Center Stack Hack - 2011 Chevrolet Volt Long-Term Road Test

2011 Chevrolet Volt Long Term Road Test

2011 Chevrolet Volt: Center Stack Hack

June 17, 2011


I like our Volt. I really do, and pretty much for the same reasons that Magrath pointed out. And like Mike, I also detest the center stack controls. Now, I' don't consider myself a technophobe or luddite. In fact, I'm quite the opposite. I'm an early adopter, I love technology, but if the execution is off just a little, well, the claws come out.

And that brings me to the Volt's center stack. A shiny plastic chunk in the middle of the dash. And there's the first misstep -- shiny. During the day, I can't read the right side of the stack because the reflections are so harsh they wash out the text on the "buttons". And the text on the buttons are too small, condensed and, well, poorly chosen. No, I don't have bad eyesight, I actually have quite exceptional vision, thank you.

But my biggest complaint is the overabundance of buttons and their unintuitive layout. But rather than whine about it, I decided to offer up my own solution.


The shiny plastic is now a matte rubberized finish. The text is bigger, bold and all lower case (for that hip, techy look). I also organized the buttons into distinct sections and deleted quite a few. I figured the secondary functions could easily be relocated to the touchscreen. I also placed the buttons in ovoid dimples, with the idea of putting the sensors at the center of the impressions to avoid any unintentional inputs.

Another idea I had, but didn't mock-up, was to replace almost the entire center stack with a big touchscreen. Maybe I'd add a few knobs and hard buttons below.

What do you think? Is it an improvement, or should I delete Photoshop from my computer?

Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor

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