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Lexus Set To Bring Back Touchscreens

Interview / 9 Comments

And not a moment too soon.

Lexus models are rightly praised for their reliability, comfort, and interior design. However, infotainment is not one of the carmaker's strong suits. Even with various refreshes, the Lexus Enform infotainment system is unanimously ranked as one of the worst in the luxury segment. When we sat down with Lexus Vice President and General Manager, David Christ, and Vice President of Marketing, Lisa Materazzo, we asked them what changes we could expect to the system, including the long-awaited addition of Android Auto.

Even though Lexus' parent company Toyota finally added Android Auto to a few of its models, Materazzo told CarBuzz "we don't have specific plans now to announce on Android Auto," adding that "our customers are heavily iOS. That being said, we know that there is a desire to have more technology and different types of technology incorporated into the car. So it's something that we continue to look at."

The biggest gripe with the current infotainment is the Lexus Remote Touch controller, which is a bit difficult to use while driving compared to similar knob-based systems. When asked what Lexus' consumer research says about consumer preferences in infotainment, Christ said "both our research and the industry research indicates that people want to touch the screen. It's intuitive and it's easy, so that's something we are taking a strong look at."

If you may remember, Lexus used to offer touchscreen infotainment on nearly all of its models before transitioning to its current iteration of touchpad-based infotainment. Only the GX 460 still uses a touchscreen while all other Lexus models use a touchpad or controller.

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"The more you can make functionality similar to what people are used to seeing here," Christ said while pointing at a smartphone, "the better you are. We have had feedback that there are some things that functionally, you have to dig down through menus to get to. The consumers don't like that, both with us and competitors. So that kind of ease of use is a key driving force of what we want our infotainment system to be. We acknowledge that we need a great system out there because the current system is not well-rated by consumers. So we want to improve upon that."

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