Tech Feature Friday: 2013 Volkswagen CC’s Inconvenient Truths
Radio tuning is too complicated, and the iPhone connection is clunky and outdated.
One of my ironclad rules of car technology is that it should make tasks easier and not cause distraction. Two features of the 2013 Volkswagen CC fail in this regard.
The first is the radio tuning. The car’s small, center-dash touch-screen controller is convenient for many tasks -- but not for simply tuning the radio. The default display shows six radio presets for a band, and those are easy to get to just by tapping the appropriate onscreen icon. But if you want to simply tune through the band, it’s much more complicated and takes several unnecessary steps.
First, you touch the Option icon on the screen. Next, select Tune from the pop-up menu. Now you can use the center knob to tune through stations one at a time. Check out the process in the video below. While you can tune between stations using the steering-wheel controls, the car begs for an old-fashioned tuning knob.
The second feature that annoys me is that connecting an iPod or iPhone is a bit of a throwback, and not in a good way.
Volkswagen is one of a few automaker holdouts that still use a proprietary cable to connect an Apple device instead of a standard USB port. Even just accessing the cable is complicated, and where it’s located means you don’t have easy access to your phone.
To get to the connection, you have to pull down on an orange tab in the glove box that looks like something you’d find on an airline life vest. That drops a small drawer, and inside is the cable and a small cubby for an Apple device. (If you don’t have an Apple device, you're relegated to the auxiliary-in jack in the dash beneath the radio display.) Leaning over from the driver's side to access the cable and plug in the device is hardly a convenient process, and once you close it all up, you don’t have access to your phone at all.
Of course, once you’re connected, you can -- and should -- use Bluetooth to make calls and the car’s controls to access any content on the device. But compared with a simple USB port, the setup in the CC makes it a hassle to connect and disconnect your phone every time.
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