2009 Ford Flex Limited: Cruise Interface Still Terrible
June 29, 2009
Ford's been on this kick for a while now where they equip their cars with the most pathetic cruise control interface possible. Our longterm 2009 Ford Flex is the most recent victim. Pardon the lint in the pic above; the Flex was fresh from the car wash.
I've ranted about this before for other Ford vehicles. To re-reiterate, Ford's cruise interface fails on many levels:
First--still no 'cancel' button. Mystifying. Tapping the brakes is a terrible way to accomplish this. Ever wonder how traffic forms?
Second--since there's no cancel button, the on/off button takes its place. This means that every time you press 'off' to 'cancel,' you have to then un-cancel by using the 'on' button. And yes, you will have to rely on your memory for this because:
Third-- there is no telltale in the instrument cluster to inform you whether the cruise is currently 'on' or 'off.' Sure, it tells when it's 'set,' but not when it's 'on.'
Fourth--at a fundamental level, having to turn on the cruise before setting it is silly. I have to turn it on before I turn it on? Seriously? And it defaults to 'off' every time you turn the Flex off. We have nobody but overly paranoid lawyers to thank for that.
Fifth--the buttons are all too similarly shaped and in a neat column. I'm sure some designer received mad props from a middle-level desk jockey when he or she came up with this golly-gee-looking arrangement fifteen years ago. However, even after living with this for days or even weeks, I still find myself having to look down at the buttons every time I want to use them. Ergonomics fail.
Sixth--they're on the wrong side of the steering wheel. The correct layout if you must have buttons is audio on the left; cruise on the right.
Attention, Ford Cruise Control Department: grow a pair and don't have the lawyers or designers tell you how to do your job. Then do what you know is right and copy the BMW stalk.
That is all.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor at 26,xxx miles.