Get the Flash Player to see this player.
For all the work that goes into developing infotainment systems, some of them just plain suck.
Considering how much we interact with these interfaces each day, frustration is bound to boil over when dealing with laggy, awkward, and convoluted systems. From circuitous menus that take far too long to navigate to console-mounted controllers that do little more than complicate matters, here’s a list, in no particular order, of some of the worst infotainment systems on the market today.
The tide is slowly turning for Subaru’s Starlink system, and the latest version is lightning quick and easy to use. But until the new Crosstrek and Outback hit the market later this year its availability is limited to the 2017 Subaru Impreza, leaving the rest of the pack with an interface that has more lag than a 2.0-liter TDI. Worse still, most of the system’s multimedia features, including satellite radio, must be run through a smartphone companion app that’s laggy and equally as baffling to use.
If there’s one system on the market that proves you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover it’s Mazda Connect. Unfortunately, the cover is about as appealing as spectating a cars and coffee event filled with Ford Mustangs. The interface itself is actually fairly easy to use despite looking outdated and juvenile and features a touchscreen that’s responsive if not overly crisp. Unfortunately, said the touchscreen is locked out once the car gets rolling, leaving the finicky console-mounted control knob as the only option.
Difficult-to-navigate menus, a confusing interface and a complete lack of responsiveness make Volvo’s Sensus system painful to use not to mention more than a little distracting. Its big display and touch-first interface should make it a home run, but the execution is more like striking out on a bunt attempt. It’s not exactly responsive, this despite its massive tablet-like touch display, while its menus are confusing and challenging to navigate.
Lexus’ design language is as futuristic as it is beautiful, but the brand’s Enform infotainment system is anything but on both fronts. The interface looks even more outdated than Mazda’s, but worst of all, it goes without a touchscreen in favor of a touch pad on the console that’s tricky to master and anything but rewarding once you do. Even the most mundane tasks — switching between the navigation and audio functions, for example — can be agonizing to execute, a product of the hypersensitive touch pad. On the bright side, it’s better than the stupid joystick that came before it.
ALSO SEE: Top 10 Cars Bleeding Sales in 2017
The good news is Infiniti’s InTouch system lives up to its name with a touch-sensitive screen — two of them, in fact. But that’s where the praise for this system ends, with far too much overlap between the two displays, and quite a bit of lag when scrolling from one to the other. It’s also not exactly attractive and, while not quite as dated-looking as Lexus’ Enform, doesn’t scream modernity.