Consumer Reports Was Not Impressed With ‘Usability and Controls’ of Many Mercedes Models

One aspect of new vehicles that continues to improve in a big way is the infotainment system. Automakers try to best each other by installing the latest technology, the most intuitive functions, and the most incredible sound systems. When you venture into the luxury segments, with the likes of Mercedes-Benz and others, these tech-based touch points tend to be even more substantial.

But having an infotainment system capable of doing everything but take out the trash doesn’t much matter if the system itself is difficult to navigate. And one recent report suggests if usability and controls are a dealbreaker for you, there are a few Mercedes-Benz models you should likely avoid.

The smart buy list from Consumer Reports

When Consumer Reports evaluates and tests vehicles for review, the team usually spends more than 2,000 miles with each contender. It’s these kinds of evaluations that went into the latest Consumer Reports compilation.

The team ranks SUVs that scored well in four key areas: visibility, easy-to-use controls, rear-seat comfort, and cabin quietness. These aspects of a new vehicle might often be overlooked and lend to this Consumer Reports list of “stress-free SUVs” that present a smart buy without the deal-breaking flaws.

The winning SUV with easy-to-use controls

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In the category of controls and easy-to-use infotainments systems, the Hyundai Kona comes ahead with the highest score. UX Collective points out the increasing trend of most automakers making smart use of touchscreens and in-cabin tech.

The Consumer Reports team calls the audio system and climate control functions of the Kona a “breath of fresh air.” The touchscreen is conveniently positioned for reach and each function performed as intended. And while the Kona may not have all the latest bells and whistles, or expensive smart tech, the platforms it does have are super user-friendly. 

Consumer Reports also pointed out a few other good choices based on the evaluations. Honorable mentions go to the Kia Sportage, the Subaru Forester, and the Subaru Crosstrek.

It could surprise you to learn, however, that the vehicles the critics suggest you avoid, with lower scores in this category, include the Mercedes-Benz GLA, the Mercedes-Benz GLC, and the Mercedes-Benz GLB

What’s so wrong with the Mercedes-Benz controls?

When it comes to the Mercedes-Benz GLA, the reviews say the lavish and elaborate infotainment system is just too distracting. For the GLB, Consumer Reports complained the dazzling system was distracting and cumbersome to use.

The GLC wasn’t intuitive for Consumer Reports at all, either. Even the GLE took criticism, with its intuitive touch-sensitive controls on the steering wheel. The system proved to be too complex to use realistically, and even the voice command features were overly distracting.

Usability really is a personal preference

While the Consumer Reports teams felt many of the Mercedes-Benz models offered too complex controls and systems, you may completely disagree. What they consider distracting, the Detroit Free Press commends as much-needed enhancements that depart from old-fashioned, rotary controls.

In the end, what you find to be easy to use, will be based on your knowledge and preferences alone. Some tech-savvy drivers might love the intuitive new tech and enjoy exploring how to use it. Learning new ways to engage with climate control, navigation, or voice command options may be an exciting proposition for you. 

This Consumer Reports ranking of SUVs is based on key criteria, like easy-to-use controls, is subject to personal preference. What you consider convenient or complex may vary from someone else.

If you want the latest in-dash tech, voice command options, and high-end stereo controls, you’ll probably have to get used to a few new things. If you need your controls and infotainment to be easy-to-use, however, this list might just be speaking to you.