Not a fan of touchscreens? You're not alone.
Check out just about any new vehicle these days and you'll notice they all have touchscreen interface controls. Ditching traditional analog buttons for touchscreens is no longer limited to luxury vehicles and the trend isn't stopping anytime soon. Touchscreens are here to stay, though there are a few exceptions. Honda is one of them. The all-new Honda Jazz, as it turns out, has brought back old school heating and air conditioning dial controls instead of incorporating them into a touchscreen. Speaking to Autocar, Jazz project leader gave a clear explanation of why this decision was made.
"The reason is quite simple - we wanted to minimize 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."
The automaker has not yet announced whether the US market Honda Fit, previously the same vehicle as the Jazz only with a different name, will be redesigned as well. For 2020, the Fit remains unchanged from last year's model.
It's also important to know that a fairly significant number of Jazz buyers in the UK and other parts of Europe are older and, therefore, prefer traditional analog controls. It appears Honda has done its homework amongst Jazz customers, but it still remains to be seen whether it'll continue to forgo some touchscreen controls in other models, such as the always-popular Honda CR-V, which is very much sold in the US.
The decision all boils down to customer feedback and that feedback can vary greatly depending on market and demographics. But the fact that Honda is closely paying attention to what buyers of specific models want is something that could potentially reap significant benefits.
Take the Jazz, for example. Even in Europe and the UK, crossovers are quickly gaining in popularity as hatchback and traditional sedan sales continue to drop. Giving buyers what they want, more or less, is one way to keep subcompact hatchbacks like the Jazz relevant for years to come.