By on July 10, 2013

2010-Lincoln-Town-Car-Sedan-Signature-Limited-4dr-Sedan-Interior

An increasing trend I’ve been noticing is the increasing discomfort that older buyers are experiencing with luxury cars. Even the more tech savvy of the lot are getting frustrated with the rapid influx of technology in their cars of choice.

In the past year, I’ve had two older gentleman ask me for lower-tech alternatives in the luxury segment. One man in his 80′s was interested in a Lincoln MKT, but ended up purchasing a Lexus LS460 after being unable to get a handle on MyLincoln Touch. Another in his mid 60′s, who religiously buys Lexus ES350s, is now looking at a Hyundai Azera after being frustrated with the new mouse-style control for the Lexus infotainment system.

Doug DeMuro brought up a great point on his Kinja blog, namely, what are older buyers gravitating towards when every luxury brand seems committed to attracting younger buyers. Yes, this makes good business sense, lest you become Buick, saddled with a customer base that is literally dying off. But why ignore your customer base, which actually has the money to buy your cars? Why does the Cadillac XTS, a car that will only be bought by those in the over 45-set, offer CUE, a notoriously bad touch-sensitive infotainment system? The XTS is the kind of car that should be elegant but simply laid out for ease of us. A driving experience laden with distractions and repeatedly stabbing a haptic feedback control is the antithesis of luxury.

I wonder if the tide will eventually turn back to traditional buttons, simpler layouts and less reliance on complex, fragile electronic systems. As public beta testing and increasingly disposable electronics become the norm, cars have the opportunity to be a beacon of resilience and quality. But I don’t think I’d be on that.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

177 Comments on “QOTD: The No-Frills Luxury Car? Not As Crazy As It Sounds...”


  • avatar

    Why not just make an iCar, which would delegate all its electronics to your iPhone or Android device? It’s always going to be up to date, and the software was developed by an enormously competent, well-financed team, which isn’t true of most car software.

    The operating system on the iPhone/iPad blows away anything in a car today. And I’ve noticed a lot of older people are very comfortable with their smartphones, probably because they’ve taken the time to learn them to communicate with the younger people in their lives.

    D

    • 0 avatar
      morbo

      “The operating system on the iPhone/iPad blows away anything in a car today”

      You must have never used Chrysler UConnect, then.

      Or Jelly Bean.

      • 0 avatar
        dtremit

        I’ll accept Jelly Bean, but there’s nothing special about UConnect. The main thing it has going for it is a lack of glaring faults (though it still can’t deal with an iPhone via USB very reliably).

    • 0 avatar

      iOS is the simplest smartphone interface because it only has left or right progression with a home button in case you wanna instantly go back to square 1. FORTUNATELY FOR APPLE the Android crowd couldn’t simply copy iOS without getting sued into oblivion, but they’ve already copied its multitouch gestures and the best of its interface, while building on the areas consumers felt were lacking.

      The problem is, as BMW has showed with their ridiculously overpriced attachments for iPhones and motorola phones:

      #1 the driver wants instant access to their phone and doesn’t want it to be hidden away.

      #2 Not all buyers have the same phone and the car companies can’t keep up with demand for phone specific cradles compatible with their vehicles.

      #3 The car manufacturers can’t keep up with changes in firmware across models. I tried using my iPhone5 in a Mercedes E550 and it didn’t work.

      #4 The target market for these luxury cars are OLDER PEOPLE/Retirees who aren’t tech savvy as their grandkids. New money youth want more technology so long as it makes sense, but I insist that the smartest thing to do is focus on luxury tech like heated/cooled seats with massage rather than trying to make radio head units into “iPads” and then FAILING to make them perform as well example Cadillac C.U.E.

      UCONNECT touch 8.4n in the new Chryslers is SO EASY TO USE it’s what I’d expect an Apple product would be like in a car.

      Meanwhile Ford dropped in consumer reliability (as did BMW) below Chrysler. (LOL)

      On a side note, I convinced my coworker to GIVE UP TOYOTA when taking her Camry back – wanting an Avalon – and then showing her the Azera. She LOVES her new Azera.

      youtube.com/watch?v=DUuPu_kxN-Y

      Heated seats all-around.
      Heated-cooled seats with driver’s motorized thigh support
      Ultraview roof
      Easy to use Navigation system
      All for $425 a month with $3000 down for 3yrs on lease.

      Drivers are spending more time in their cars. Fortunately the USB interface has been adopted across devices – such as bluetooth headsets and radar detectors – as a charging standard – albeit 5W maximum and a bit slow.

      Although my mother’s STS has a DVD player with a 5.1 channel sound system in the car that rivals many home theater systems, she’s yet to use it a single time beyond the point when I showed her she could.

      I’d love to see an iOS capable head unit. Imagine being able to download your movies and TV shows directly to the car using iCloud.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        “#3 The car manufacturers can’t keep up with changes in firmware across models. I tried using my iPhone5 in a Mercedes E550 and it didn’t work.”

        It’s funny that IPhones are the only phones we ever have issues with. Mercedes has sent several bulletins saying that it’s the IPhones, and they can’t do anything about it. I have only had one customer have an issue where his Android phone wasn’t send the address book to his head unit, and we got it squared away in a couple of minutes. Most IPhone users we have to tell they’re SOL.

        • 0 avatar
          Power6

          Oh tell me about it. I work in a completely different industry and the IOS updates can be relied upon to introduce ActiveSync bugs that bring down e-mail servers. Android developers have no trouble getting it right…

      • 0 avatar
        Power6

        Oof $425/mo for a lease and you still have to put thousands down for a midsize with extra frosting. Guess I can live without extending thigh supports and seat blowers. I’ll open my normal sized sunroof, crank the Nak and grab hold of some real American Walnut for the price of a lease down payment and a few months of payments. I need that reminder every once in a while.

    • 0 avatar
      jz78817

      “The operating system on the iPhone/iPad blows away anything in a car today.”

      Horseshit. iOS is geared for a device to which you can *give your undivided attention.* Exactly what you DON’T want in an automotive user interface. iOS is full of small icons, lists, and menus. It may be pretty but it is NOT suitable for an automotive UI- something I wish Apple fans would get through their heads.

      • 0 avatar

        Jz78817

        APPARENTLY YOU’VE NEVER USED THE IPOD NANO 6th Generation or seen how “context sensitive” menus are applied and hidden by PROXIMITY SENSORS in Cadillac’s C.U.E system.

        So long as the steering wheel controls can track forward, track backward, play/pause – and the touch screen is programmed to only allow you to do certain things while the car is at 0mph (or a passenger is in the seat) THERE IS NOTHING about this style of interface that is any different than what you already find on a modern Navigation computer or Uconnect Touch for that matter.

        Couple this to VOICE TECH that can let you say: “play songs by Megadeath” or “play Onyx Bacdafucup” – which we already have.

        the problem is, it’s so difficult to tie all this stuff together. iOS already has it and people are already doing it by using their iPhone’s SiRi over their car’s speakers. I can do it even in my SRT8 and its Uconnect is 6 years old!!!

        The only problem is Apple Maps sucks right now and Google Maps – which is a superior mapping system to even the stuff Garmin has (since it is auto updated via an always on 4G connection) is not likely to be allowed to be a default software on an Apple branded head unit.

        I have the vision for it, but I lack programming skills and machining techniques to pull it off.

        • 0 avatar
          jz78817

          “APPARENTLY YOU’VE NEVER USED THE IPOD NANO 6th Generation or seen how “context sensitive” menus are applied and hidden by PROXIMITY SENSORS in Cadillac’s C.U.E system.”

          1) cut the caps, please
          2) I’m sitting a couple feet away from a CUE-equipped ATS, I know how it works.
          3) the iPod nano doesn’t use iOS.

          apart from that, I don’t know what to say. You seem to just be ranting about how much stuff you’ve used but you don’t really address what I said at all.

          • 0 avatar

            You can call it ranting, but I know exactly what I’m talking about. If I can figure out a way to put it in smaller words for you, I’ll try.

          • 0 avatar
            CelticPete

            Sorry man I agree with some of the stuff you say but the iOS is not great. One button for a lot of functionality is fail. The stupid home buttom does way to much and its as annoying as hell.

            The way Audi and BMW do it is way ahead. You can have some functions on your touch screen if you want one of those but dedicated buttons rule.

        • 0 avatar
          MBella

          That is the same pile of crap that I purchased, because these Icrap pieces of junk where the greatest things on the planet and worth the 400% price premium over a competitors mp3 player. The interface is very clumsy, and has separate icons for function that do not, or should not be separated. It has terrible battery life, and a proprietary battery that is not easily serviceable. The only reason I haven’t crushed that pile of garbage is because of it’s outlandish price.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I have to agree with you, jz. And to that extent, I think the best application of iOS in a car thus far is the new ability to voice-interface with Siri on the Chevy Sonic and Spark.

        A happy medium, I think, would be for automakers to contract their infotainment needs out to companies dedicated to making the best such systems possible for automotive applications. I know they do this to some extent, but you can still tell that the UI’s are designed with “gee-whiz!” and not functionality in mind. Moreover, most of the UI’s use schools of design–like chrome and shiny gradients–that are being dumped by most other computer interfaces, and that will look very out-of-date in a few years.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          MyFordTouch/MyLincolnTouch is the result of this strategy.

