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Hemmings Motor News Blog

Hemmings Motor News has been around since 1954. We're proud of our heritage, but we're also more than the Hemmings full of classifieds that your father subscribed to. Aside from new editorial content every month in Hemmings, we have three monthly magazines: Hemmings Muscle Machines, Hemmings Classic Car and Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car.

While our editors traverse the country to find the best content for those magazines, we find other oddities related to the old-car hobby that we really had no place for - until now. With this blog, we're giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what we see and what we do during the course of putting out some of the finest automotive magazines you'll ever read.

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Open Diff: What Don’t Automakers Understand?

Posted June 26, 2017 9:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: automaker review sales test drive

For most Hemmings readers (and staffers), it’s hard to get worked up about new cars. Perhaps it’s the fact that anything interesting is priced well beyond the means of many, or perhaps it’s the fact that styling is now dictated more by wind resistance and safety regulations than by a designer’s vision or passion. Still, new cars can be a necessary evil, either for our own daily commutes or for those of friends and family.

Technology meant to make cars safer hasn’t always done so. Just about every new vehicle built in the past five years, and certainly every one with luxury leanings, includes the ability to pair a smartphone with the audio system via Bluetooth, thus eliminating the need to hold a phone to one’s ear or manually dial or answer calls. Ironically, since the push for such technology, distracted driving rates are up, not down, perhaps because most consumers won’t spend the one or two minutes required to pair a phone with a car.

Yet automakers seem determined to pack even more technology into modern automobiles, and in many new cars (at a multitude of price points), the touch screen has replaced buttons and knobs for audio and climate controls. Our press fleet Hellcat, for example, used the center stack touchscreen to change audio settings, or turn the heated and cooled seats and the heated steering wheel on or off. Scrolling through a multitude of screens to turn a heater on or off certainly seems more cumbersome than punching a button, at least to us.

You tell us, what don't auto manufacturers understand about their cars and customers?

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#1

Re: Open Diff: What Don’t Automakers Understand?

06/27/2017 7:28 PM

I have to agree that having heater and audio controls on screen pages is pretty idiotic, but the illustrations in the article of the Fiat and Mazda obviously have knobs for these functions. My experience with the Mazda with the screen display which, by the way, is display mode only when the vehicle is in motion, is that the controls are just as easy to use as any other car I've driven.

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#2

Re: Open Diff: What Don’t Automakers Understand?

06/27/2017 9:11 PM

When it comes to trucks, not everyone needs a truck with a high horsepower engine. There are many who would gladly trade power for fuel efficiency, unfortunately all of those, built by arm's of the big 3 are only sold, outside of the u.s.

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#3

Re: Open Diff: What Don’t Automakers Understand?

06/29/2017 1:29 PM

Ironically, some of the features intended to increase survivability in an accident may make an accident more likely with blind spots in front of the driver due to reinforced support and rear view obstructed by head supports.

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#4
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Re: Open Diff: What Don’t Automakers Understand?

06/29/2017 3:11 PM

rear view obstructed by head supports.

It always puzzled me why the back seats will have headrests that stick up a foot for the side seats but have a headrest in the center that tucks down or stows in a recess in the seat. Why can't they all tuck like the center one? It would also make folding the seats forward possible without having to remove them.

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