, which is a dual-touchscreen setup. However, the older MMI Touch system that can still be found on the A3 and A5 is not so good.
The MMI Touch utilizes a screen on the dashboard that’s controlled by a knob on the center console. The user twists the knob to get to the desired screens and menus, which on one hand was easy to use after getting over the learning curve, but a pain in most cases. We won’t miss it.
There is no one system that fits all
Unfortunately, there is no one system that will work best for every person out there. And we do realize that it takes countless hours of research and development for automakers to design a system that works with the interior design of the car as well. However, these five systems stood out to us as being exceptionally bad, but we’re hopeful that they will become easier in the future.