          But the company is Microsoft. Microsoft is a calcified organization which created about a decade of stagnation in the computer industry, until it was party disrupted by iOS and Android. They figured out they had a problem about 18 months ago, years after everyone started just keeping their old laptops and desktops (they’re still useful) and buying mobile devices that let them do new and interesting things (mobile is where the growth and money is).

          Microsoft wouldn’t be my first choice for anything that needs to be rethought from the ground up.

          Apple on the other hand doesn’t invent things. Graohical user interfaces, smartphones, and webpads all existed long before Apple created the products we remember, and the reason is because Apple did the design way better than the previous attempts. And Apple announced that they were going to take a crack at in-car electronics at the last ADC (it was covered on TTAC), so maybe they’ll do it again.

          I could say the same hing for Google, though there are some differences. Google Navigation on Android isn’t particularly good in the interface department. Waze (a recent Google acquisition) is better as far as in-car interfaces go (and it let’s you tell Waze users behind you about road problems), but it’s far from perfect. Maybe once they integrate the Waze team and technology, they’ll really have something. But only of they care to pay a few dozen $100k/year geeks to solve these problems. Will they put up a couple of million dollars a year to solve this problem. Donno – everybody drives so there’s opportunity there, but the usual ways to make money in the Internet business are distracting. Also, I’ve been using Google Maps/Nav for years and haven’t seen much improvement

          What we really need is an open standard for advanced aftermarket devices. That way we’re not limited to innovations which cone only from top-tier tech companies capable of partnering with a giant institutional car company. I work for one of those top-tier tech companies, and they’re good at this stuff – but its a pretty small pool of innovators compared to every geek on the planet who wants to make their car better. Also, these companies are tightly managed (despite the T-shirts and casual attitudes toward things that don’t matter), which is why things like 20% time and hack days are necessary. But a project like this isn’t incremental enough to lend itself to being a hackday project. So, why not make it possible for an upstart company to be the ones who do it right?

          With an open standard, we actually would get the benefits of working with the entire tech industry, not just a hand-picked company that may (Apple?) Or may note (Microsoft?) Work out….

  • avatar
    thornmark

    I remember when my mother bought a Bose boombox in the 1980′s. It cost $900 and had essentially on/off, volume, bass and treble. Low on bells and whistles but sounded like no other portable.

    Less can be more.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      My 67-year old wife has never used 90% of the electronics in her 2012 Grand Cherokee Overland Summit. Satellite radio? Yes. Cruise control? Yes.

      NAV, backup camera, other electronics? No!

      Even the AC, headlights and 4X4 system are set on Auto.

      Enter-N-Go takes care of the rest.

      Why did we buy all this extra crap? It came with the car she picked out and you can’t take the stuff off once it is installed at the factory.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I’m FAR from retirement age, nor am I a luddite, and I’ll state that much of the technology crap they’re stuffing in vehicles today is superfluous at best, and actually diminishes the overall quality of vehicles, at worst (while inflating the purchase price, to add insult to injury).

        I can see the desire by most for a connection for one’s iPod or other non-Apple device, as well as bluetooth synchronization for their cell phone (I can live without either of these things, personally), but the shit’s gotten well beyond insane with the rest of the electronic and tech gadgetry and the interfaces used to utilize them.

        These levels of technocrap also allow automakers to stuff their lots full of otherwise mediocre vehicles that have crazy MSRPs.

        Whatever happened to excellence in suspension design, steering feel, chassis dynamics, braking, refinement of motors, the simple excellence of prompt shifting transmissions?

        The last truly excellent, and I’ll personally state it’s so good that it’s now mandatory in any vehicle I will ever own as a daily driver, piece of technology in the modern passenger vehicle has to safety/accident avoidance, and it’s the electronic stability control system.

        The world would be a better place if more cars were designed with substantive, structural excellence that allows for a more rewarding driving experience when dealing with ripping over shitty stretches of crumbling roadway, full of potholes and disintegrating expansion joints, versus a seeming unstoppable trend towards jamming the latest and not so greatest technology that should have remained in the home or office into the passenger vehicle.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          “The world would be a better place if more cars were designed with substantive, structural excellence …… ”

          For that you have to go upscale to Mercedes, BMW, Audi, et al, because like everything else, “you pay for what you get”.

          That said, our Grand Cherokee has turned out to be a surprisingly good, dependable, reliable vehicle, right on par with the 2008 Highlander we bought new and still keep around for the 16-year old grand daughter to tear around it.

          Like you, I have no need for all the electronic frills and bling. But in this day and age, we are all pretty much stuck with “what you see is what you get” when car shopping.

      • 0 avatar
        dtremit

        Please, teach her how to use the backup camera. The rearward visibility on the new GCs is horrifying.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Yeah, you can’t see much behind it because of the high glass belt-line on the lift gate.

          The camera does come on automatically when the Grand Cherokee is put in reverse. The picture comes up in the NAV screen display.

          Still, the routine is, “right foot on the brake pedal, release parking brake with left foot, put Jeep in reverse, look out passenger-side mirror, look out rear-view mirror, look out driver-side mirror, take right foot off brake pedal and slowly back out.”

          It’s a rote-memory action after all these decades and looking at the NAV screen is one extra step that requires behavior modification.

  • avatar
    jmo

    “a notoriously bad touch-sensitive infotainment system?”

    I’ve had a few rentals with it and never had a problem. Where are you getting “notoriously bad”?

    “reliance on complex, fragile electronic systems.”

    Electronic systems are more fragile than mechanical systems? The last 30 years of automotive development seem to indicate the opposite.

    • 0 avatar
      stottpie

      You’re right that electronic systems are not as fragile as mechanical systems.

      I’ve had zero problems with any electronic components in my 30 year old mustang.

      Lots of mechanical problems though.

    • 0 avatar
      Secret Hi5

      Yeah. When did CUE become “notoriously bad?” O_o

      • 0 avatar
        Summicron

        What does “O_o” mean. Just saw another commenter use it.
        Is it a meh face?

      • 0 avatar

        http://www.wired.com/autopia/2013/02/cadillac-cue-update-coming/

        Lavrinc is one person you can trust when it comes to reporting on automotive technology.

        • 0 avatar
          alexndr333

          Mr. Lavrinc’s article has a title that calls CUE “unresponsive”. Really? Unresponsive – as in does not respond? I can see how such hyperbole would be attractive to people who like to exaggerate their criticisms of CUE and GM – the internet has spawned a cottage industry of such spewings. When Mr. Kreindler unreservedly recommends the post, it undermines his credibility as any kind of fair trader of information and places TTAC among those anti-GM rants.

          • 0 avatar
            dtremit

            Yes, unresponsive. The capacitive “buttons” often fail to do anything when you hit them. The term is used correctly.

      • 0 avatar
        azmtbkr81

        I had an XTS rental not long ago (they were all out of Malibus) and found the CUE interference to be rather poorly executed. I really wanted to like the system and it was easy enough to navigate through the touch screen menus but I could never seem to get the hang of the volume and climate control buttons. Even the person at Enterprise had trouble making the CUE system do what she wanted when giving a demonstration on how to use it.

        The other negative I found is that I was unable to manually enter a destination into the NAV system. I had to call OnStar and provide an address each time. This was novel at first but I felt like a jackass calling and asking a live person for directions to the nearest Taco Bell at 1 AM.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          This surely can’t be the case – you must’ve missed something. On* isn’t a mandatory subscription, so it can’t be the only way to enter destinations.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Why do cars and computers *have* to effectively merge in the first place?

    We still can’t get a fully working version of Windows right. Large industrial systems run on 1960s and 70s technology for a reason, computers ain’t all they are cracked up to be.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      Exactly, go back to the legendary reliablity of the carburetor.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Putting a primitive computer in a car isn’t the same as turning a car into a complex computer.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          Yeah, it’s getting to the point where, if you want to be a mechanic, you’re going to need to get a computer programming degree.

          Computers should control the engine and that’s it.

          • 0 avatar
            jmo

            Computers should control the engine and that’s it.

            Why, they are just for posers. A real man uses a choke and manual spark advance.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      Exactly, go back to the legendary reliablity of the carburetor.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        I admire your subtle employment of the double post to express the nuanced sarcasm of your technology defense.

      • 0 avatar
        Summicron

        “the legendary reliablity of the carburetor”

        In a state without inspections and before ECUs you could make them extremely reliable, even in the winter.

        • 0 avatar
          April

          Apparently you never owned a Chevrolet Vega…

          Going by my Dad’s 74′ GT the carb on it was complete junk.

          • 0 avatar
            Summicron

            Never met a carb I couldn’t tame by yanking hoses, plugging ports and installing a manual choke.

          • 0 avatar
            DougD

            Actually the carb vs EFI is a great example of the proper use of complex technology.

            Modern EFI systems are rather complex, and this technology is applied in order to make the user interface simpler.
            In an EFI car you turn the key (or push the button but that’s a different rant) and the car starts. EFI knows to richen the mixture for cold starts and not flood the engine. Same every time.
            Carburated car, you pull the choke out half way, give the gas pedal two pumps and turn the key while holding the throttle slightly open. Also, if you’re borrowing someone’s car you may get it wrong if the other car floods with two pumps and what you needed to do was pull the choke out fully then turn the key.

