Author Topic: Is the HR-V too complex?  (Read 1470 times)

richardfrost

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Is the HR-V too complex?
« on: November 30, 2016, 01:30:24 PM »
Whilst this is an HR-V query, I can see that the new Jazz also seems to suffer from some of the things I am listing below...

I bought my HR-V to keep for four, maybe five years. I am one year in and the car has worked as advertised for maybe nine out of those twelve months.

At the moment (touch wood) everything is working just fine, even the Stop/Start system.

I am just starting to wonder whether a 20k+ car which requires me to frequent an Internet forum to understand a) whether my intermittent problem is a common issue or b) how to resolve said issue, is just a little over complicated or too early in the model life.

Generally, I don't buy first generation items. Particularly Apple products. There are always design niggles to resolve.

I wonder whether the mid life iteration of the HR-V will make the car more reliable and user friendly. Most of my issues with the car are software related, and therefore fixable, but there are some physical issues too.

I would suggest...

1. Lose the touch screens and go back to physical switchgear which would...
a) Give tactile feedback so you don't have to take your eyes off the road
b) Remain set to that setting even when the car is switched on again the next day (Yes, Honda, I do want my heated seat on every day when it is the depths of Winter). MAKE THIS ONE AVAILABLE TO US EARLY ADOPTERS AS A SOFTWARE UPDATE - it can be optional.

2. Provide a physical switch to tell the Sat Nav I have read the warning, or make the button the size of half the screen, so I can more easily hit it. (I get that it's the EU and not your fault that we have to have that button). MAKE THIS ONE AVAILABLE TO US EARLY ADOPTERS AS A SOFTWARE UPDATE.

3. Four wheel drive option. Come on!

4. Simplify the whole audio and DAB user interface. Please. Just get a web designer on the job. It is way too fiddly and counter intuitive to be a safe reliable interface to use whilst driving. MAKE THIS ONE AVAILABLE TO US EARLY ADOPTERS AS A SOFTWARE UPDATE.

5. Teach the Stop/Start system that the heating Auto setting does not always mean the Air Con is on. I am convinced this is at the root of the issue.

6. Give us an option for the lights to be on Auto but I get to choose when I want high-beam. Mine somehow slips into this mode sometimes but I am sure it is not supposed to happen as I can't manage to recreate this when I want to. Also, it would be nice to be able to turn off headlights when I am parked without cycling through all the options and making it seem to people that I am flashing my lights at them.

Any more?

John Ratsey

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Re: Is the HR-V too complex?
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2016, 03:01:18 PM »
As someone who had a Mk 3 Jazz for a year before changing it for a HR-V I can confirm that there is much in common between the two vehicles in respect to the issues you raise. The touschscreen system is very similar, if not the same.

The HR-V is, in one aspect, evern worse than the Jazz, because the heating / ventilation controls are also a touch panel which needs eyes taken off the road ahead in order to make simple adjustment. Its usability is not helped by being located below the main touchscreen system. The touch heating / ventilation control should have been binned on safety grounds, besides which it usn't usable if wearing gloves!

That annoying touchscreen OK button (another safety hazard) could be easily fixed by linking it to one of the radio control buttons on the steering wheel as we know the system reads inputs from those buttons. As all the manufacturers seem to be heading down the touchscreen route, the vehicle safety assessments need to be modified to include the internal controls.

Your issues 5 and 6 are, while still software, part of the main vehicle control system which, fortunately, seems to be more reliable than the touchscreen thing. I have also noticed (but only once or twice) my HR-V headlights coming on as main beam but never noticed that on the Mk 3 Jazz so maybe that is an HR-V specific issue although I had put it down to accidentally moving the lighting stalk. I would also want the proper off position on the light switch but, if Honda don't what to give us that autonomy then at least de-link the headlights from the rain sensor. I presume that the Japanese don't get raindrops on a sunny day.

I carried out a thorough desk study of the Kia Niro before getting my HR-V and that vehicle has a much more user-friendly set of controls than the Jazz / HR-V including some physical buttons for selecting the main touchscreen functions http://www.kia.co.uk/new-cars/range/mid-sized-cars/niro/allnewniro.aspx#&gid=1&pid=9. Kia have also signed up to Android Auto. Sensibly Honda will go down that route although it would mean no further development effort to sort out Honda's own system.

These software issues must be impairing Honda's reliability record. While they aren't causing breakdowns, they are resulting in unneccessary time at the dealers. In the longer term, who takes responsibility for fixing the bugs when the vehicle is out of warranty. My position is that if problems can't be easily fixed by the occasion reboot then they fall into the latent defects category for which the seller has liability even after the warranty period. Perhaps I should be asking the boss of Honda UK if he concurs.

