Volkswagen Is Going Back to Buttons on Steering Wheels Because Customers Want Them

Volkswagen Golf VII interior 10 photos
Photo: Volkswagen
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In a somewhat surprising decision that is unforeseen but has made many people happy, Volkswagen is bringing back buttons to its steering wheels. It is not yet clear what model will get them back first, but the way that this was all announced sounds like it is already decided. Many customers want VWs to have buttons on the steering wheel, not touch controls.
The exciting news (for some future VW owners, at least) comes from Thomas Schafer, who is a Volkswagen AG board member, and he recently posted the big return of buttons on steering wheels on his LinkedIn page.

According to Schafer, the push-buttons on steering wheels are not the only thing to return to Volkswagen. However, it was the only example that mentioned a particular element.

The Volkswagen AG board member explained that the company is sharpening its portfolio and its design and “creating new simplicity in operating our vehicles.” Well, that last part is a bit of an overstatement, as the German marque was known for how easy it was to find everything once you got behind the wheel.

With the risk of being a tad bland, the German company made it easy for someone who only drove a Golf Mk3 or Golf IV back in the day to get in a recently made model and easily understand where all the essential controls would be. The latter part changed with the eight-generation Golf, which switched its control interface from buttons to touch surfaces.

The change was a bit too much even for some diehard VW enthusiasts, as something that they had grown accustomed to was dramatically changed. Each button had a touch surface instead of it, and you now have to look at the things that you want to press just to be sure you are on the right keys. Many years ago, VW had a different plan.

Similarly, the ID range from Volkswagen received the same controls, which made the vehicles feel futuristic in a way but also frustrating to operate at times due to software issues with the multimedia interface.

Now, it is important to note that several analysts in the field have underlined that replacing several buttons with a screen may seem like the high-tech way to go, but it is cheaper for automakers to do this because they just need to design a simple layout to be shown on screen and work with the several touch-sensitive surfaces.

While the change announcement is as close to being official as possible since we take Schafer's position into account, we will have to wait for it to happen to be sure it has been done.
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About the author: Sebastian Toma
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Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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