2015 Audi A3: Three Cheers for Three Knobs
July 14, 2015
I'm a simple guy. I like 1980s-era video games. My mountain bike doesn't have a bunch of gears. I use a Crock-Pot. I'm all about simple and easy.
So it should come as no surprise that I absolutely love the HVAC system in our long-term 2015 Audi A3. Three simple knobs to control what should be a simple operation. Simply wonderful.
Turn the knob closest to you to change the temperature. That little knob in the middle controls the fan speed or turns the system off. The knob on the passenger's side controls the passenger temperature. These functions can be done without taking your eyes off the road. Three cheers for simple.
As an added bonus, these knobs look and feel substantial.
These things feel as though they can be turned for years and are in no danger of becoming loose, or falling off like the volume knob on my son's '98 Tahoe did. If it's possible for climate controls to instill confidence in build quality, these knobs do it.
My personal car is a 2015 Acura TLX. To change the fan speed in the TLX, I first have to press an A/C button. Then I need to use the touch screen to adjust the fan speed. If I want to redirect airflow, I'd need to use the touchscreen. If I want to turn on the heated seat, you guessed it — I'd be back to the touchscreen. If I want to change the temperature, I use an up and down switch. Button, touchscreen, lever.
Touchscreen controls are cool and all, but I'm not convinced they're an upgrade from good old-fashioned knobs or buttons like those found in the A3. Especially for controls a driver may want to change on the course of a one-hour commute.
Again, maybe I'm just too simple.
So what do you think? Knobs or touchscreens?
Matt Jones, Retail Editor