Most distracting car infotainment systems

We put 20 cars’ infotainment systems and air-con controls to the test 
to see how distracting they are for drivers to operate on the move...

Infotainment test Honda CR-V

15. Honda CR-V with 7.0in touchscreen, Honda Connect and Garmin navigation

Score 18/30

Infotainment test Honda CR-V

Honda provides dials for adjusting the air-con temperature and buttons for the fan, all of which are easy to locate and use. 

You can zoom out on the sat-nav map only by pinching it with your fingers, and it isn’t very precise, although the screen itself is reasonably responsive, especially in the high sensitivity setting.

Ending guidance involves just two steps, but the radio stations are grouped in ensembles, so you have to come out of one and go into another to get to Radio 4. It also takes focus to hit the right area of the screen, and the touch-sensitive shortcuts are fiddly. 

You need to say a specific command to get the voice control to go into the navigation menu, then choose petrol stations and then pick one. It doesn’t beep after you’ve spoken, so you can spend quite a bit of time glancing at the screen to see if it’s responding.

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14. Nissan Juke with Nissan Connect

Score 19/30

Nissan Juke infotainment touchscreen

There are nice, big buttons for the fan and temperature controls, although they are tucked away under large vents. The main touchscreen buttons need to be prodded hard and are extremely slow to respond. You need to pinch the screen to zoom out of the map, and although this is fairly easy, you have to wait for the screen to react each time you resize it. At least route cancelling takes just one prod of the screen. 

The radio station list is in alphabetical order, but if you don’t have favourites inputted, it’s a long and frustrating task to scroll through them. Voice control is also slow to react and you need to go through four steps to navigate to the nearest service station. You need to ask it to find a point of interest, then ask it to find petrol stations, tell it the one you want to go to and say “start guidance”. 

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13. Toyota Corolla with Touch 2 media system and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

Score 20/30

Infotainment test Toyota Corolla

Toyota provides a dial for controlling the temperature and small buttons for the fan speed; they’re all easy to reach.

You can either touch the infotainment screen or use a shortcut button down the side to access the sat-nav, while zooming in and out is easier – but still a little distracting – with the plus and minus icons; the sliding scale alternative is far too sensitive.

Once you’ve learnt how to access the correct menu, turning off guidance requires only two steps. However, you need to know the exact command to get the voice control to do what you want. While this requires just two steps, it doesn’t tell you it has understood each command and is slow to react.

You’ll want to set up radio station favourites, otherwise you’ll spend a lot of time scrolling through a long list of stations in ensembles.

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12. Volvo S60 with Sensus

Score 20/30

Infotainment test Volvo S60

There are no physical buttons to change the temperature or fan setting; instead, you select a menu on the touchscreen or use the voice control, with the latter option being far less distracting.

You need to use your fingers to zoom out on the sat-nav map, requiring a lot of your attention, although the screen is at least responsive. Meanwhile, ending route guidance takes just two steps on the touchscreen, or via voice control. 

In the main radio list, the stations are grouped in ensembles rather than in alphabetical order, so it isn’t easy to find your desired station, but the menu scrolls quickly and easily. 

Using the voice control to change radio stations often doesn’t work, while finding a petrol station is convoluted, requiring four steps to select a destination and set the guidance in motion.

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11. Jaguar XE with 10.0in Touch Pro Duo system

Score 21/30

Infotainment test Jaguar XE

Jaguar’s Touch Pro Duo system gives each front occupant one large control dial; you twist it to alter the temperature, pull it out then twist to adjust the fan speed, and push it in and twist for the heated seat. It’s a clever bit of packaging and can be operated at a glance instead of you having to hunt for specific buttons.

Ending guidance is also easy, involving two steps on the touchscreen, but zooming in and out on the sat-nav map is fiddly, because you have to pinch with your fingers.

Using the touchscreen to scroll through the long list of DAB stations is also pretty distracting, although it still beats most ensemble-based menus.

After pressing a button on the steering wheel, the voice control is slow to wake up, then you have to give it three specific commands before it’ll guide you to a service station.

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