            EFI and engine management takes care of it and makes your car starting experience simpler and consistent.

            What it DOESNT do is provide you with buttons and HMI scroll menus so that you can richen the mixture by 30% and increase the idle setting by 10% to start the engine, and do the reverse once the engine is warmed up.

          • 0 avatar
            Summicron

            @DougD

            Very well said. I’m no Luddite, modern tech used for safety & efficiency is godly.

            Modern tech pushed to counter-productive extremes as a sales ploy is execrable and dangerous.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            @DougG

            A properly set-up carburetor with an electric choke is much easier to start than that. All of my old cars only require a couple pumps of the gas to prime and set the choke and they start up and run. The ones with stockish cams can even be thrown into gear and driven cold if need be.

            Of course, carburetors require periodic maintenance to remain this user friendly, something that EFI beats every time.

        • 0 avatar
          MRF 95 T-Bird

          Tough to do with a late 70′s early 80′s Honda CVCC. Just look at that maze of vacuum hoses.

          • 0 avatar
            Summicron

            Heh…bullseye. I never tried that with my ’82 Civic wagon because I didn’t have to. It just ran. Wasn’t going to touch all that spaghetti if I didn’t have to.

        • 0 avatar
          SoCalMikester

          ive had carbs in 80s honda scooters and a late 80s kawasaki 500. as long as they were driven monthly there was no prob. keihin FTW?

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            In Southern California? Your carburated scooters maybne just fine for you there….

            But they wont work for everyone. Try some weather and/or altitude some time.

            My 1998 EFI Ranger started with any fuss or adjustment at -20F and 104F in factory trim and without a block heater, and at altitudes ranging from sea level to a bit over 9000ft.

            Your 80s carburated scooters probably couldn’t even attempt that unless you knew right where to set the idle and mixture screw for the local conditions every time. At sea level and 60 degrees, that’s easy. But most of us are not so fortunate.

            P.s. Took my Sienna to Colorado. It started just as well at high density altitudes. But I haven’t driven it all over the country yet. My old Escape is also in Colorado, and is doing just fine making daily 1500′+ altitude changes between town and the house. With a carburated car, you’d need to adjust the carburator at each end of the daily commute, or pick some middle-altitude mixture that wouldn’t be optimal at either end. Or you could let the ECU do it every few milliseconds, and never have to worry about it again. ECU FTW!

    • 0 avatar
      morbo

      “Large industrial systems run on 1960s and 70s technology for a reason

      Yeah, the reason is that software bug testing for VAX/UNIX based systems was held to a far higher tolerance than anything M$oft puts out. Our experience with fragile consumer electronics shouldn’t cloud the value of automating our vehicles with software. Boeing does quite well with their software testing program (current 777 crash TBD of course).

      The other issue is that the fancy graphical UI’s we want in cars haven’t been put through the same rigorous process. One day we’ll get there (when NASA or Boeing or USAF need something shiny AND reliable).

      Till then, bleh.

      • 0 avatar

        VAX with UNIX? Oh you wish. In reality it’s this:
        http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/showthread.php?37827-Greetings-from-GE-Canada

      • 0 avatar
        SoCalMikester

        To me, From what Ive learned in 45 years is that most unproven (at the time) ideas are WAY overbuilt at the time. Microwave ovens? TV sets? The Apple2? Cellphones? Mainframes?
        Its only later that “simplify and make lighter” make sense

    • 0 avatar
      wumpus

      Windows doesn’t work right largely because MS (along with Adobe, Oracle, etc) are the Lucas of computers. There are large industrial systems built around it (the Iranians didn’t custom make all that stuxnet-vulnerable stuff themselves, it they used off-the-shelf windows-based SCADA systems), but largely because pointy-haired bosses trust microsoft. If you want to know why this is, look at the market share of XP. Once you have a “good enough” windows, why pay for something worse (Vista or Win8) or only marginaly better (win7, but replace your hardware to run it).

      Look at it from tha manufacturer’s viewpoint. The 1% still has the most money, but aren’t necessarily sinking it into cars. So you need a Audi-BMW-Merc competitor, a chevy competitor to scoop up the rest of the money on the table, and some way to keep the 1% from buying the “chevy”. Software lets you decontent a car in ways that assembly lines only dream of. TTAC has already reported how it is more expensive to add roll down windows to a car that offers power windows, but just dropping features from the central computer allows you to change from a chevy to a buick to a caddy right before epoxying the lable on.

      An ECU is a no brainer. While most of the laws (how dare you use too much gas, or not enough, or dare try to un-decontent your car…) may also involve no brains, mechanical systems that can reliably control an engine over the course of ~200k miles are simply wildly more expensive than an ECU (if they exist at all, how often did you have to adjust that carburator?). The “infotainment” parts are often silly, but as long as the market appears to hate driving (and from the attitude of youth this is only increasing), they better give them something to do other than watch to see if anyone is turning left in front of them.

      Personally, I can’t stand touchscreens. I’ve replaced far too many, hated too many idiotic inputs (the Nook’s appear to make you give up browseing and pdfs so you only buy from the B&N store) to make a case for them. The mechanical switches on a car, on the other hand are obvious weak points and are screaming out for replacement. Perhaps a sufficently close iOS clone will eventually prove superior, but I’m not holding my breath.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        +1

        Microsoft IS Lucas… its all coming together!

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        “Software lets you decontent a car in ways that assembly lines only dream of.”

        BMW is *the* strongest example of this sort of thing I’ve ever seen. There are entire companies dedicated to recoding BMWs to add features only absent because they were never activated at the factory.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          This is pretty much possible with most manufacturers now. OEMs are pushing strongly for the standardization of control modules which are mostly identical from vehicle to vehicle, with the only changes in which bits are flipped. If you have the tool to access the code, you can activate or deactivate just about anything if the hardware is in the vehicle.

          • 0 avatar
            360joules

            So next time a close on a new car deal I will have to sign a 90 page EULA and promise not to decompile, etc. ?

    • 0 avatar
      jz78817

      comparing a general-purpose PC operating system to an embedded industrial control system is about as “huh?” as can be.

    • 0 avatar
      SoCalMikester

      a lot of business computers still run on XP variants or even DOS. so?

  • avatar
    onyxtape

    An old couple that we know bought a fully loaded, tech-ed out Acura RL as their “last” car. They’ve given up trying to use any of the console. Radio on, radio off. AC on, AC off. That’s all they care to know or able to know.

  • avatar
    radcardude

    I’m 64 years old and consider myself to be tech savvy. It seems that the technology has reduced relatively simple tasks to a series of more complex ones. For example, I just purchased a new Lexus RX 350. In order to turn the A/C on or off you can’t just push a simple button, but now must push menu button then scroll on an LCD screen using a dial to the A/C icon and then pressing the dial down. Technology should make tasks easier, not more complex thus increasing distracted driving.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Ha, my dad was complaining to me about this exact topic yesterday- cars with a bazillion buttons and too much reliance on touchscreens. As he put it, they built a car around the computers.

  • avatar
    seth4man

    Agree with your article. I also think there is room for less-tech in the car itself. Multiple steering weights? Multiple suspension settings? Multiple transmission settings? Multiple rear-diff settings? Please, 99% of users will never change the default settings and it’s just more crap that will break on your BMW/Audi/MB.

    This all leaves a tremendous opportunity for the Acura/Infiniti/Lexus manufactures to step in with luxury/sport cars that don’t cost $70,000, are simple to operate, and will be much more reliable out of warranty.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      And yet the Japanese have JUST as much of this unnecessary tech crap in their cars. Because most buyers WANT IT. It looks cool in the showroom. They get to impress their friends. It lets the premium badge differentiate itself from the mainstream very cheaply. Ultimately, what’s the difference between a loaded Camry and an ES350? The ES350 has more toys.

      At least on my BMW, I was able to order it with just about NOTHING extraneous. No screen at all, just two lines on the radio display and that is all I need. That crap is standard on the Japanese cars, and now a screen and iDrive are standard on the new 3-series too. I had a GX37 for a weekend for a rental, and utterly hated all that crap. Giant screens are distracting, and you can’t turn it off, or even dim it enough. Saab had a brilliant thing with Night Panel.

      Unfortunately, we are in the minority here.

      • 0 avatar
        oldfatandrich

        I bought a new S350 last year and one of its “features” is the driver’s ability to turn off the Command screen. How delightful—I can float down the interstate and simply glance occasionally at a speedometer, diesel oil gauge and a clock. I will compliment myself for learning how to change radio stations and access the navigation system, but other than that, why all this extraneous foolishness ? It’s actually fun to drive a car without the endless distractions of electronic gadgets. And while I’m on my soapbox, manufacturers of luxury vehicles best remember that many of their customers—affluent seniors who can afford a six figure sedan—are the ones who float the boat; not the tech savvy forty something who’s struggling to make that $1100 monthly lease payment.

