Car design evolution

I’ve recently been choosing a new car. There’s a small dip in the floor at my house where a pile of car brochures lay over the Christmas break! And I’ve driven my wife slightly insane with my deliberations! Choosing a car is a complex process – and an enjoyable one too.

Having looked at all sorts of cars I’ve become slightly confused by one of the latest trends in car design; the dashboards. It seems that car manufacturers are keen to get on board with the latest consumer preferences for touch screens, as with the iPhone/ iPad (and other similar devices). In fact in-car technology is aligning with the functionality of smart phone devices too with full internet connectivity and TV etc. Why? You cant use it when you’re driving and you can do all that on my iPhone or iPad anyway.

Most car dashboards are now dominated by some form of ‘screen’. Indeed my new car has two screens; one for the SatNav etc and also the dials behind the steering wheel are presented on a TFT screen too!

What confuses me is that manufacturers are replacing switches and dials for touchscreen technology. This sort of works, but these screens aren’t small! A particularly hideous example is on the luxury electric Tesla Model S (which will set you back around £70k for a top spec version). This has two screens, photo below…
teslaAnother strange one is to permanently ‘attach’ a screen to the dash – a sort of bolt on hybrid that’s a cross between an iPad and an oversized SatNav device. Mercedes have favoured this one…
mercedesSurely most consumers want to see designs which are integrated and discrete? The other thing, which I experienced recently whilst driving along some dark country roads, screens emit a lot of light! This is can be a real distraction when driving – not to mention if there are lots of things actually happening on the screen.

Suffice to say that my new car doesn’t have a bolt on/ supersized screen. And I’ve resisted the perhaps predictable german brands too! I’ve ordered a Volvo! This might provoke a snigger or remarks about straight lines, even “its a stereotypical architects car”, but I think Volvo are changing their image and their design philosophy has evolved a lot. In fact, their cars tick a lot of boxes now. I’ve been impressed so far. I will wait until mine arrives in May before a full judgement. This is what I’m getting…volvo xc60

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