Auto safety test: physical buttons beat modern touchscreens


Posts: 29   +35
I'm on my third Mazda CX-5 (company vehicles) 2018,2020 and now a 2022.

The first 2 had touchscreens which I never used. I used the center console controls in the vehicle. AKA physical buttons, When the 2022 rolled out the company did away with the touchscreen and made the screen a little wider. Currently that is the biggest complaint about the vehicle for the articles I'm reading. I've never been a fan of touch screens in vehicles. Now, luckily in the Mazda the only thing that is really controlled are media functions. Radio, Bluetooth, messages. things of that nature. the rest are still physical buttons.


Posts: 194   +114
Well, let's put it this way -- when I went to buy a used Chevy Cruze, I went to a large used car lot, told them I wanted an LT1 model because it had no touch screen, and as they kept taking me to one car after another with a touch screen, I'd just say "nope!" as soon as I saw it. They thought I was nuts. If I'm driving, I can change channels, change volume, etc., by feel, with a touch screen there is no feel and one must take their eyes off the road and stare at this thing as they make adjustments. This is not safe.

Don't get me wrong -- I don't hate touch screens, I just hate the current fad to decide EVERYTHING should be on the touch screen, it's not a sensible or safe design. I mean, radio volume, station, temperature, turning the heated seat on and off (if I had one)? These are common actions and things the driver should not have to look away from the windshield to do, put those on physical buttons. Use physical controls for stuff the person is going to use every day, and put the less-used functionality on the touch screen, so you can have clean and uncluttered physical controls along with a less cluttered touch screen (since it doesn't have to duplicate what the physical controls are doing.)

BTW, Rvmwlf is spot on, I've read in reviews that Mazda is essentially doing this, really thinking about what should still have physical buttons and knobs and what is fine on the touchscreen, and good on them for it.


Posts: 2,794   +2,587
I actually googled the proper spelling before I posted. Did I choose the wrong one??

Yea you used the wrong one lol. It is more of a grammatical than spelling error.
Wives is the plural for Wife.
So by stating, "My wives’ 2011 MKX..." you are saying that the 2011 MKX belongs to multiple women that are married to you. :joy:


Posts: 1,235   +1,184
Touchscreen is useful for navigating maps and audio files in folders, etc.

Managing the AC, for example, is faster with physical buttons.

Combining multiple functions into a single knob on the other hand, might not be as useful and may even equal touchscreens.

Coming from the 70's I feel we need both. The convenienece of modern tech of touchscreens with the trusted functionality of physical buttons. Since, for eg., you can't navigate maps with physical buttons productively.


Posts: 277   +137
Of course they would say that a touchscreen is cheaper to implement on a mass-produced automobile than the traditional buttons and knobs and that might be true, although we don't have access to those numbers, but such costs are always passed down to the customer. What happens when, one stormy day, the touchscreen of your smartphone-with-wheels decides to stop working or it's smashed by your sweet summer child or gets fried during a freak geomagnetic storm? How much money and time will a replacement cost you?
These days some car factories in Europe were not able to finish the vehicles because of delays in the shipments of touchscreens from China. Before that is was the microchips. Next it will probably be the software. Meanwhile, a child is born to you sooner than you getting that pre-ordered, backlogged car.
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Posts: 107   +95
Well, as always, if we go back to the root of the problem, it's always the same. What humanity needs is open source not only in software but also in hardware. This is the only way to ensure that car makers don't force the switch to touchscreen, but also subscription models and other bad changes.