Monday 16 July 2018

In Briefs: New Audi confusion? Mercedes' warranty, and car landmark

Volvo interior
Volvo interior

I knew this would happen.

You spend years whingeing about car dashboards having too many buttons, about clutter and confusion.

And then all of a sudden, some cars now have nearly no buttons at all.

Which has me wishing for more tactile touches, especially for things such as ventilation and audio controls.

It is impossible to strike a happy medium and we can't blame car makers.

Voice control is improving all the time but sometimes, sometimes, it can be startling to see what you get when you ask.

Let's not eradicate all buttons just quite yet though, okay?

* Volvo say they have disposed of a different kind of clutter with the advent of their new XC40 small SUV.

As part of the XC40's development phase, their customer research team spent ages investigating how people use their car every day - especially how they store stuff.

Here's part of the report back: "Phones slide around in the mid-console, takeaway bags are at constant risk of falling over and people fumble behind the wheel as they try to get service cards out of their wallets."

So to give better storage space in the doors, for example, the Volvo people moved the speakers from their usual slot, coming up with an air-ventilated dashboard-mounted sub-woofer. Result? Enough storage in the door compartment for a laptop and a tablet.

They added a tiny fold-away hook to the glove compartment so you can secure small shopping or take-away bags.

And there are slots for credit and service cards on the dashboard, while a removable bin under the armrest lets you quickly get rid of waste. I think that's the winner.

* Strange way to report a story coming out of Germany . . . that protecting people will be at the heart of new legal guidelines there for the operation of driverless cars "even if that means damaging property or hitting animals".

I should most certainly hope so.

* Confusing or not? Audi is changing the nomenclature on their cars to indicate engine power ranges as well as the vehicle's name.

They give the example of '30' appearing on the rear of models with power output between 81KW and 96 kW. And '45' stands for output between 169kW and 185 kW. Range toppers (400 kW-plus) will have '70'.

The numbers will appear alongside usual designations such as TFSI, TDI, g-tron or e-tron.

So a typical one would be the Q2 30 TFSI (85 kW). Or the Q7 50 TDI with 200 kW.

Another example: instead of your car being badged an Audi A8 3.0 TFSI, it'll now be called an Audi A8 55 TFSI.

But S and RS keep their current names to distinguish them from the rest of the range. An RS5 will still be an RS5.

But is all this necessary? Will it be madly confusing? Or is it a better indicator of a car's power?

What do you think?

* Mercedes' commercial vehicles division here has extended truck warranties for periods of up to five years or 750,000km.

* Imagine making 150 million cars. That's what Volkswagen just did a few days back when a Golf GTE became the 150 millionth car built by the brand.

The major landmark was established at its Wolfsburg plant, where an Atlantic Blue Golf GTE made its own bit of history.

Indo Motoring

Life Newsletter

Our digest of the week's juiciest lifestyle titbits.

Also in Life