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Look but don't touch: displays defy distraction at New York Auto Show

Robert S. Anthony | April 1, 2013
Step into one of the glitzy cars at the 2013 New York International Auto Show, and you may be tempted to reach out and poke at the dashboard touchscreen to see what it can do. The answer, in many cases, may come as a surprise: absolutely nothing.

"Nothing has been left out in the engineering and design of this vehicle," said Mike Manley, president and CEO of the Jeep division of Chrysler during a press conference.

Like many new vehicles, the 2014 Jeep Cherokee has automated features that leave less for drivers to do. An Active Drive I setting available in the Sport, Latitude and Limited models allows it to shift into and out of four-wheel drive mode at any speed without any input from the driver. Other drive settings provide for more control and climbing power. A Parksense Active Park Assist System automates the task of parking for those who aren't sure of their skills are parallel parking.

Touch becomes option rather than trend

Are the days of touchscreens for drivers coming to an end? Not really--especially in smaller cars, where the reach for the screen is shorter. However, many touchscreen interfaces, like the ones used in Ford Sync, have been simplified with larger buttons and fewer choices. Automakers might be figuring out that there's a limit to how much technology can be thrown at drivers at once.


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