2015 Lexus RC F: Remote Touch Interface Is Innovative, But Inferior
May 14, 2015
We've had a couple updates so far about the technology interface in our 2015 Lexus RC F. Early on, Ed contended that the latest Remote Touch touchpad system in our car was an improvement over earlier Lexus systems such as in our long-term GS and IS. Then about six weeks ago, James drove our RC F to Arizona and found Remote Touch to be "terrible."
I drove our RC F and used the system for more than a week. Here's my take.
Remote Touch presents an interesting alternative to the knob-and-button setups of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz or the touchscreens of Cadillac and Jaguar. It operates very much like a laptop computer. You move your finger around a touchpad, which moves around a cursor on the display screen. Haptic feedback (vibrations) through the touchpad confirms your movement from one icon on the screen to another.
The touchpad and icons are pretty easy to figure out, and I think this intuition is the system's biggest advantage. All of the icons are there and you just move the cursor where you want. There's not as much menu layering as in some rival systems. The music Shuffle button, for example, is right on the main audio menu. You don't have to dive deeper trying to find it.
This newer touchpad system also introduces some streamlined on-screen menus and a physical "back" button, which the older Remote Touch with the joystick-like knob lacked.
But to James's point, I do agree that the touchpad is very distracting to use while driving. For me, it's positioned too far back along the center console and shifting my arm back to use it, right up against the seat bolster, introduces some imprecision.
Then there's the RC F's stiff ride over bumps that can interrupt your tracking, often causing you to overshoot or miss the desired icon on the screen while moving a finger along the touchpad. Correcting it takes even more time. Choosing what you want from the on-screen buttons, all of similar size and color, can slow you down, too.
Overall, I side more with James and say that Lexus Remote Touch is my least favorite luxury-brand technology interface. The negatives just outweigh its positives.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 8,874 miles