So why didn't I get the Niro? There was a touch of "better the devil you know than the devil you don't know" as I worked towards the conclusion of my deliberations.

culzean

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Re: Is the HR-V too complex?
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2016, 05:00:33 PM »
These problems with cars are mirrored in industry,  once a screen is fitted to a piece of equipment designers try to cram as much onto it as possible and will ditch all the manual controls.  KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) seems not to figure on todays ergonomic designers horizon,  but also car companies have to keep cutting costs and once a screen is fitted then removing manual controls and putting them onto screen is a cost saving (you have a screen anyway so it now becomes cheap to put extra stuff onto it).

The distraction factor of having to actually look and poke at a screen that is well out of normal line of sight is something that designers should be well aware of,  but the younger generation (millennials,  generation Y,  or the 'ME' generation 18 to 34) are so used to looking at their phone instead of the road that it has become second nature to them - they do not have the attention span to keep their attention on anything for more than 0.5 second.
Some people will only consider you an expert if they agree with your point of view or advice,  when you give them advice they don't like they consider you an idiot

richardfrost

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Re: Is the HR-V too complex?
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2016, 01:15:02 AM »
John, the touchscreen I was referring to was the heating one. It is ridiculously located with no haptic feedback. Physical rocker or push switches would be just fine and would retain their settings between car on/off cycles.

The headlights are auto full beam, which is why you may have noticed random flashing. I actually think they work very well. What I am referring to is the main beam flash you get when you rotates the switch from sidelights, through main beam to auto.

As for the main touchscreen, compare the Garmin sat nav design, nice big finger sized 'buttons' which are generally in the same place on the screen, with the standard Honda blue infotainment design, small, fiddly buttons or hidden areas of the screen which are always in different places. Scroll bars for example are a stupid user interface choice for a moving vehicle. You have to look at them whilst you are using them. Just give me up and down buttons. Big ones.

TG

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Re: Is the HR-V too complex?
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2016, 11:37:31 AM »
Complexity excluding the car's UI such as the powertrain or bodyshell seems to be equal to other manufacturers.

I think you all have hit on the fundamental flaw with the current smooth touchscreen panels - lack of finger registration or feedback.  I believe this could be addressed with either indents or protrusions for reference points such as the ones on the F & J of a computer keyboard particularly as the heating control position do not move. 

An interesting point about both Apple Carplay & Android Auto, is they specifically limit scrolling and other extended interactions within the UI and take what may seem a more 'Fisher Price' approach.  Considering many aspects of car controls and functions are laid out in United Nations* regulations via EU and national type approval implementation, such as which direction a switch should be moved for 'on' it seems amiss that they are not keeping up with current controls.  Going forward, harmonisation & cooperation for vehicle systems operating with some degree of autonomy seems essential.
--
TG

* World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP 29) - accepted by everyone except USA & Canada, although Canada subscribes when CETA goes live, the USA probably not during this administration. 

John Ratsey

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Re: Is the HR-V too complex?
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2016, 02:21:03 PM »
John, the touchscreen I was referring to was the heating one. It is ridiculously located with no haptic feedback. Physical rocker or push switches would be just fine and would retain their settings between car on/off cycles.
Perhaps we should call that piece of the HR-V  a "touch panel" rather than a touchscreen in order to minimise confusion.

Anyway, I think we are agreed that it is, at best, a silly idea and, at worst, a serious safety hazard. I'm wondering if the fascia design didn't leave enough space for a set of proper knobs, switches and buttons so someone had the brainwave of using this touch panel. It wouldn't be so bad if bigger and more conveniently located.

richardfrost

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Re: Is the HR-V too complex?
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2016, 02:48:15 PM »
We do agree. But I think the lack of room argument is not valid, as the current system has to provide room for a button and a display explaining the button setting. With a physical button, the display would be irrelevant, just an LED would suffice. Also, the 2015 Civic the Dealer drove me around in a while back implemented the whole panel, including heated seat switches, in a physical design, in much less space.

VicW

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Re: Is the HR-V too complex?
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2016, 02:51:58 PM »
I think this applies to the Honda Connect system as currently fitted to the Jazz and HRV.

Quote from elsewhere:-

"Normal people believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet."

richardfrost

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Re: Is the HR-V too complex?
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2016, 03:41:21 PM »
I like that. However, I think an engineer would probably have been happier with switches. I think we have 'designers' at work here..

John Ratsey

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Re: Is the HR-V too complex?
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2016, 04:11:02 PM »
I like that. However, I think an engineer would probably have been happier with switches. I think we have 'designers' at work here..
As an engineer, I agree. We value function over form. Want a bridge which looks pretty then ask an architect to design it but don't complain when it's difficult and expensive to build and also a problem to maintain.

But I expect someone reckoned that the touch panel was cheaper to make and would require less maintenance - there's only one part to install, go wrong and need replacing!

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