Thursday, December 2, 2010

For $50,000 a piece, you think they'd get it right

Every now and then, I should rant about trivial stuff.  It keeps me grounded at Samsara level.  Today is one of those days.

I'm in the market for a new car.  I test drove a Mercedes-Benz ML 350 today.  It's a good car, stable, handles well, accelerates competently and all.  Except one major flaw.  The navigation system is positioned in such a way you need to look DOWN to see it, taking your eyes off the road, which makes it dangerous to use.  Who made THAT design decision?  Maybe the vaunted German engineering doesn't extend to German UI.  Hint to Mercedes-Benz: Every customer dead is a customer lost.  Customer death, not good.

I also test drove the Lexus 450h, a lovely hybrid car.  Beautifully smooth ride, lovely interior and all.  Perfect.  Except somebody decided to replace a perfectly good touch-screen navigation system with a lousy joystick-based system.  Huh?  Who made THAT design decision?  And, oh, for $50,000, there is no power-folding side-mirrors.  Nope, nobody driving a Lexus should ever be expected to drive into tight spaces like, I don't know, a garage.

For $50,000, you'd think you can get the car you want.  But noooooo...  I think I might just stick to my old car.


  1. While 3x the cost you were looking at, may I suggest one of these?

    Quite likely the only car where a rear flamethrower is standard equipment.

  2. Buying a new car? Presuming it's going to last for a few years, where are you going to get the fuel to run it after 2015? Google [joe report] and see page 29: Zero oil surplus by 2012, 10 million barrels per day shortage by 2015. Car party's over. Solar party begins. Want a solar solution? Join the Solarevolution!

  3. Who needs build-in navigation systems these days?!

    Get "Nexus One Car Dock" instead :D

  4. I did buy the lexus. I like the mouse/joystick control but perhaps I'm strange that way. What I don't like is that it doesn't let me set destinations while in motion. I can see why their lawyers might not like that but given that its a monster SUV, I'm almost always accompanied by someone that can change it while I'm driving.

    The folding mirrors would have been helpful, I have a very narrow driveway. But they I wouldn't be able to backup without hitting anything. Better would be mirrors that didn't stick out so far.