      • 0 avatar
        ccode81

        It is rather the lower and younger end of Japanese market who demand gadget tech, same customer base who replace smartphones once a year.
        And we have more high tech kits from aftermarkets than anything OEM can offer. that is the toys they show off to friends.
        Elderly are same as anywhere else of the world, or more analog, their favorite is Toyota Crown.

        ES350 is not sold in Japan, because we all know it is US dedicated ripoff car, Toyota knows they can’t fool the long time loyal customers. don’t worry.

        Strange, but I always felt it was rather German side who raised the bar of this gadget game…

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    The automakers are disregarding all the published data regarding older drivers: diminished vision, reaction time, physical dexterity, memory and going ahead with a single model of technology. There’s a lot of older people who are still safe enough to operate a car, but may be rendered dangerous because they’ve been tasked with modern control interfaces. While it’s fun to snicker at, the company that put out the ‘Jitterbug’ phone is succeeding because it caters to a specific market of users that want a minimum of features and complexity.

    I don’t see anything wrong with a brand like Buick developing their controls for basic simplicity. It would answer the question of ‘Why does the brand exist?’ in a far more coherent manner than we’ve gotten so far. So what if they become the ‘brand for old people’? There’s a lot of them and more are being made all the time. (The alternative is unappealing.) Many are also able to afford premium automobiles. So configure the brand without touchscreens and console mice. Equip it with large knobs and buttons with easy to read labels. Keep the technology behind the dash, the ride soft, and the seats comfy and supportive.

    • 0 avatar
      Summicron

      ++
      And don’t forget sufficient tallness of roofline so we can easily get in & out.

      We’re going to be driving a while yet and we have money. And curse Honda for mishandling the Element. Even old people can’t stomach the Ridgeline.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Computers in cars won’t go away. I am ok with that as the reliability and usability can’t compare to cars from the pre-90′s. My issue is with pulling out a damn checklist manual ala 747 to find and adjust the defroster and then find the mode switch that will allow me to quickly shut off the ac compressor (as we all know, you don’t need it to run all the time). Two big buttons for the radio and three for the HVAC stuff please, not menu after menu to find it or a set of buttons similar to a nuclear reactor console. While you are at it.. bring back the bench, column-shift and foot operated high beams dammit!!! oh.. and cable operated vents!!

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Buick’s Intelilink does wonders! Whether it’s 3.5mm AUX jack or Bluetooth to voice commands a quiet Verano that actually hears my soft spoken voice. Buick is the quietest in the business for the price.

  • avatar

    If everyone over 50 is against touch-screens, what is the alternative? I did a back-to-back driver seat comparison between a popular family sedan in 2012 and 2013 versions, before and after the new generation update. The old 2012 had probably over 50 buttons on the dash, just a huge wall of buttons dominating the console from floor to windshield, it looked like the control panel for a spaceship. The buttons were all around 1 inch square or less, all about the same squarish shape, all had approximately the same texture (no bumps/ridges). Then I tried the 2013, what a revelation, all non-essential buttons are hidden in the menus on screen. There’s maybe 10 physical buttons, most of the A/C controls, all large and well labeled. The main audio controls in the screen were also duplicated in physical buttons on the steering wheel.

    I would say the 2013 with the touch screen was significantly easier to operate than the old 2012 with the wall of buttons. Probably 2/3 of the buttons were settings most drivers would never use anyway. In the 2013 all those settings were in huge print when displayed on-screen. Also, with one button right next to the screen you can just shut off the screen completely, for fewer distractions.

    Older drivers who don’t like touch-screens will probably need to wait until the next significant advance in HMI develops, perhaps voice recognition for all controls.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      The alternative is keeping the frivolous gadgets controlled by those 50+ buttons out of the car in the first place.

      • 0 avatar
        wumpus

        Basically all it needs is a $900 checkbox where the dealer pulls out a patented proprietary cable and flicks a single bit where the GUI changes from 50+ buttons to a Top Gear style 4 (and large fonts).

        It will sell. It will sell with the market, stick price and dealer gouging on top of that.

        A better question would be to ask how many really need user input and simply including sane defaults and let the user override them. Thermometer chips add a dime to costs (assuming they can’t be included if they make a custom low power chip) and would simply allow a “set and forget” thermostat. A second outside sensor could tell when to turn on the defroster (possibly ignored if the GPS says its in Arizona).

        The first thing I would to is to add a USB port to the computer that would bring a HTML prompt up on a laptop/tablet/phone and let you check off unwanted “features” and adjust the defaults you don’t like. The second thing I would do is assume that only the salesman (or possibly the car owner’s son) is ever going to do this, so make sure the customer can understand and explain what they want (ideally you just check the tradein’s car radio’s presets, but that might not work). In the end, the “GUI construction kit” may end up anything from “top gear’s four buttons” to the 50+ button UI disaster that they are presently shipping (I’d want the more pointless buttons moved back, but still accessible).

      • 0 avatar
        Brian P

        Exactly.

        I don’t own a car with a touch screen. Both cars in the family have three main controls for the HVAC (fan speed, temperature, and which way to direct the air) and ordinary radios with tuning and volume knobs, and a few more buttons for station presets and the like. There are a couple other buttons for cruise control, and that’s about it. Don’t need no more than that.

    • 0 avatar
      Webtiger

      52.. 16 years in software test/dev…
      I love chrysler’s UConnect in the 8.4 touchscreen…
      Ford.. not so much..
      BMW .. pretty much would rip it all out …

      I have 85 yr old parents.. they want to downsize into something brand new…
      They are afraid to even put newest cars into drive after all the electronics pop up…
      1st and only test drive, with a fully loaded Buick Verano, lane departure activated.. my Mother nearly caused a collision by braking hard on the freeway it scared her so much…

      I’m pretty certain I’m going to end up helping them find a 4 – 5 yr old used car with minimal electronics.. or getting them a chauffuer..

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        A Chevy Malibu LS is pretty simple it comes with On Star which is probably a good idea and SiriusXM Satellite Radio, but that’s about as complex as it gets. My parents are the same age and drive a Chevy with the same equipment and they seem to be OK with it, my dad likes to talk to the “On Star people” he thinks that’s so cool

    • 0 avatar
      marc

      Which 2012 nd 2013 were you comparing? My guess would be the Lexus LS, which got so many complaints about buttons. And now that the buttons have been replaced, more complaints.

      I love these long term tests nowadays (like Edmunds), where one year into it, the team is still finding functionality buried deep in some sub-menu.

      How bout mfrs do some stripper specials, like Doug’s post on German wheels. Pay for the upgraded electronics of you want them. But still get all the luxury. I used to think you should buy whatever car you want, as long as it is the most loaded example. Notsomuch anymore.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m sure it’s the same with other cars as they get touch-screens, I saw the difference between 2012 and 2013 Honda Accords. The pictures don’t do it justice, when you sit in the driver seat the wall of identical tiny buttons on the 2012 are in your face and in tiny print, whereas the 2013 has a large touchscreen with large print icons/script, with large physical buttons for A/C.

        2012 dash:
        http://media.caranddriver.com/images/12q1/449663/2012-honda-accord-ex-l-ip-stack-photo-450276-s-520×318.jpg

        2013 dash:
        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/2013-Honda-Accord-EX-L-V-6-Sedan-int-006.jpg

  • avatar
    2011TCCE

    One of the main reasons I love my Town Car. And the Town Car pictured is an older, more tech savvy model that had Navigation. I like the fact that I never have to second guess what I am doing or have to take my eyes off the road and read. Yeah, it is super old fashioned, but it all works. It does miss out on some key features like auto up and down windows, iPod connect, air conditioned seats, rear back up camera, etc, but so what. I still get where I am going in total isolation and comfort. Never once have I had to break out the manual to figure out how to do something. Just make it quality and stylish and leave the tech to your phone.

    • 0 avatar
      SoCalMikester

      werd. One of the Big3 needs to do that, and they will

    • 0 avatar
      SoCalMikester

      Mom got a TC as a rental to go to Vegas. since it was probably the plushest car id ever have access to (driving an 81 rabbit convertible- sporty to me) i grabbed the keys when she went to bed.

      WOW. it was everything the Wolfsburg Rabbit was not! That was how i thought american luxury cars should be, and it did NOT disappoint.
      It was way more modern than anything id driven. A big friggin quiet leather couch. with a wheel and pedals!

      Simple controls, AC that could chill a meat cooler, and a whole lot of acronyms that Id read about.

      I took it on the 605, southbound and got it up to about 90. No traffic at 2am, and it hustled. Pushing the pedal meant a pretty good downshift into 3rd, with the accompanying muffled engine noise and fury.

      Decided I wanted to try this new “ABS” thing id read about. It worked! I heard the juddering of the wheel controls as it slammed me into the seatbelt. Amazing! And in a perfect straight line, as promised :)

      it took me down to naught, then I accelerated back up to freeway speeds to send this Barcalounger home to Mom.

      THAT was my Panther experience!

