2015 Acura TLX: Not a Fan of Screen Washout
by Dan Frio, Automotive Editor on September 28, 2015
Alright, so our 2015 Acura TLX isn't the first car with a touchscreen that washes out in the sun. It's a general deficiency among these center console displays, although I think screen coatings must differ among suppliers. Some cars just seem more prone to this. I could live with this occasional and temporary condition, but for one thing.
The climate controls, specifically fan speed, are needlessly tucked away in the climate submenu, accessed on the main screen by a virtual button slighter larger than a thumbtip. I recreated the shot above while parked, but this was the amount of sunlight that came streaming into the cabin when I turned south on a recent late afternoon.
What you don't see is that it was hot outside, mid to high-90s. While the A/C kept things nice and cool inside, I needed a little more fan speed. It was damn near impossible, even when leaned over to square up with the display, to poke at the fan speed button (in photo above, the tiny icon between A/C On/Off/Sync and Recirc mode) then poke at another button to increase the airflow, while not being fully driver-distracted.
It's a bogus design, a case of overthink, which goes for most of this multimedia system. Most of the menu structure and even the graphics feel built upon some scrapped Windows mobile project. And this isn't a brightness issue. A brighter screen might've helped in this situation, which of course would've required diving into a submenu or three to adjust.
I've been critical of the TLX of trying too hard on several counts, and this is one of them. Some controls inside the car, for our present time and era, simply need to remain simple and tactile.
And the solution, to the fan speed problem anyway, seems easy enough from this photo: make the A/C "On/Off" button a rocker switch. Press for On/Off, press up/down for fan speed.
Easy, see? I solve problems. It's why I earn the big bucks.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor