Most User-Friendly Tech — under £25,000: Audi A3 2016
When you’re sitting behind the wheel, the last thing you want is to have to think about how to fire up the satnav, check your fuel efficiency or play some music. You want it to be simple, quick and intuitive, and the less time you spend digging through menus the better.
undefined. In the end, though, the 2016 Audi A3 claimed the award for its combination of speed, ease of use and technological innovation.
Top of our list of favourite features is Audi’s Virtual Cockpit – the digital evolution of the analogue dials and displays that have appeared in cars since time immemorial. Previously available only on Audi’s more expensive models, its 12.3in, 1,440 x 540-resolution dashboard display shows digital versions of the traditional speedometer and rev counter, plus a whole lot more, including a full satnav map and music navigation.
It’s great that this is now available on Audi’s more affordable A3 (although it is an optional extra), but it’s not the only reason the car swings the award. The rest of the car’s systems, accessed via the 7in screen atop the centre console, are very nearly as good.
With a top-quality display, attractive graphics and superfast responsiveness, all navigated via command dial, we found Audi’s MMI system delivered great ease of use and performance. The only thing it lacks is a touchscreen, but we didn’t find this to be a problem.
Hot on the A3’s heels in this category is a car that proved a pleasant surprise during our testing, the Mazda3. Its eye-level 7in display might not offer the fanciest graphics or the widest spread of features, but we found that it was head and shoulders above most of the cars we tested when it came to ease of use and sheer speed of operation.
What’s more, the Mazda3 offers both touchscreen and command-dial operation, so you can choose how you interact with the system. Above all, the Mazda3’s infotainment demonstrates how keeping things simple and concentrating on the basics can pay dividends when it comes to ease of use.