In our introductory story we told you why we are comparing touchscreen systems, how we’ve gone about doing it and finally the six cars (and their touchscreen systems) that made it to our comparison list. Well, here are the touchscreen systems that made it to places 6, 5 and 4.
The judging criteria and various factors in this touchscreen comparison tests have been detailed in our introductory story and you can read about that here.
6. Renault Kwid-56.23/100
It’s the smallest car in the fight and a full segment behind everything else on offer. But we had to include it in the competition as the little hatchback’s USP is its touchscreen system and it’s the only vehicle in this part of the market to offer this technology.
Now, here is the thing. If you look at the Kwid’s touchscreen system as a selling feature for a vehicle in this part of the market, it is more than up to the job. However, since our measurement criteria is standardised, the Kwid’s touchscreen system or as Renault call it, Media-NAV, has undergone the same tests as all the other cars in the fight. It should also be noted that this is the same touchscreen system offered in the much more expensive Duster and Captur.
Its 7.0-inch display is on par, in terms of size, with everything else. But to be honest, that’s all there is to it for the Kwid. The plastic quality feels low rent and the colours on the screen are bright and vivid, but the overall impression of the screen is that of an early-2000s’ cell phone screen.
Here, the icons are all massive due to the low resolution which is nothing to write home about, in terms of appearance. It is, however, a boon when you are behind the wheels as everything is neatly organised and free of clutter. Given the Kwid’s diminutive dimensions all around, the screen is easily accessible and its placement on the dashboard is such that it is always within arm’s reach.
The Kwid’s system lacks mirroring/ Android Auto/Apple Car Play, voice commands and steering mounted controls. One of the saving graces for the car is that shortly before this story was written, the Kwid underwent a MY update and with it came a reverse camera, in addition to the parking sensors. The camera offers grid lines but they are not dynamic.
You get an AUX-IN, USB input as well an option to connect an iPod dedicatedly in terms of connectivity options. But, the loading times between screens as well as connecting and reconnecting a phone via Bluetooth were significantly lengthy.
5. Honda Jazz- 72.46/100
The Honda Jazz is the point at which the big boys come into the game. The pre-facelift Jazz, which was launched in 2015, came with a much smaller screen and not a lot, in terms of connectivity. However, with the updated Jazz, Honda introduced a new system which it has dubbed the Digipad 2.0.
This system utilises a 7.0-inch display that’s actually angled towards the driver and this, in combination with a high placement, means easy access. However, the display is not all that bright and that combined with a dark theme affects the visibility in heavy sunlight.
It comes with a host of features as well as a dedicated 1.5-amp socket for devices with fast charge capability. There’s also inbuilt navigation, voice commands and even multiple ways to see the view from the reverse camera. This is one of the major positives for the system and this has helped it come second in this department.
This new system also sees the addition of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay but no phone mirroring. Most of the test group did not take fondly to the voice recognition system in the Honda Jazz as it struggled with even the most basic of commands.
While the driver-oriented leaning of the screen may have won it many plaudits from the test team, in the other criteria, namely, ergonomics, the Digipad has fared averagely. The plastic quality is low in terms of tactile feel while the buttons themselves are a tad bit too small and feel fiddly.
Despite being crammed full of features and the little extras, the Digipad system is lacking in terms of appearance. The interface is dull and the graphics and transitions between screens just don’t have that shiny appeal that comes with a touch system in this price bracket.
4. Maruti Suzuki Dzire- 72.47/100
Would you believe that one of the highest selling cars in the history of the Indian car market has been placed in the bottom 3? Well, neither did we, until we put Maruti Suzuki’s SmartPlay Infotainment system through the rigors of our tests. It’s beaten the Honda system but just barely.
In the screen test, it scores the same as the others, thanks to its 7-inch display and in addition, the whole test team has rated its display quite highly with regard to visibility in sunlight. This, we think, is down to a well-calibrated backlighting system as well as the bright colour palette that Maruti has used in the colour schemes.
The Maruti infotainment system has performed poorly in the ergonomics test, ranking 5/6. Firstly, there are no physical buttons which enhances its appearance. But it doesn’t do much in terms of making things easy to use. There’s no haptic feedback when you use the control surfaces and in fact, the only other major saving grace for the system is that the screen has been angled and placed well.
The graphics on the Dzire’s screen are clean, crisp and work well with the colour scheme to provide an easy to use system. This makes it user friendly, but when you look at it in comparison to the top 3 systems, there’s no extra oomph that makes it stand out. Then there’s the fact that for every process, one needs to go through multiple menus to get going and this can get very distracting while driving.
One other place where the Dzire has done well is with regard to the voice command recognition system as it was able to pick a wide range of voices and performed all the commands we threw at it quite easily.
As features go, it gets AUX-IN and a single USB port in terms physical connectivity and the system does connectivity for both Android and Apple devices. In fact, Maruti Suzuki was one of the first manufacturers to jump on this bandwagon and provided this option on the pre-facelift S-Cross when it was launched in 2015. Also included in this package is an SD card slot and the option to connect an external DVD player.
Photos: Kapil Angane