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The perils of technology

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by GeoffR, Jul 27, 2021.

  1. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    I have recently been driving a 2020 Fiat 500 while my Saab was having some work done.
    For a small car the Fiat is actually surprisingly roomy, for two, and around town nippy too. However it was the level of equipment that really surprised me. Sat Nav, DAB and FM radio, Bluetooth connectivity, automatic air conditioning, electric mirrors and windows. Not a bad specification.

    Unfortunately the designers had discovered that the processors were capable of more than was really necessary. As an example the all electronic instrument displayed RPM, coolant temperature and speed in concentric arcs on the left, working in. On the right Eco and fuel quantity again working inwards. In my opinion it was a mess too much information in too small a space. The actual speedometer was beautifully clear but in the space between the temperature and fuel gauges, around the speed display, was the outside temperature (useful) the date, how does knowing the date help me drive more safely? The time, repeated on the Nav display, the gear selected, it was an auto box and something I actually managed to ignore. All this in the top half of the display.

    The bottom half could display, two trip counters, of which more later. Tyre pressure, average fuel consumption, instantaneous fuel consumption, fuel range or navigation information. Each trip counter displayed distance, average fuel consumption for the trip, average speed then on the next page trip time and more, about nine lines of text, all accesses by a single button.

    No wonder drivers are distracted! Too much information, most of it unnecessary, very badly arranged as if the instruments were a fashion statement.

    I never delved into the infotainment system, far too much information on too many pages. I gave up with the SatNav, which reverted to North Up, zoomed right out every time the engine was started. I actually mounted my Garmin on the screen the only time I wanted navigation, smaller screen but clearer display.
    Of course the handbook was absent! I had it for a week and it was fine for that time but I prefer simplicity.

    I actually had less difficulty with the 787 cockpit than with the Fiat, what are car designers thinking these days?
  2. John Farrell

    John Farrell Well-Known Member

    The odometer on my Toyota is digital, and can display temperature, trip, range, fuel economy, etc, but only one of them at a time. The rest of the dash is analogue.
  3. Malcolm_Stewart

    Malcolm_Stewart Well-Known Member

    Sadly, what you've described isn't new, and I expect it gets them some extra sales from impressionable customers. My present vehicle (Astra Estate) has a more confusing dashboard than the earlier version, so I've personalised it to suit my needs.
  4. DaveS

    DaveS Well-Known Member

    Gawd, even my Civic R has a simpler display. Digital speedometer front and center with the tachometer (Not Rev counter, don't need to know how many vicars there are) surrounding it. Temperature on the left, fuel gauge on the right. Odometer below. The less often needed info is in the centre display. Halfway decent Garmin sat-nav with next turn repeated to the main display.
  5. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Just goes to show that the most important view of a car is that from the driver's seat. The hardest thing I find when driving an unfamiliar car is if the speedometer and rev counter (why do all cars seem to have rev counters these days?) are reversed compared to mine.
    GeoffR likes this.
  6. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    My wife's Peugeot 3008 has a digital display in front of you that allows you to customise what information is presented in front of you and in what form - there's a very minimal option, one that I can't work out the purpose of, a full satnav display so you don't need to turn your head a few degrees to the other display in the car, a couple of others, and one that allows a reasonable amount of choice as to exactly what is displayed at any given time. Some of the options for me look very pretty, but definitely fall into the "mess" category in terms of actually presenting useful information. But the way I set it up gives me info that I actually want in a very accessible format, so overall, I think it's pretty good. My own current car has a central info display, including the speed, which is not ideal. A previous one I had had a little HUD screen that popped up and displayed the speed right in my eyeline, which was very useful. My daughter's car allows you to choose one piece of info on the main digital display, and she uses speed, so again, it's right in front of her in very clear form. My son's ancient Toyota Yaris has a rather bizarre instrument cluster that's invisible from anywhere but the driving seat, but is very clear from there, with other info (trip computer, external temp etc) on the information panel for the radio cassette player. That car is such a weird amalgam of ancient and modern, and of quite fancy spec and bottom-end stuff...
  7. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    Worrying is the trend towards increasing use of touch screens, which require distraction to use, VAG are particularly following this route. There are imho far too many built-in devices in present day cars, then we add more such as phones and dash cams. In reality nothing is more clear than traditional instrumentation.
    Zou and zx9r like this.
  8. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    My car has just five analog instruments, left to right; Tacho, Speedo, Boost Fuel Quantity and Coolant temperature. In the middle of the speedometer is the Information display which displays warning messages (currently Change Oil Soon), trip, etc. (which shows how often I change the display. Then the HUD displays speed and outside temperature. The main screen shows Map Radio and various set-up information, again rarely used.

    OK the HUD and Info display are just screens and can display many things but do so only when necessary, I can blank both if I so desire, I can even deactivate the tacho, boost, fuel and coolant temperature gauges if I want to. A bit like Boeing's quiet, dark cockpit concept. The only display I can't blank is speed.

    I have determined that any replacement car will have a HUD, why it isn't a requirement I don't know (but I only want to see essential information on it).
  9. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    I don't agree with that. Presenting the speed in a large font in digital form is MUCH clearer than on a dial.
    EightBitTony and GeoffR like this.
  10. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    I agree, to a point. Touch screens are a distraction simply because soft buttons need to be seen, tactile ones don't. Yes there is too much information.
    I agree. I rarely use the analog speedometer but the digital HUD is exceedingly clear. The only thing I would like is a trend vector but that isn't essential.
  11. MJB

    MJB Well-Known Member

    I drive a BMW. I find those annoying green flashing lights that occasionally come on to be a distraction.
  12. dream_police

    dream_police Well-Known Member

    And they only come on when you park it where the hell you like and push that red triangle sign?
    Zou, DaveM399 and MJB like this.
  13. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    You’ve only yourself to blame.
  14. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Particularly if the dial doesn’t mark 30 mph.
  15. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    I find that a combination of dial and digital works well.

    Instrument panel Hyundai i10 Panasonic TZ40 1000650.JPG
  16. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    It depends on what you are used to. I think I remember, from a long time ago, a speedometer that was a illuminated line with the pointer along it from left to right. Vauxhall Cresta maybe? From when bench seats were standard in the front, none of these armchairs we have now.
    zx9r likes this.
  17. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    Yes, I had a couple of cars like that. They worked OK as well.
  18. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    My dad had a Volvo 145 with a speedo like that. Only thing was that the end that indicated the speed was a right-angled triangle, so I wasn't sure if the point or the base indicated the actual speed.
  19. AndyTake2

    AndyTake2 Well-Known Member

    Minis are bad - a BMW design, so I assume some idiot had a thumb in both the pies. Should have washed his hands first, as it stinks.

    Whoever designed the'ergonomics' and electronics in the mini really deserves a slap witha wet fish. They spent their time and money on fancy circumference lights around the infotainment display, instead of spending it on a more ergonomic display. I don't need colour changing lights to show I have turned the temperture down, but it might be nice to see where the damn air is blowing, without having to stick my face to the centre console
  20. SqueamishOssifrage

    SqueamishOssifrage Well-Known Member

    You'd fail your driving test in Cyprus if they came on and the examiner noticed.
    dream_police likes this.

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