Honda has done what no other car maker is doing, and returned to analogue controls for some functions on the new Honda Jazz.
While most manufacturers are moving to touchscreen controls, identifying smartphone use as their inspiration – most recently seen in Audi’s latest A3 – Honda has decided to reintroduce heating and air conditioning controls via a dial rather than touchscreen, as in the previous-generation Jazz.
Jazz project leader Takeki Tanaka explained: “The reason is quite simple – we wanted to minimise driver disruption for operation, in particular, for the heater and air conditioning.
“We changed it from touchscreen to dial operation, as we received customer feedback that it was difficult to operate intuitively. You had to look at the screen to change the heater seating, therefore, we changed it so one can operate it without looking, giving more confidence while driving.”
More and more manufacturers are moving to touchscreen-only controls. The new Audi A3’s electronics boss Melanie Limmer told Autocar recently its decision to remove some physical buttons was made as “more and more people are getting into touch functions with smartphones” and added that the new system is as user-friendly as the previous one.
While Honda’s decision to return to physical controls will be popular with some – including, no doubt, its ageing owner base in the UK – the predicted move towards more voice-controlled actions in cars could eliminate the debate around touchscreens versus analogue controls in the future.