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I traded in my 2013 Escape for a Cherokee after deciding that the 2020 Escape did not appeal to me. The 2013-2019 version(s) is actually a pretty good crossover, i.e., a balanced blend of an old-school SUV and a more car-like vehicle. But the 2020 takes a further big step toward sedan territory, losing the balance in the process, in my view. 2020 Escapes look like a pumped-up Ford Focus, have lost much of an SUV's ride-height advantage, and will mostly drive around on a three-cylinder engine. (In fact, an ESS-like technology in the 2020 Escape will sometimes shut down one cylinder for even more efficiency, yielding two-cylinder transportation.)

It is true that Ford also has a "baby Bronco" planned as a second compact SUV. This vehicle has not yet been named or revealed, but expectations are that it will move strongly toward the "rugged" end of the spectrum. I'm half-expecting that it will go overboard in that department, perhaps producing a self-parody.

Abandoning the middle ground is a deliberate Ford marketing strategy. Ford execs became convinced that the "balanced" compact SUV that I mentioned above is too much of a commodity vehicle, with too much competition in the segment, especially price competition. So they decided to reject balance and cater to two extremes: the refined, car-like, "urban" 2020 Escape, and the tough, off-road-oriented baby Bronco. Ford assumes that it will sell more SUVs by serving people with strong tastes than by producing vehicles with broader appeal. We'll see if that works.
 

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I hate-absolutely HATE center screens that stick up like they are tacked onto the dashboard. It is one of the most infuriating bits of laziness in the car industry right now. Tesla of course are the worst offenders of this, but also Mazda is pretty bad at it as well.

I simply do not understand why car companies do this. That single thing would prevent me from getting a particular car. It is so tacky.
 
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I hate-absolutely HATE center screens that stick up like they are tacked onto the dashboard. It is one of the most infuriating bits of laziness in the car industry right now. Tesla of course are the worst offenders of this, but also Mazda is pretty bad at it as well.
I don't like that look either -- very awkward and unintegrated. However, I'm not sure that I would ascribe the design decision to laziness, since many companies making it (e.g., Mercedes and Lexus, in addition to the companies you mention, plus Ford) certainly have the resources to avoid it. The "stick-up screen" seems to be an emerging design standard, for whatever reason. Maybe it's supposed to be ergonomically superior (easier to reach the screen?). Or perhaps it's a, "Hey, look at my fancy tech!" signifier. But it still looks silly to me in the end.
 

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I hate-absolutely HATE center screens that stick up like they are tacked onto the dashboard. It is one of the most infuriating bits of laziness in the car industry right now. Tesla of course are the worst offenders of this, but also Mazda is pretty bad at it as well.

I simply do not understand why car companies do this. That single thing would prevent me from getting a particular car. It is so tacky.
Yup, definitely hate the move to touchscreens, especially for essential controls like heater control / fan speed / heated seats, etc. I want tactial feedback knobs and buttons that don't require me to take my eyes off the road multiple times to "find" the setting.

Two reasons I see this happening, lower inital cost and cash grab down the road when you have to replace the enitre unit caused it died.
 

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The topic was the “iPad hot-glued to the dash” look, not the switch to touch screens, but regardless there is one main reason for the touch screen controls: the Millennial demographic expects everything to act like their smart phone. The advanced “user interface” is the new differentiator. It has become standard on most all non-entry level vehicles so if we don’t like it....too bad.


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I don't like that look either -- very awkward and unintegrated. However, I'm not sure that I would ascribe the design decision to laziness, since many companies making it (e.g., Mercedes and Lexus, in addition to the companies you mention, plus Ford) certainly have the resources to avoid it. The "stick-up screen" seems to be an emerging design standard, for whatever reason. Maybe it's supposed to be ergonomically superior (easier to reach the screen?). Or perhaps it's a, "Hey, look at my fancy tech!" signifier. But it still looks silly to me in the end.
In terms of integration, I think Mercedes-Benz has the best infotainment screens in the business. What I love about it is not only that it is actually integrated into the dash, so it appears tailored for it (same with the gauge cluster), but there are THREE different ways of accessing the screen options. There's the touch screen itself ala UConnect, but there is also a touchpad in the center console area, plus there are direction buttons on the steering wheel. It's as though Mercedes asked people what they prefer in terms of using an infotainment screen, to which Mercedes simply said, "Ok, let's include all methods."

More car companies should pay attention to Mercedes-Benz in this case. That is one of the things I wish my Jeep had at the minimum: steering wheel controls to access the UConnect screen. If there were ways to hack/jailbreak the uconnect system, I would love to integrated something like that.

The topic was the “iPad hot-glued to the dash” look, not the switch to touch screens, but regardless there is one main reason for the touch screen controls: the Millennial demographic expects everything to act like their smart phone. The advanced “user interface” is the new differentiator. It has become standard on most all non-entry level vehicles so if we don’t like it....too bad.


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Yeah, the issue isn't the touchscreen themselves, but rather how tacked on they look when not integrated into the design of the dash. I actually am all for touchscreens, and have been for years, but they have to be integrated into the dash design, PLUS there should also be physical buttons for the HVAC system as well. A touch screen should not be a replacement for physical buttons, but rather a supplement.

Something like the Ram 1500 12" Touchscreen is an example of how an integrated touchscreen works with the dash compared to lets say the Tesla Model 3's touchscreen. Both have touch screens, but their integration is vastly different. Heck, even comparing the Model 3 to the older Model S is a stark difference; the latter of which I prefer. But like I said, you still need physical buttons.

That being said, I would like for companies to experiment with haptic feedback for touch screens, so you can actually feel a pulse/rumble in the touchscreen, so there is some actual feedback in response. That would be a great way to improve on the original design with a touchscreen. Some cars have sounds or beeps when you touch the screen, but it simply doesn't feel the same. You need some physical response when touching the screen, and many smartphones have integrated haptic feedback already, so I feel (no pun intended) car manufacturers should do the same with future revisions of their touchscreens.
 
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