Nothing Is Infallible, Apparently - 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI Long-Term Road Test

2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI Long-Term Road Test

2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI: Nothing Is Infallible, Apparently

June 17, 2013

2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI

This is the touchscreen display used for audio, navigation, phone and various other functions in our long-term 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI SEL. Since I still haven't moved to the 21st century, I listen to a lot of AM and FM radio in this car.

As you can see, there are two different ways to switch between radio bands on the center stack. You can use this hard button (above) or you can use the soft key on the display itself and bring up a submenu. For some reason, I'm partial to the latter method.

2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI

However, I've found that sometimes it's hard to press the correct spot on the band "buttons" and, oftentimes, even when you do press them correctly, the system is slow to respond and switch from FM to AM.

Recently, I became impatient with the lag time and hit the AM button repeatedly. This was a bad idea. The screen froze with the radio band submenu expanded (just as you see above) and wouldn't respond to inputs for about 10 minutes. During that time, the audio system was nonfunctional and the whole car was quiet (i.e., no Dodgers game could be heard).

Finally, the screen went black and the system rebooted itself. Very likely, I could have forced a reboot sooner by turning off the car and turning it back on, but we were on the freeway, so it wasn't practical.

Of course, this is exactly the kind of thing that has occurred with the MyFord Touch interface in our long-term Focus ST, not to mention every smartphone and tablet I've ever owned. Needless to say, touchscreen technology is not infallible. I think what makes this kind of thing more frustrating in our Passat (and various Fords we've owned) is that it's not as easy to reboot on the fly as it is with an iPhone.

Erin Riches, Deputy Editor

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