Tag: interior

By on July 15, 2011

Unintended acceleration has been a huge topic in automotive circles over the last year or so, as the Toyota Recall Scandal brought new attention to that man-machine-interface problem. But did you know Mercedes has been receiving its own complaints about UA? Neither did we, as a post-Toyota Recall survey of NHTSA complaints showed Mercedes enjoying one of the lowest rates of UA complaints of all manufacturers. But, reports WardsAuto, the problem was indeed real.

Just about anyone who has driven a Mercedes-Benz in the past decade has experienced it: unintended sudden acceleration because of awkward placement of the cruise-control stalk on the left side of the steering wheel.

A driver may think he is signaling to turn right, when inadvertently he has pushed the cruise control lever upward to the “accel” position, occasionally sending the vehicle bolting forward instead of slowing down to turn at an intersection. This could happen if the cruise control was on but not active.

Left turns were somewhat less problematic because pushing the lever downward put the cruise-control system into “decel” mode.

(Read More…)

By on July 15, 2011

I don’t know about you, but I’m finding the “analog clock=luxury” thing a bit played out. One upon a time, the old-school interior clock was everywhere… and folks called it a modern convenience. Then it became a genteel, slightly throwback Maserati hallmark. Then it became a symbol of Infiniti’s admiration for Maseratis, and its desire to stand apart in the luxury market. Then Chryslers started adding clocks as it moved, unconvincingly, to position itself upmarket. Now? Now the interior chronograph just seem to be a symbol of trying to hard to appear luxurious without really offering anything unique, distinctive, or innovative. Which is why I’m a bit concerned that an early shot of the new Lexus GS, a car that has years of underachievement in a crucial segment to make up for, seems to show that Lexus has succumbed to the siren call of the dashboard clock.

To the best of my knowledge, Lexus has never indulged in an analog dash clock before (at least in the US market), as its interiors have always been modern and purposeful, emphasizing function over frippery. This isn’t a question of “ruining” the car itself… few customers are likely to put as much emphasis on an analog clock as I do. But in this small step I do see signs of a brand drifting away from its pioneering roots and towards the directionless malaise that inevitably leads to fad-chasing, and style over substance. Even if Lexus does need to reinvigorate its aesthetic DNA, ripping of the cheesiest “Luxury: I Has It” signifier in the interior design playbook ain’t a promising start. Don’t clock up a good thing, Lexus!

By on April 12, 2011

When I reviewed the current Chevrolet Malibu, I was generally impressed with GM’s effort in a highly competitive segment, but I had a few complaints. One of those complaints had to do with the ‘bu’s back bench, which prompted me to note

the rear seats seem like almost an afterthought compared to the well-appointed front row. Low seat height, a relatively narrow bench and unsupportive seating make for a poor combination

With images of an updated Malibu making the rounds of the blogosphere, and the Detroit News reporting that its production has been pulled ahead by six months by the order of Dan Akerson, you might think GM had taken the opportunity to improve the Malibu’s second-row shortcomings. But, according to Automotive News [sub]’s product editor, Rick Kranz, it seems that GM has done the opposite of improve rear-seat interior space… because of yet another of the ‘bu’s shortcomings.

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By on August 19, 2010

Jeep has released the first pictures of its next refreshed product, the 2011 Jeep Wrangler, but the changes don’t exactly jump out. That’s because, besides a new body-color hardtop and five new exterior colors, the changes have all taken place on the inside. You know, where they’re most needed. Have they done the job? Hit the jump for the first peek…

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By on March 24, 2010

For a moment, turn away from the uncertain prospects of Chrysler’s Fiat-directed future and consider the subject of this review as nothing other than one entry in the popular five-door hatchback segment of the North American compact car market.

That’s what I had to do, anyway, in order to rationalize driving and writing about a vehicle that a lot of folks would justifiably consider to be a loser car from a loser car company. The question is, is it really?

(Read More…)

By on March 15, 2010

Just as Toyota has coasted in recent years on a reputation built some time ago, Audi’s latest round of interior-cheapening has gone largely unremarked-upon in the motoring press. Sitting in the new A4, I don’t find myself thinking, as Motor Trend did, that its “high-quality materials and clean, attractive design continue to live up to Audi’s stellar reputation as the industry benchmark.” In fact, the interiors of nearly every current Audi (except the A8 and TT) strike me as cheap, disappointing and monumentally uninspired. In other words, the opposite of living up to Audi’s reputation.

(Read More…)

By on November 11, 2009

Ryv asks:

Whenever I read a TTAC car review or read comments I see nothing but complaints of hard plastics and ill fits. It made me wonder, is there some ideal vehicle interior out there being held as the standard to all others? I sat in a Lamborghini Gallardo at last years NAIAS and thought the suede covered dash looked ridiculous – but thats probably the opposite of the hard plastics people complain about. Maybe I am just interior challenged that I don’t notice these things but unless my dash is peeling, and as long as it’s pretty intuitive control wise, it’s appealing. So what is the benchmark interior, the standard that all interiors should strive towards?

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