2013 Lexus GS350: Busy
March 19, 2013
That's a busy screen, all 12 inches wide of it. It looks slightly worse because I've also got the music info sidebar displayed with the main information window. If the climate or settings screens were displayed in the sidebar, it might not look as dense. Still, it's easy to get lost in here. The Lexus mouse Remote Touch thing doesn't help matters. It's only marginally less distracting than a touchscreen, and not as good as a dial-and-button array.
The system does a good enough job blocking you out of certain functions, allowing the cursor to glide to relevant, available commands. But the fact the cursor still slides around forces your eyes to follow it. BMW's iDrive and Benz's COMAND aren't perfect, but at least they follow a fairly rigid grid-like pattern of selection. It's not super stylish, it's not cutting-edge swipey and slidey like CUE, and it's definitely not Apple.
I argue that this is a good thing. Twenty-First Century Human has proven we can't work our smartphones without falling into fountains or oncoming traffic. Until we can, keep infotainment systems simple, intuitive and somewhat restrictive. This will be one of those interesting cases to see if automakers can find and agree on a standard before federal transportation officials do it for them.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor