Wednesday, November 5, 2008

More crap car design.

I've got a Ford Galaxy MPV on rental at the moment (apparently Hertz think that's in the same class as a "compact 4 door saloon"). It drives OK but it's laced with awful design problems. The three that stand out immediately are the handbrake, the interior lights and the heating and ventilation system.
The handbrake is this interesting double-pronged affair that looks like the throttle control from a fighter jet. It's cleverly designed so that when you release it, it traps your thumb between the release button and the centre console.
The interior lighting is very art nouveau - soft dimming, soft illuminating, accent lighting in the footwells etc. It's all very clever but totally useless because there's no light at the ignition switch. So when you get in in the dark, you end up scratching up all the plastic on the steering column trying to find the ignition key slot.
And finally, the heating and a/c system. In manual mode it's fine. In Auto mode it's totally useless. For some reason, when you use Auto mode, Ford seemed to think that what you want is a right foot that is either baked or frozen. In Auto mode it only uses the footwell ventilation outlets, and on the driver's side, it's pointed straight at the accelerator pedal. So if you want to heat the air up inside, you end up with a burned foot long before the air actually begins to circulate out of the footwells.

This is the 21st century isn't it? Because those sorts of design decisions are reminiscent of the horse-drawn carriage.

No comments: