LCDs, used for controlling stereos and navigation, are relatively recent additions to car dashboards, and their interfaces often lack much in the way of design. We take a look at current interfaces from all major car makers to see who is doing it right, and which ones need work. In our roundup, we start with the worst and work our way through to the nicest-looking and most useful interfaces.
Ford uses this same interface across Lincoln, Mercury, and Ford-branded cars. While the touch screen is functional and the buttons are easy to hit, the whole thing is ugly. The buttons don't need to be that big and we don't like the color scheme. It is also odd to see the same interface in a Ford and a Lincoln. Fortunately, the upcoming Lincoln MKS gets a different and aesthetically designed interface.
Volkswagen's interface, seen here on the R32, uses a similar color scheme and button structure as the low-end one from Mercedes-Benz. With this one it is almost more difficult to see which labels correspond to which buttons.
Mercedes-Benz uses this interface in most of its low end cars, meaning those that cost less than $100,000. We don't care for the color scheme and the button structure isn't very intuitive. Mercedes-Benz doesn't use a touch screen. Instead, on-screen labels let you know what the buttons on the bezel do.
Honda's latest interface uses a similar structure as in Acura cars, but the look is different. We like that Honda pays attention to brand differentiation at this level. The styling is good with this interface, although the text comes off as a little bare.
The interface for the MyGig system, found in several Chrysler cars isn't too bad. The touch screen is easy to use and we like the split screen. However, the styling is spare, and you get the same interface in a Chrysler, Dodge, or Jeep.
BMW offers a split screen in its interface, in this instance showing music in the main area and trip information in the smaller screen. The look is somewhat spare, but it is straightforward, with nice, readable fonts.
GM's interface is nicely done, with a good, deep color and a convenient tabbed design for easy access to different functions. But we think GM could have better brand differentiation, as we've seen this same interface on everything from a Cadillac Escalade to a Suzuki XL7 (built for Suzuki by GM).