By on April 1, 2010

Hyundai has announced that its Equus luxury sedan will launch with a “multimedia tablet” (widely speculated to be an Apple iPad) instead of an owners manual. Not only would a tablet be easier to navigate (in theory) than a giant manual, it would also allow owners to schedule maintenance right from the car. Is this the end of the owner’s manual as we know it?

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

31 Comments on “Owner’s Manual DOA?...”

  • avatar
    Ken Magalnik

    That is brilliant marketing!

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    The car is absolutely nasty looking. But this is a very good idea. Congrats Apple. Hyundai, please redesign this monstrosity.

    • 0 avatar

      Beauty’s in the eye of the beholder, and I can’t help staring at this car, it’s so beautiful. But that usually happens when you like a particular category (in my case, a fullsize luxury sedan) of car.

      Has anyone thought of putting the owner’s manual in the navigation screen? There’s no need for a device that can be separated from the car.

  • avatar

    Ummmmm……. Maybe in a decade or two but not really quickly. I mean I don’t expect them to throw in an iPad if I’m buying a used Fiesta a decade from now and need the owners manual.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert Schwartz

      Tech products seldom come with complete manuals anymore. If you want them, you download the info from the manufacturers web site.

    • 0 avatar

      It was not always so. In the PC world and up through DOS 5, large detailed manuals were typically part of the package. When DOS 6 arrived the manual was thinned down–6x had some configuration scripts you could run in order to gain a bit more memory, and they did a good job for the most part. Win 3x also had a detailed manual. Of course these items required a familiarity with command line arguments in order to get them to work very well, so nothing was superfluous. By the time 95 arrived it was all supposed to be point and click anyhow, and now with the Internet everything is on line somewhere. That being said, I usually read the book that comes with my car, but lately it is so full of idiot “the plastic bag is not a toy” nanny state warnings, what’s the point?

  • avatar

    Very few people read them in paper form.
    I expect the owner’s manual will be available on the display built-in to the dash (not for reading while driving) – but this keeps the manual with the car. It may also have an audio only version searchable by voice command.
    I worked in the consumer electronics industry. Manuals went from a major (expensive) production to huge sheets of paper (in 8 languages). I hated them. But the driving force was the cost and the fact that no one consulted them. We had to have a customer support telephone line to answer questions.

  • avatar

    What happens when the I-Pad breaks? A paper manual is old-hat but it is forever.

    • 0 avatar

      Except if you lose it or accidentally set fire to it, for example. Though I like the direction of the electronic manual, why not just provided it in pdf form on an SD card and then people can use it in whatever device they want or have.

    • 0 avatar


      You can just as easily do that with an I-Pad and I guarantee it will cost a lot more to replace than the paper book. Agreed, however, that a PDF production capabability is the way to go.

  • avatar

    VW has had an “interactive owner’s manual” on CD-ROM for ages. The only problem: You had to play it on a PC.

    I asked “So, someone breaks down in the middle of nowhere, and they whip out that CD-ROM, and go looking for a computer???”

    The answer was: “Bertel, it’s the future.”

    I’m glad the future is finally here, some 10 years later.

  • avatar

    Great idea… the first thing I always do is obtain a PDF copy of my manual. But a whole tablet? Seems to me that a USB stick on a keychain, with a self-booting application, would be more in keeping with the high-tech/efficiency theme.

    • 0 avatar

      I think that the multimedia tablet has less to do with high tech/efficiency and more to do with novelty/exclusivity. It’s the perfect delivery method for the driver who will rarely access the info in the manual but likes to show off. Unless the tablet directly communicated and interacted with the vehicle, it’s more gimmick than godsend.

  • avatar

    I hope this makes find user manuals for cars much easier in the future too. Although, I don’t think that the iPad manual will be making it into a Kia anytime soon.

  • avatar

    Oh joy, yet another menu that has nothing to do with ordering dinner.

  • avatar

    guessing that it won’t be an Ipad as a couple of Korean electronics companies already have iPad-like devices and I can’t imagine Apple giving any company a bulk discount.

  • avatar

    $500 dollar owners manuals that no one will want to give up when the car goes off lease or w/e? Not this decade at least.

  • avatar

    As smartphones become more and more ubiquitous, I see no reason manufacturers are going to throw a pad device in with your car purchase.

    They’ll synch with you device, or give you a media card, or perhaps the whole thing moves to the cloud (which I think is most likely).

    I just somehow doubt changing the media will get any more people to RTFM than do now.

  • avatar

    I don’t care how awesome the car is – I just can’t own a vehicle whose name I will always assocate with horse torture and a naked daniel radcliffe.

  • avatar
    Uncle Mellow

    Must be an April Fools joke. The car has a lifespan of 10-30 years , an I-pad is not going to last more than 5.

  • avatar

    Owners’ manuals do not need another device, just an interactive web site. All you need is a browser — PC, Apple, smart phone etc. Download and print out a pdf if need be.


  • avatar

    There is already an iphone app called gas buddy where you can store all of your maintenance records/schedules. That makes more sense to me because you can set those up as reminders instead of pulling the manual out of the car to see when stuff is due.

    BTW, on Toyotas w/ navigation, you can already store your maintenance reminders and whatnot on the Nav system. It is on a 2005 Avalon we have as a pool vehicle. Always thought it was a pretty good idea.

  • avatar

    Great, an Owner’s “Manual” that 99% of owners will ignore and will cost the manufacturer a hundred times more to produce than the current paper Owner’s Manual. Seems like a reasonable added cost/increase in price.

  • avatar

    I miss my lay-flat, mustard stained, dawg-eared SSI software manuals.

  • avatar

    A Hyundai for $60K? Its going to take more then a free iPad to draw customer’s for this.

    Paper manuals are not going away, they are just getting smaller. Soon they’ll be only one page long with instructions on how to download the real manual from a website ;)

  • avatar

    I didn’t think plastic-encased electronic devices with batteries (rechargeable or not) would do too well kept in a glove box. But then again, I guess a lot of cars are now essentially plastic-encased electronic devices, and they can handle temperature extremes. More seriously, are there many owner-serviceable parts in current cars for the owner’s manual to be used to help diagnose and fix a problem?

  • avatar

    Just wait. As part of the warranty Roadside Assistance Plan there’ll be a port to connect your wireless device so that the Centre can get the thrown codes. Before the truck ever gets there they’ll have all the necessary modules and info to fix the nonrunner. Once the warranty period ends, look out!

  • avatar

    I have some of my manuals in PDF form. Since 2002. I keep a copy on my desktop and on a smartphone. The phone has an 854×480 3.7 in screen and I have no problems reading the manual.

    The big advantage is that if I’m away from the cars, it’s easy to look something up without going to the car to retrieve the manual. It’s especially handy if you get a call from a family member that’s on the road and has a question. It’s never happened, but if it does, I have the electronic copy ready to go.

  • avatar

    Thats a great idea. I keep a .pdf copy of my car’s manual, along with some of the machines from work on my laptop. Much easier and more efficient than searching by hand through a stack of dusty paper manuals.

Read all comments

Recent Comments

  • Detroit-Iron: F1, like the IOC, supports slave labour, human rights abuses, and validating dictators and other...
  • mcs: One of the things they discovered about the effectiveness of conventional masks with kids is that it kept them...
  • kcflyer: I did find it interesting that the n95 filters particles smaller than the openings in the mask by magicly...
  • kcflyer: at Arthur Dailey. Thanks for the links. Very helpful in general but none addresed my specific question as...
  • ToolGuy: @mcs, Do you think he got the promotion because he drove the “right” vehicle? If...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber