The evolution of tech interfaces in our cars is not appealing to drivers.

Knobs, buttons and touchscreens – what is your preference?

This is the question posed by a new Startline Used Car Tracker survey.

Turned on

Eight out of 10 (79%) motorists say they would rather have buttons for major controls in their car.

Research shows that this is far more popular than the modern-style central touchscreen.

It also reveals that only 51% think having controls on a touchscreen is safe, whilst 64% say it makes them take their eyes off the road more often.

Put off

“It’s become very much the norm for modern cars to have an iPad-sized touchscreen in the middle of the dashboard containing most or even all of the controls for which there used to be buttons and knobs,” says Paul Burgess, CEO at Startline Motor Finance.

“Manufacturers do this because it allows their designers to create very ‘clean’ looking interiors,” Burgess adds. “But our research shows that they are not popular with drivers, with the vast majority wanting major controls such as heating to have buttons.

“There’s also a big safety question here. Jabbing at a screen and cycling through several menus means taking your eyes off the road for an extended period, which has very real safety implications. Many of the people we surveyed are obviously worried about this.”

Money money money

Motorists seem cynical about why the evolution in car interiors has taken place.

Saving money is believed by 66% to be the main reason touchscreens are broadly adopted to save car manufacturers.

Only 56% say they are convenient.

Burgess added: “It could be that, in the future, car makers that adopt a mix of screen and traditional controls will be among the most popular.”