Volkswagen Is Working Hard To Fix Its Infotainments Systems and the User Interface

Volkswagen is working hard to fix its infotainments systems 6 photos
Photo: Volkswagen
Volkswagen is working hard to fix its infotainments systemsVolkswagen is working hard to fix its infotainments systemsVolkswagen is working hard to fix its infotainments systemsVolkswagen is working hard to fix its infotainments systemsVolkswagen is working hard to fix its infotainments systems
In an unusual move from Volkswagen management, the newly appointed CEO Thomas Schäfer admits the user interface of the recently launched models is far from optimal. The German carmaker is working hard to fix this, although it will not be easy.
Owners of recently launched models from Volkswagen, including those in the ID. range of electric vehicles, know how uninspiring the user interface is. Poor design choices, cost-cutting measures, and underbaked software crashed Volkswagen’s user experience to an all-time low. The new touch-based MIB3 infotainment systems were crippled by software lags, complicated menus, and annoying capacitive sliders.

The physical buttons were banished from the cockpit, and capacitive buttons and sliders were instated, including on the steering wheel. To add insult to injury, the volume and heating capacitive sliders under the infotainment display lack illumination, making them impossible to find in the dark. In discussion with Car, Thomas Schäfer admitted the setup is far from optimal and dramatic changes will be made soon.

The changes will naturally start in software, with the new 3.0 version scheduled “in the next few weeks.” The hardware is, well, harder to change, but optimized infotainment systems will gradually trickle down to new car models starting in 2024. A revised steering wheel with physical buttons will become available on the new Tiguan as early as next year. Also, all sliders will be illuminated on Volkswagen vehicles sold from next year.

“The hardware changes will come through from early 2024,” Schäfer said to Car. “Steering wheels are from next year, the new Tiguan will be the start. One of the criticisms was that the slider functions were not illuminated, so you didn’t know they were there at nighttime. That’s fixed now, and it’s coming next year. They will be all illuminated.”

Volkswagen’s boss said the changes resulted from many focus-group meetings involving random people. This helped eliminate bias that previously-used Volkswagen employees brought to the table. Schäfer promised more consistency in the user interface, with physical buttons for the most popular ten functions and easy-to-access software controls for the next ten.

We’ve already seen Volkswagen Tiguan and ID.7 prototypes testing with a new infotainment screen, so we know Schäfer words should be taken seriously. Nevertheless, he took the helm only this summer, and the development of the two upcoming models was already frozen by that point. Whatever changes were implemented regarding the user interface, they must’ve been commissioned before he was named Volkswagen’s CEO.
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About the author: Cristian Agatie
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After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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