Unnecessary Extra Done Not Badly - 2010 Hyundai Sonata GLS Long-Term Road Test
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2010 Hyundai Sonata Long-Term Road Test

2010 Hyundai Sonata GLS: Unnecessary Extra Done Not Badly

December 24, 2010

volume display sonata.jpg

Here's an random, inconsequential observation prompted by our longterm 2010 Hyundai Sonata's volume display. Really, it's about volume displays in general. Many many many manufacturers include them nowadays. They're nothing new. Turn the knob and a meter/number/both pops up and tells you how loud the audio system is, as if you couldn't hear it.

What are these displays good for? We're talking about an audio system here -- turn the knob until your ears are happy. So what possible purpose does a visual representation provide? Deep thoughts.

The only thing I can think of pertains to satellite radio. Example, you get in the car and you're in a satellite dead zone, so there's no sound whatsoever. You turn up the volume, nothing. With the display you can pre-emptively turn it down to some known level using the numbers so as not to have your trousers blown off when the satellite reconnects and the compression wave hits because you've inadvertently cranked the knob to 13. Pretty lame rationale, but it's all I've got. What's your theory on why these volume displays exist?

Anyway, questions of actual usefulness aside, Hyundai's implementation of the volume display is actually thoughtful since the readout resides in an otherwise unused corner of the screen so it doesn't obscure information that is actually useful. Our longterm GMC Terrain, Chevy Cruze and Suzuki Kizashi are three random cars I checked (the keys were nearby) and those volume displays obscure otherwise useful information, and do so for 3 seconds (GMs) and 2 seconds (Zook) before the volume display times out. Yes, I actually timed them. I have no life.

But seriously, who needs a volume display? Deaf people?

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor


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