Touching gesture: Volkswagen is bringing back this old-school feature because customers aren’t happy


You can touch this, but not everyone wants to.

The interiors of some recent Volkswagen models have seen an increasing shift from knobs and buttons to flush touch screens and capacitive touch-sensitive control surfaces, but the tide may soon be shifting back.

Both the electric Volkswagen ID.4 SUV and latest Golf GTI and Golf R rely primarily on the newfangled tech, which is a stark departure from the brand’s previous models that featured more tactile inputs.

Fox News Digital’s review of the Volkswagen Golf R highlighted the difficulty of using some touch-based controls, including the ones on the steering wheel, and we apparently weren’t the only ones.

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VW’s head of passenger cars Thomas Schäfer revealed in a LinkedIn post about the brand’s coming transformation to electric vehicles that “we are sharpening our portfolio and our design, plus creating a new simplicity in operating our vehicles. For example, we are bringing back the push-button steering wheel! That’s what customers want from VW.”

It was an interesting inclusion in a broader statement on the brand’s future plans, but Schäfer made it clear that VW sees the big picture when it comes to owner satisfaction.

“Our ambition: to become the most desirable brand for sustainable mobility! In addition to democratizing technology, this means above all: bringing emotions to people and fulfilling the VW customer promise in every aspect,”

Touch controls are among the most irksome things about current cars, according to the latest J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, which found 3.5 complaints about them per every 100 vehicles.

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No all of VW’s new or redesigned models have made the switch.

The brand’s new entry-level model, the Taos SUV, has clickable buttons on the steering wheel and a center console with knobs and buttons for most major functions.

Schäfer didn’t say which model will bring back buttons first, but the Golf will be due for a refresh soon and it plans to have 10 EVs launched globally by 2026. 

Volkswagen will be replacing touch-sensitive steering wheel controls with more tactile buttons on coming models after a backlash from customers.

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