The main controls for Audio and Climate will continue to be physical buttons and dials.
All functions will be moved to a touchscreen once level 4 autonomous driving arrives.
The automaker says this decision is to improve safety.
Automakers have been moving more and more controls into their vehicle’s infotainment touchscreen over the last few years and this trend is not likely to be reversed anytime soon.
Indeed, in addition to looking more modern and luxurious, touchscreens and minimalist interiors are also cheaper to manufacture since they don’t require as much wiring and engineering as traditional buttons.
On the other hand, touchscreens don’t provide the same level of feedback as buttons and dials, and the many controls they contain usually require a number of driver inputs to operate.
This takes away from the increasing safety of new vehicles by distracting the driver for longer periods of time.
This is why Hyundai says it will keep the main controls for its vehicle’s audio and climate control systems, those with which the driver interacts the most, as physical switches and dials for many years to come, bucking the industry trend.
The automaker is backed up in its claim that buttons are safer than screens in cars by a few recent studies.
A Test Proves that Touch Screens are not as Good as Buttons in Cars
Indeed, a test Performed by a Swedish car magazine last year showed that an older car with fully physical controls allows the driver to perform a set of tasks faster than a new vehicle equipped with a touchscreen, thus keeping distraction to a minimum.
This shouldn’t be surprising since touch screens are similar to phones, which have been made illegal to use while driving in many states and provinces in a bid to reduce driver distraction.
Of course, once autonomous driving systems get more and more advanced, the advantage of physical buttons won’t be relevant anymore.
Hyundai is aware of this and the company has said that once its vehicles receive level 4 capable autonomous driving systems, it will look at integrating all of the controls into its touchscreens and creating simpler interiors.
This is not for a few years still, however, and buyers should expect to continue seeing buttons and dials in new Hyundai vehicles, such as the recently unveiled 2024 Kona, for a while.