QOTD: Screens or Knobs?

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

I wrote yesterday that we need a truce among car people when it comes to interior design -- specifically, knobs vs screens -- and I told you folks that, generally speaking, I prefer a mix of the two.

Now it's your turn.

Are you someone who loves screens? Someone who hates them and prefers knobs? Are you like me and prefer a mix? What about haptic touch?

Based on the comments from the op-ed yesterday, I think I know how this might go. But I wanted to ask anyway -- especially for those folks who missed the post yesterday and want to speak up here.

Sound off below.

[Image: Jeep]

Become a TTAC insider. Get the latest news, features, TTAC takes, and everything else that gets to the truth about cars first by  subscribing to our newsletter.

Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

More by Tim Healey

Join the conversation
6 of 49 comments
  • Bob65688581 Bob65688581 on Mar 09, 2023

    Touch screens make cars less expensive to manufacture.

    So... we get screens. Car companies don't really care what consumers think.

    • JMII JMII on Mar 09, 2023

      "Car companies don't really care what consumers think."

      See also: piano black interior trim.

      Maybe the OEMs have stock in microfiber cloth companies because they know you need one to remove all the dust and fingerprints.

  • Tankinbeans Tankinbeans on Mar 09, 2023

    Honestly, I find the system in my Mazda to be about perfect. Physical buttons and knobs for HVAC stuff, menus for lesser used functions and the rotary turny-button thing, with clearly defined detents, to navigate those menus. The duplications of common radio functions on the steering wheel are nice.

    The common complaint that you can't choose a radio station from the steering wheel doesn't bother me because I hardly listen to the terrestrial radio. Instead I'm listening to podcasts or Pandora via Android Auto. The few things I need to say at Mrs. Google work well enough.

    • DungBeetle62 DungBeetle62 on Mar 10, 2023

      Another happy Mazda owner here. If it's something I'll need while on the freeway at speed (HVAC, lights, volume, station switching, wipers, seat heaters), I want a knob or button I can hit while keeping full concentration on driving. If it's a setting I'll need some thought and attention to change and shouldn't be futzing with while driving (station programming, sound quality, inputting a Nav destination).

      On every car with the do-everything screen I can't help wondering what happens in 25 years when that ride is tired out and on its 3rd or 4th owner in the dodgy part of town. It's gonna make more sense to junk the car than replace a proprietary part like that (if it's even still available by then).

  • Da Coyote Da Coyote on Mar 09, 2023

    Being a retired USAF type, the planes now have a compromise: screens, but with real buttons along the edge so that the pilot can have a tactile sense when activating the function. One of the things we had to do before becoming fully checked out was a "blindfold cockpit check" where you had to locate important controls while blindfolded. Not doing that with a touch sensative screen only). I consider a "screen only" control (such as the Tesla - which is still a darned impressive car) to be an ergonomic low point. So much for my 2c worth.

  • 3SpeedAutomatic 3SpeedAutomatic on Mar 11, 2023

    Would prefer a knob of some type, especially for radio and A/C.

    As for the transmission, I prefer a shift handle (hand shaker), not a turn knob .