  • avatar

    I sell new cars and I wouldn’t consider anything made in the past decade for anything more than a lease. I know I have a very different mindset than my customers, but I just prefer simplistic devices, regardless of “improvements” made by computers. It’s cool to be able to change the temp with voice commands, but I really only have two settings I use, all the way hot or all the way cold and adjust the fan speeds in between. The old temp slide and fan speed switch accomplishes this quite easily.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      The dial that controlled the hot/cold range in my first car (MY93) failed by the time I had the car in 1999. I used a pair of pliers to pull the metal rod back and forth behind the air vents to change between hot and cold. 2 of my 3 current cars (MY05, MY10) have dials. I much prefer the auto climate control of my MY12 vehicle. I never have to fiddle with the HVAC as the temp is always just right and it rerouts the air depending on what it is doing (if it is pumping cool air into the cabin, it defaults to the upper vents, moves to mixed as the inside temp gets near ideal, and uses the floor vents when heating the cabin). My newest car even has temp up and down buttons on the steering wheel should I desire to change the temp. Easy as pie to change. Who knows about long term durability, but it is certainly nice to use because I always feel like I’m adjusting the fan speed in the other cars.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I agree with this one. Auto HVAC that actually works is a wonderful thing. I literally NEVER touch it on my BMW. It is set to 70F and it is perfect summer and winter. My FIAT on the other hand is the opposite extreme. Completely useless, I end up just leaving it off Auto and setting everything manually.

        Ultimately bad design is bad design. Whether it is the ’500 little buttons’ problem or a lousy touch interface makes not a lot of difference.

      • 0 avatar
        SoCalMikester

        Wow… thats exactly how i set it myself. With dials! usually dont need to touch it more than once either.

        Awesome feeling: driving windows down in the winter with the hot air blowing down on the footwell and coming up.

        First felt: Rabbit convertible
        Secondly: MG convertible
        Thirdly: 1998 civic cx
        Lastly: 2006 Scion xA

        all good feelings

    • 0 avatar
      SoCalMikester

      +1! really dont get the “dual” controls fora a smallish cabin

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Don’t drive much with women, I take? :-)

        Whenever I drive with my favorite female traveling companion, there is usually a 10F difference in the temp on her side vs. my side. Works just fine in a 3-series.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Buy a truck.

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    My grandmothers(91 and 97 respectively) both drove and still own mid 90s cars despite having the means to buy something much newer and nicer simply because they work and are easy to see out of and operate.

    One keeps a 1994 Chevy Caprice (LT1 and tow package) garaged and well maintained (her husband was close with the owner of the Chevy dealer and their techs take excellent care of her). It has a rotary climate control and a two-knob radio.

    The other keeps a 1997 Camry stripper – also exceptionally simple to operate. The 97 year old has a computer regularly emails and skypes. The 91 year old is no luddite either.

    Both now are driven rather than drive.

    Coming of age in the Great Depression and WWII focuses the mind on what really matters – cars are for driving, take care of what you own, external image doesn’t matter, and above all be happy you’re alive and reasonably healthy.

    • 0 avatar
      SoCalMikester

      Bravo! Im guessing they email and Skype from home, where it SHOULD be done? obviously…

    • 0 avatar
      Japanese Buick

      This. My answer to the QOTD is that these customers need to buy used luxomobiles from before all this gadgetry was endemic. I’m partial to the LS400, without Nav, myself. Yeah that’s what I drive so maybe I’m biased. I did switch out the head unit for one with Bluetooth but other than that its 1998 level of tech is perfect in every respect, IMO. Just enough but not too much. Big, real, tactile HVAC control buttons. No TV screen.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    I’d consider the stubbornly boxy Crown Sedan a no-frills luxury car. Everything about it oozes stately dignity, without any undue electronic bells and whistles. Talk about no-frills…it doesn’t even have curves!

  • avatar
    BeyondBelief

    At first I assumed “simply laid out for ease of us” and “But I don’t think I’d be on that” were typos, but it actually kinda works.

    Oh…and you kids get offa my lawn!

  • avatar
    DougD

    Agree totally, and I’m only in my 40′s. I’d prefer a car without what Peter Egan called “All the modern inconveniences”

    Ideally I’d like a new MKZ with a straighforward power train 2.5l naturally aspirated four / 5 speed manual. No sat nav, phone or HMI screen, three dials to work the climate control. One button on the steering wheel. horn. beep.

    However I recognize that new car customers (or at least new car focus groups) want technology in their cars, which is why I’ll keep driving my old one when I could afford to buy new.

    • 0 avatar
      SoCalMikester

      some tech is actually ok and easy. 64GB MP3 thumbdrive is better than any 12 disc changer ever. simple radio steering wheel controls is better.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    To me, “luxury” first means quality of design, materials, ride and components, not especially an electronic gadget-laden cocoon. That’s second.

    Oh, yeah – the car has to be reliable, beautiful, functional and actually run very well…

    High-quality upholstery, real wood, real metal – especially knobs, switches and handles, real chromed metal, etc, says “luxury”. Electronic gadgetry is nice, but it can be too much of a good thing, especially if you need an extensive tutorial to learn all the intricacies of a MyTouch, Sync, or some other software. Few have the time or inclination to really learn it.

    I don’t know what the absolute limit on gadgets is, but it differs among people. Me? I wish my 2012 Impala had a touch-screen, for even at 62, I love all the gee-gaws on cars and hate carrying a lot of baggage with me, which is why I seldom use my IPod except on trips or rare commutes. Maybe I need to break down and just change to some sort of smart phone with a data plan that I can put all my music on?

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Hey,

    My 84 year old mother looked at Lincolns when she had her Crown Vic in the shop a few months ago. I don’t know which model she was sitting in, but the salesman told her that she could get that model without the touchscreen. She didn’t like the idea that she should buy a lesser car even though she probably would not operate the touchscreen except for the most basic tasks. I think the salesman realized his mistake too late and lost that sale.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    …lest you become Buick, saddled with a customer base that is literally dying off…

    Holy ass crackers are you kidding me?

    The average Buick buyer is down to age 59. They are the only automotive brand who’s average buyer age is going down. The only one. Lincoln is in at 60 with the oldest buyer demographic. As a reference point, the average Toyota buyer is 52, the average VW buyer is 48.

    Dying off? They are the only company moving the needle on finding increasingly younger buyers. And I know there will be five replies now going, “prove it,” so here you go.

    http://blog.polk.com/blog/blog-posts-by-tom-libby/buick-goes-against-trend-and-attracts-younger-buyers

    The other interesting point in this study. Only 1% of all new car buyers are from age 18 to 24. Just a bit more than 10% of all new car buyers are age 18 to 34. A whopping 67% of new car buyers are 45 or older. That means that when they were born cable TV was rare, rotary phones were common, a microwave was uncommon, forget owning a home computer (to get back on topic of technology laden cars and the older buyer).

    Forty-one percent of car buyers are 55 or over, and these are the people who have money (Gen Y can’t even find a job and is buried in college debt, Gen X has been screwed over). Luxury car makers packing ever more complex infotainment systems is going against the very demographics of their average buyers when you look at WHO is buying cars by age.

    Average Lincoln buyer: 60
    Average Cadillac buyer: 57
    Average Jaguar buyer: 55
    Average Lexus buyer: 55
    Average M-B buyer: 52
    Average Porsche buyer: 51
    Average BMW buyer: 50
    Average Audi buyer: 49 (and I’d venture the A3 and A4 tips that data)
    Industry Average for luxury car purchases: 51

    Fifty-one!

    Building out a complex layered menu system into an 8 inch screen is not going to make the average 51 year old buyer feel warm and fuzzy. Never mind the lack of tactile input, simple issues like declining eyesight makes these systems harder to use.

    I think there is a big missed opportunity, when you look at the data, to provide luxury vehicles that offer the trappings of luxury (heated/ventilated leather seats, heated steering wheel, auto sensing wipers) along with safety technology that helps aging drivers (lane departure warning, backup camera, HID, radar cruise control, auto braking system, auto parallel park system) without offering all of the confusing infotainment system. Just a great sounding AM/FM stereo with a CD player with a USB input and that can play MP3s on disc. Simple, non-configurable gauges. The back up camera view screen integrated into the rearview mirror.

    Detach the tech as part of the luxury options – but still offer the “luxury” trappings.

    Looking at the statistics, a vast majority of car buyers would gravitate to it given the option.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Up until the most recent iteration, BMW would sell you a 3-series just like that (though without all the self-driving nanny crap). And people just whine and complain about how basic they are.

      Folks my age(mid-40s) generally WANT all the infotainment crap on expensive cars (even if most of them never actually use it). You have to get to my Mom’s generation to find the ones who generally don’t. But even then, my 89yo Grandfather just loves that stuff! He would be right at home in the most loaded up technopalace on wheels the Germans could ever create. Go figure.

      • 0 avatar
        SoCalMikester

        Moms loves her that Facebook. Its on the desktop computer, though. At 67 I really dont want her doing that in the car, and neither does she, really. And at 44, I dont do that either.

        All that crap, including texting can wait until the appropriate time.

    • 0 avatar
      SoCalMikester

      +1!!!! im not “old” but i dont need or want a lot, especially if its a distacting touchscreen.

  • avatar
    Syke

    I’ve had the recent experience of voluntarily going back a generation or two in car interiors, having just bartered with my (soon to be ex) sister-in-law for her low mileage ’96 Ford Contour GL which I’m keeping as a daily beater. 2.0 liter four, five speed, A/C, AM/FM/cassette, cruise and power locks. Period.

    Based on my other three cars, plus my girlfriend’s Kia, here’s what I’m missing: Power windows – I tend to drive with the windows down rather than use the A/C (long term biker), and crank windows are a minor inconvenience. Remote door locks – not so much for the convenience of locking/unlocking the car from a distance, but the decreased chance of ever locking my keys in the car.

    Other than that? Nothing.

    I’ve got no problems with electronic controls. As long as the user interface is just as simple as a old manual controls.

    Radio: On/off, volume, band and frequency changing are on top and as intuitive as the old manual controls. Everything else can be buried at the RTFM level, as I only ever set up a radio once in my ownership of the car.

    HVAC: Bring back the three dials, and I don’t have to set my cabin temperature in one degree increments. Actually, that fine a differentiation is counterproductive in most situations. After a few days of driving in the winter, you notice that you’re most comfortable when the temperature dial is set at the 2:00 position. To hell with what degree of temperature that is – you know it works and you set it there.

    Cruise control: On/off, set speed, reset speed. What else do you need? Tapping the brake turns it off momentarily.

    Given how computers can be programmed, what I don’t get is why you can’t have a touch screen (assuming touch screen are inevitable) where the dealer can plug in the gameboy and set your screen up for “Senior Citizen Simplicity” or “Moderate Technical Control” or “Techno-Geek Take Over the Universe”, depending on what level the customer wants to deal with? All choices are no-cost options at delivery, and the customer has the choice of going up or down level depending on how comfortable he/she is with the car.

  • avatar
    April

    While my Mom drives well it is getting tough for her to aim her 2003 Buick Century through the garage door. Plus I’ve seen plenty of big boats with banged up front fenders.

    Simple big cars are not always the solution.

    • 0 avatar
      Summicron

      “Simple big cars are not always the solution.”

      Not when you can’t see out of them. Raise the roof, skinny the pillars, shrink the headrests and square the fenders…. no problems.

      Of course that’ll never happen and we elderly will be the greatest perpetrators of accidents caused by the ergonomic/psycho-sensory tyranny of modern cars.

      • 0 avatar
        April

        Sounds like a pickup would cover most of those specifications.

        • 0 avatar
          Summicron

          Not any more. They’re getting all CAFE’d up and monstrositized like anything else, though with a single-cab they’re the best of the bad choices.

          But does your mom want to drive one?

      • 0 avatar
        afflo

        “ergonomic/psycho-sensory tyranny of modern cars”

        Seriously? If you have owned a car for a reasonable period of time, you should have a good feel for where the corners end. If you’re banging up the boat, get something smaller for a bigger margin of error, or hang up the keys. No WAY should you have to see the fenders to negotiate your way through a garage door.

        The elderly are driving the same cars with the same pillars, fenders, and headrests as the rest of us. If they can’t manage to keep them from brushing, bumping, and grazing other objects, it’s not the fault of the automobile! I hate to sound insensitive, as I know I will be joining the ranks of the elderly eventually, but I hope I have the wisdom to gracefully hang up my keys (or holography automobile ignition device, as the case may be by then) when the time comes.

    • 0 avatar
      SoCalMikester

      How about… cars with a “regular” package, and some with a “tech” package? Ive seen mid-90s Accords otherwise pristine with fender and bumper damage.

  • avatar
    highrpm

    Here comes my Grumpy Old Guy rant…

    I have a smartphone. It has GPS and music. I need an MP3 plug for the audio and a bluetooth for the phone. I don’t need a touch screen in my car.

    As a used car buyer (out-of-warranty), I want the fewest options in my car possible.

    I’m 40 by the way.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Big picture, the no tech luxury car is like the proverbial rear drive, manual, diesel, wagon, something everyone(the best and brightest) claims to want, but no one will ever buy.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Bingo!!!!!

    • 0 avatar
      justgregit

      As someone who drives a manual diesel hatchback (it only came in FWD), I want the no tech luxury car. Apparently you hit the nail on the head. I also learned to drive in a RWD manual minivan (gas), so I’m maybe not the best person to ask.

    • 0 avatar
      afflo

      I would think the Impala would be about the closest there is. Roomy, powerful, but without a lot of power doodads.

      I’ve had a bad experience with a GM vehicle (Sonoma), and come from a pretty die-hard Honda family. I would never picture myself as someone who would buy an Impala, but I got upgraded to one as a rental car, and was genuinely impressed with it.

      Two things stand out in all of the discussion about doodads:

      People want lots of gee-whiz features.
      Gee-whiz features require either a heirarchial menu or lots of buttons.

      The obvious compromise, and another iPhone analogy, is to have easy to operate shortcuts.

      I can easily skip tracks, change the volume, pause, and silence my phone from the lock screen. I can use one button to voice dial.

      Why does a touch screen mean that you can’t still have a few tactile controls to operate basic, frequently used functions?

      - Have 70 different climate control parameters in the menus, but still have the standard three-knob A/C controls to make quick adjustments. Either have those controls feed into more advanced programs, or simiply override the climate control.

      - Have a stereo with lots of menu driven functions, but keep a volume and tuning knob.

      Even better, have a macro function included for the touch screen, so that 5-6 commonly executed strings of commands (switch on all defrosters, run heat and seat heaters, etc.)could be a “home screen” button that the driver labels with “Warm up!” It would require a few hours of personalization, but who DOESN’T spend a few hours with the car in the garage on day one?

      And while we’re on all of this – the automatic shift pattern is standardized to PRNDL. The pedal arrangement is standardized. How about standardizing all the other controls as well? I shouldn’t have to try to figure out where the wipers are when I pick up a rental at night, in the rain, in an unfamiliar city!

      -

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        I had an ’86 Buick Riviera with a touchscreen that functioned like you described. It was easy to use with it’s old DOS green and black screen, but quite multifunctional and easy to learn with redundant manual controls… and this was before anyone had a home PC

      • 0 avatar
        SoCalMikester

        i still use the volume knob on my scion sometimes, because the wheel mounted button isnt all that quick. and im ollllld :(

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Not true. Other than it not being a diesel I put my money where my mouth is and bought about as no-frills a “luxury” car as it was possible to get 2 years ago. RWD, manual transmission BMW station wagon with no iDrive or NAV. No Xenon lights. Has just a stereo with a USB plug, it does have Bluetooth, and I splurged on keyless entry/start. In green, which is the old brown. :-)

      If I could have bought it as a diesel, I certainly would have.

      BUT, if my car had been on a dealer lot it probably would still be sitting there. They sell <50 cars (RWD, manual, wagon, no iDrive) like mine a year in the US. The market has spoken, and they want all that crap.

      @Aflo – if you think the automatic transmission selector is standardized, you have never driven a Prius or much of anything German lately, have you? But I wouldn't mind seeing a little more standardization either.

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    The touch screen stuff is evolving so fast that today’s whiz bang will become tomorrow’s buggy whip in a very short time. Granted, it sells cars. As a consumer, though, it is mostly bullshit. Half of it either doesn’t really work (eg. satnav) or is comically useless (find me a gas station).

  • avatar
    gglockster

    Dealer love the gadgets. The salesman can prove their gadgets go to 11 (remember This is Spinal Tap). The Service Department has a captive audience: who else can diagnose the on-board craptronics. The manufacturer loves them too. It provides a way to distinguish cars without having to take risk and perform real engineering.

    It has gotten to the point that I even find low end rental cars annoying. The last thing I need is after a long flight is to figure out the gadgets on a car in the dark at some rental car location.

    Most recent high end cars are never going to end up as classics because of the failed electronics. Not so much because the hardware isn’t available but because the manufacturer has no reason to share the software. I consider 2003 about the last year for a future classic BMW to have come off the assembly line.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      Mercedes offers factory support for all the cars they have ever made – why do you think that would change?

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        So I can buy a brand new complete wiring harness for all the cars MB made in say 67?
        Just asking, really, if so, that’s amazing.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Basically, yes. If they don’t have the part, they will have it made. However, you might want to be sitting down and have smelling salts handy when they tell you the price. It ain’t cheap! I resurrected a ’79 300TD that spent many years sitting in a barn. I could have bought basically anything I wanted for that car brand new. Some things had a fairly long lead time, or you have to wait until they have enough orders though. BMW is very similar – both have found that supporting the old cars is very, very profitable. For some concrete numbers, the aluminum trim that goes in the windshield gasket was readily available. It was ~$350. Which really sucked for the windshield place that ruined two sets of it trying to install the windshield, and ended up paying MB to do it correctly.

          • 0 avatar
            SoCalMikester

            which im surprised the dealer could do! most techs there were probably born since then :)

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            I know! And the thing was, the kids that did the work at MB were in their 20s, and did a PERFECT job, while the guys at SafeLite were in their 50s! I guess the old guys couldn’t RTFM.

            I don’t think there is any big secret in how to do it, I think they just didn’t know how! They obviously tried to hammer it in place, which does not work so well with a delicate strip of aluminum. I couldn’t believe they gave the car back to me in the shape they did – it was utterly mangled.

  • avatar
    iantm

    I’m admittedly a young chap. I work full time in IT and part time as a mechanic. I consider myself to be quite tech savvy. That said, I’m not super fond of in car tech. It took me months to learn iDrive when I was working at the BMW dealer for example. When it came time for me to get something more indulgent, comfortable, and practical than my existing Ford Focus – I went with the closest thing BMW had – the first generation X3 without nag. I love it!

  • avatar
    SC5door

    When my Mom decided to buy her Soul it pretty much had the requirement of having the touchscreen with UVO & backup camera.

    Granted the climate controls are still simple (not the automatic option), and the touch screen is limited (but includes the reverse camera), but it’s a huge step from the basic radio she had before. I’m pretty sure her next purchase will have even more technology in it.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    I’m in my mid-30′s, but I personally hate touch screens for anything beyond the stereo. I had a Lexus ES350 rental, and I concur the “mouse” system makes me run in the other direction.

    BTW, have you ever priced out what those touch screens cost to replace? On a new Lexus LS model, it’s around $7,000 new (just for the part) from the dealer. And don’t tell me they never break.

    I like “basic” luxury cars, I’ve never understood the preoccupation with “gadgets”, but I guess that’s because I rarely buy new and I worry about repair costs.

    I currently drive a Lexus LS430, and it’s sort of the last of the big luxury cars without all of the crazy nonsense.

  • avatar
    hp

    When I was in the business, no one really ever complained about the technology…

    The guy who buys an S-Class, usually had an S-Class before, or an E, or if not an MB, a 7 series or a 5. ect.

    Technology has evolved and the people buying these vehicles don’t just go from a 1992 honda civic manual to a 2013 MB S550.

    They know more than you think they do. The crowd buying $50-120k cars are usually educated, and if not formally educated, they are smart. Someone may say, NOPE, I know so and so… I know lottery winners/athletes/trust fund babies who came in, but they were far from the normal client (and they all could work a comand system just fine)

    • 0 avatar
      SoCalMikester

      There are a lot of older people that have never had a german car, or an “upscale” car for that matter. theyre coming out of something like a 2001 corolla, and test driving cars. some might have money, might (think they) want to move “up”

  • avatar
    ccode81

     My almost 20 years old Alfa has latest Pioneer Satnav installed to a place where it originally had DIN cassette player.
    It does connect to smart grid server and continuously reroute to the most quickest route with less traffic, tells wether at destination, suggest available parking, tells cheapest gas stand around, displays what front and rear camera sees, connect to iPhone, even able to display youtube or video contents, of course has a digital TV tuner which i never use, and so on.
    Nothing to envy newest cars from info tech perspective, and when time comes that outdated, I’ll replace with another latest one to that magical DIN slot.
    The recent cars with specific designed interface that would be hard to do any aftermarket upgrade worries me the whole car will be un useful way before the mechanic failure. and that is a sad thing…
    Mazda, at least in Japan nowadays ship car out of factory with rear view camera, steering wheel switches installed as standard, but without any audio equipment connecting them. it is just open slot of double DIN. audios are all dealer options, or you can fit in what ever you want from after market. another reason to respect this manufacture from philosophy perspective.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    FWIW, I’m over 50 and I like the much maligned MyFordTouch. I am hopeful for upgrades allowing complex voice commands, but I never had any voice command before. The default 4-part screen does a good job at guessing the the information that I want at a glance. Having AM/FM,Sirius, USB, Bluetooth, and Line-in options is very nice, and I’ve used all of them.

  • avatar
    justgregit

    Forget being 80 years old. I’m 29, and if I were to buy a luxury car, I would want it to be low tech.

    My fiance’s dad has a 10 year old Town Car where the technology I think stops at a CD player and some of those buttons on the door you can use as a code to unlock it, and I’m pretty sure its exactly what I want to drive when I get older. I currently drive a 2010 Golf TDI and I can’t stand the touchscreen radio, and fortunately the seat controls are manual, except for the stupid one that adjusts the angle which for some reason is electric. Its annoying and dumb.

    At the same time I want leather seats. Other than that, I’m happy to have electric locks and mirrors, because those are a pain to use, and I like seatwarmers when it gets cold. I have a smartphone and a tablet, and no desire to use either in the car. Maybe I’m an exception, rather than the rule, but I would still go for this.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      I’m 29, and if I were to buy a luxury car

      But, you aren’t are you?

      • 0 avatar
        justgregit

        Since you chose to be snide I can provide further context.

        I mention my age only because it is assumed sub 30 year olds love technology.

        Regarding my shopping for a luxury car; my fiance and I have a combined income of over $150k annually, and are career path professionals with no kids or debt currently. I know many people in similar situations (though lower income) than myself who purchase luxury cars, and I could easily afford one if I desired.

        That being said, the tech is part of the reason I don’t own one. I don’t want to spend more money for stuff I don’t want. I do want some luxury amenities (seats, well designed interior, etc), but don’t want the touch screens and that garbage.

        I’m not trying to brag about my situation, only to correct your assumption that I’m some poor kid who can’t afford a luxury car. Its well within our means, just not something we want. Its not just old people who don’t like tech everywhere.

    • 0 avatar
      SoCalMikester

      steering wheel radio controls are nice. i welcome those, fo sho.

      • 0 avatar
        justgregit

        Agree. Also, I really like automatic climate control. In my Golf its a dial and I just keep it set to 72 year round. Best of both worlds, manual control, automatic adjustment.

        Also a big fan of trip computer, and safety features. One thing I wish my car had (but doesn’t) is Adaptive Cruise Control. I’m a big fan of cruise control but live in Colorado where people regularly drive 10-20 miles under the speed limit so you are constantly adjusting it.

        I’m not a luddite, I like plenty of technology, just not as interfaces. There are plenty of times something analog does a better job. I prefer the technology hidden where it improves the driving experience, not where its intended to distract from it.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    At 27 years old, put me in with the geezer crowd. One reason I bought a Mustang over the Focus was I couldn’t figure out the radio on the focus. Way too much going on there, and the Mustang actually had a knob for tuning in stations! It just seemed more proper.

    I’ve had two Chrysler “Limited” products. The Jeep I have now has all the Luxury I want- heated leather seats, power adjustable, some nicer interior bits, etc. without a bunch of crap that I don’t.

    I get in a car to drive somewhere. This new stuff makes no sense to me….

    • 0 avatar
      justgregit

      +1. “Luxury” for me means quality (quality interior, build, performance) not gadgets. You can get tech junk in an entry level econobox box. I don’t know that its even a differentiator anymore, and yet you can’t get premium stuff without it. If anything I feel like going up market you could differentiate by NOT having that stuff.

      • 0 avatar
        ttacgreg

        I was going to put this point down as a freestanding comment, but I think it merits being a follow-up to yours.
        My mind luxury is superb quality materials superb handling superb engineering superb isolation and quiet superb comfort all of the basic things car is, as close to perfection and highest quality possible.

        There’s kind of an arms race going on for gadgetry. When I bought my 2000 Corolla I marveled at the number of things it had that back when I was young in the 60s , only the top-of-the-line luxury cars had, not to mention all kinds of stuff it has that didn’t even exist in ant vehicles, much rather luxury cars in the 1960s.

        Automakers are trapped into having to out do econo boxes with more “features”

        To my mind the definition of a luxury car hardly includes a machine that offers extreme operational complexity, and a lengthy list of features , of which less than 10% will ever be used routinely.

        • 0 avatar
          SoCalMikester

          When youre that old? Materials, isolation and comfort would be first.

          Handling? not so much or youd intentionally be driving something more sporty.

          That said, almost all cars handle “well” these days, compared to the land yachts of the malaise era.

          Japan still knows to make a Barcalounger car. They just dont sell em here.

      • 0 avatar
        SoCalMikester

        welcome to “economies of scale” sadly

  • avatar
    Scribe39

    So, I’m old, I’m cranky and I think most of the stuff in the new cars is junk that should not even be there. You are supposed to be driving, and paying attention to that, not all the gee-whiz stuff that belongs in a place where you are not in motion.

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    Pretty much all the car makers seem intent on packing as much technology as possible in every ride at every price point in their products. This is why I hear rumors of $30k Ford Focuses.

    I want a luxury car made out of high quality materials. Buttery soft leather…real wood…doors that thunk shut like a bank vault. A ride in which when I hit a pot hole, not a single thing creaks or rattles. Controls? Simple, reliable, pleasing to the touch. A turn signal stock that feels like it was milled out of solid piece of metal. Windows tht swoosh down nearly silently. I want it to last forever with good maintenance.

    Unfortunately, even with a very decent income, my household cannot afford a Bentley or a Rolls. Other manufacturers could do this at a much lower price point if they spent the money they use to develop all this electronic doo dads into overall build quality.

    I did test drive a bast model Hyundai Genesis last weekend and thought it was a screaming deal for the money. Probably going to give that one a second look.

  • avatar
    CarPerson

    Hell YES! to a “no-frills” luxury car!

    I’m mid-60s, far from dead, and richer than snot. I want a 2-door sport coupe like I have always driven since age 19.

    No car manufacturer will sell me a car with nice safety and convenience options without first shoving a sun/moon roof down my throat. The Infinity G37 is the most egregious example of this. You don’t get jack unless you first bend over and take a hole in the roof.

    I’ve narrowed my upcoming purchase to a BMW 335i and Audi A5. Yes, I will end up paying a custom shop to cut the roof out of it and replace it with a solid roof. My offer on the car will include a 2X reduction of the sun/moon roof option cost. Yes, the dealer will participate in the removal of that gawd-awful option being perpetrated on the car-buying public.

    Trunk “spoilers” are another piece of crap I have zero tolerance for.

    18 years ago I had to special-order the car and have it built specially for me to get rid of the “optional” sun roof and truck spoiler. My name is on the window sticker.

    Have we not made any progress getting rid of the crap “options” these past 18 years???

  • avatar
    Offbeat Oddity

    I agree that there’s way too much tech in cars today. I’m not interested in touch screens or voice commands to operate simple controls- besides, touch screens accumulate fingerprints and must be a pain to keep clean. I’d rather have richer leather, more solid doors, and more attention spent to the build quality of the vehicle.

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    Wssnt GM supposed to offer a car for “every purse and purpose”? Seems like the luxe grampamobile has been left to what? Avalon?

    Get on your game, Big3! Aside from big trucks, this used to be your home territory. People that are scheduled to die in 20-30 yrs need a dignified last ride to comfortably haul them until the great divide.

    Need i mention taxis, cops, and other fleet providers?

  • avatar
    oldyak

    As a 60+ year old I can see a number of technologies I could use in a Luxury car…
    ABS
    Lane departure assist
    tire inflation monitors
    Stability controls
    but how about better head lights???
    interior lights that stay on until you get in the house
    Remote start is nice
    I like trip computers!!
    If I am taking a trip I buy a map or go to AMA for a trip tic!
    I like the Onstar crash alert!!
    a nice audio system that doesn’t take your attention from the road!!!
    All the other “gizmos”…ha.ha I like that, are for someone with no desire to drive!!
    and have nothing to do with driving a car safely and comfortably at good speed..high speed is better!!
    Just my 2 cents

  • avatar
    MadHungarian

    Interestingly, the pictured dash is not quite the no frills version! That’s a 2006-ish Town Car with the navigation and touch screen audio OPTIONAL setup — the one that maybe five buyers ordered, given how entirely impossible it is to find one if you shop used TC’s today. Ask me how I know. I’m somewhat curious whether it is possible to swap the unit into a car not originally equipped with one (like my ’05 TC) without too much drama. Of course, that would require me to find a unit to install. Somewhere in the late 2000′s Ford took it off the options list, I guess around the time they gave up any pretensions of marketing the TC to retail buyers.

  • avatar

    Don’t know what the author is talking about. I have two 70 plus y/o relatives. They just bought a 535ix with all electronics. The ONLY thing they have been unable to do is get one of the phones to read emails to them. Everything else is working.

    Of course, he is a science PHd, and has no problem RTFM, twice, if need be.

  • avatar
    redav

    I’m not in the over-45 demographic, but I have no interested in all the gee-whiz gizmos & gadgetry. I can now afford some luxury, and I’m willing to buy it, but I do not associate electronics with luxury.

    It seems luxury car makes have run out of ideas to differentiate their product and so instead rely on tech do-dads and Moore’s Law. Considering the value sheeple give to ‘shiny & new,’ that’s probably their best business strategy, though. However, while I can always not buy a new Cadillac, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find new cars without touch screens, cluttered controls, and other ‘extras’ that fail to improve the car.

    • 0 avatar
      afflo

      “I’m not in the over-45 demographic, but I have no interested in all the gee-whiz gizmos & gadgetry. I can now afford some luxury, and I’m willing to buy it, but I do not associate electronics with luxury.”

      I know what you mean… except I’m not willing to buy it! It seems that as my income level has gone up, the level that I consider “BMW” money goes up more. When I was making $40K a year as a sole breadwinner, double that seemed like a luxury sedan would be a drop in the bucket. Now with a family income at over three times that, I find that I would much rather keep more money in my pocket.

      My tC is the perennial whipping-boy on here (which seems to have more to do with Scion’s advertising mixed with the usual Toyota-hate), but the car is simple, enjoyable to drive, offers a good mix of versatility (usable back seat, hatch and fold-flat cargo area for junk-hauling, compact parking, and great on the highway – I’ve driven it coast to coast) with low cost, and it should be a long-term reliable product. A/C is three knobs, and the temperature ones control the vanes and valves directly, rather than using servos. The seat is manual, so no power seat motors to go out*. The transmission is a manual, so it should be long lasting. The biggest threats are other drivers (and it’s been 10 years since I’ve been in a crash), and possibly road salt if I move from Texas back to the snowbelt.

      It’s two years old, paid off, and I don’t plan on replacing it until 2020 at the earliest.

      I still love cars, and I do get a bit drooly when I look at a new 3-series, but there’s no way I’d want to give up international travel, nightlife, entertaining friends, weekend getaways, etc., for my car. I also, of course, have my motorcycle for additional backroads fun.

      Being debt free (and my fiance as well!) is more fun than a luxury sedan!

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Don’t have kids and you can have all that and a 3-series too. And maybe an Abarth and some old crocks on the side just for fun.

        Also helps to still live in the house you bought on that 40K single income. I really don’t get trading up houses, or the ridiculous size of houses that people want these days. House size inflation is waaaay worse than car size inflation. My house is 1200sq/ft, and the family I bought it from raised 6 kids in it. I have two whole rooms I don’t use (and I have a roommate), yet people think they need 4000sq/ft starter castles for a coupe with no kids??

        “you kids get off my lawn”

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Many people look at their homes as investment vehicles. There’s nothing wrong with buying just one house and living in it for the rest of your life, if your circumstances allow you to do that.

          For many in the military, or the upwardly mobile and those on the move, staying in one place simply is not a viable option.

          My wife was a real estate broker/agent from 1985 – 2012 with the real estate brokerage business her family owned until they retired and sold it.

          For many people trading up not only means better, more modern accommodations, it also means an increase in their net worth.

          Selling an older home also allows the less fortunate to buy a house and live the American dream.

        • 0 avatar
          azmtbkr81

          I wanted a 1200 sq ft. house with a 3 car garage…unfortunately this combination proved impossible to find.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            It’s not impossible, but the house is usually on top of the garage. That exact house (stacked 3-car garage and 1200sf house) came up on the market here about a year ago. If it comes up again, I’m bagging it.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            I lucked out. The very first house I looked at, I bought. 1200sq/ft house, 3700sq/ft *6* car garage. Cheap too, I paid what it would have cost to build the garage, and got a house for free basically.

            The problem is that when you have a 6 car garage, you tend to have a tendency to fill it with cars… 3-4 cars is a hobby, 6 cars is hard work.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            A lot of people either built the house they want themselves or have someone built it to their specs.

            One retired guy who moved to my area from NJ had a home built to his specs in my area a couple of years ago.

            He’s a car-nut too and wanted two dual garages for his collectibles and one large garage for his RV.

            He chose to do the internal finishing himself after he had the shell of the house built. Turned out real nice.

  • avatar

    How about just a no-frills LARGE car? These days, you can’t get a large car without it also being a luxury car. Back in the day, you could get a full sized Chevy Biscayne or a Ford Custom pretty cheap because it didn’t have what was considered luxury items. They had crank windows, rubber floor mats instead of carpet, manual steering and brakes, plain bench seats, manual transmissions, etc.

    True, much of that wouldn’t fly today, but whatever happened to the large, cheap sedan?

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    I am no luddite, but I belive simple is better.

    The controls for each component should be as straightforward as possible, depending on the controls function. For example, climate control is fine with knobs, but the navigation should be through an MMI or touch screen.

  • avatar
    don1967

    Dang, this speaks to me.

    The clearance-priced Veracruz we bought last year has the complexity (and sex appeal) of an Amish ox cart. Forget about all-wheel-drive, sunroof, NAV, internet connectivity or cooled seats. Heck, it doesn’t even have power seats. Just a big silent engine, hushed cabin, plush materials, and bank-vault construction that feels like it will last forever.

    I hope that no-frills luxury makes a comeback in the car business, but for now it seems that over-styled sheet metal and shiny-plastic interiors full of electronic distractions rule the marketplace.

  • avatar
    Power6

    This is always the Marketing mantra…younger buyers, customers are dying off.

    Aren’t there plenty of aging folks behind them to replace the customers, in fact isn’t the population aging in the US as a whole. They should be going after the growing old people demographic!

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    [quote]The controls for each component should be as straightforward as possible, depending on the controls function. For example, climate control is fine with knobs, but the navigation should be through an MMI or touch screen.[/quote]

    This. +1. These guys don’t need Apple or Microsoft to do this though. Many car makers do a nice job..(And FWIW I have had great results with BOTH Microsoft and Apple – all the people who can’t make Windows work -PEBKAC).

    What the article writer doesn’t get is that modern cars HAVE TO HAVE these features. Or they WILL NOT sell. It’s like asking a woman what they like about men.. You just are not going to get the straight story one what sells cars by talking with a few older folks..

    They might CLAIM they don’t want this or that – but its what people really want and care about nowadays. If you really can’t make it work – trying reading the manual or asking the dealer. Its really not that complicated..


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States