Nobody Wants Touch-Screen Glove Box Latches And It Needs To Stop Now

Glovebox Top

I’ve been seeing some absolute nonsense online recently, nonsense showing some actual real-world car features, and I’ve realized it’s my duty to take a moment and let the whole world know what’s going on here is very much not okay. It’s not okay. I’m not going to sit back and just let it happen, let my beloved universe of automobiles get slowly infected by this insidious, pervasive idiocy because I sat back and did nothing. Not today, Satan. Not fucking today. What I’m not going to let happen is this: gloveboxes opened by a software button on a touchscreen interface, buried inside some bullshit UX. I wanna scream knowing it exists.

I realized I needed to speak up about this – and I don’t think this is hyperbole – grave threat to the very human condition – because it’s somehow infected the new Cadillac Lyriq, and is now showing up on videos about the car, like this one done by none other than our pal Doug DeMuro:

I have to hand it to Doug for maintaining his composure here; I can only imagine moments after this video was shot he was behind a tree, sobbing and vomiting and shaking all over, while one of Doug’s many handlers surrounded him, covering him with medicated salves and telling him that somehow everything will be fine.

But everything will not be fine.

Did you really get a look at what was happening there? There’s at least three steps involved here, and I’m being generous, because depending on what the center-stack display is currently showing or doing, you’d have to add more steps even to get to the menu with that “Controls” icon:

Steps

I know I’m not the only one who feels the same sense of rage and dread when they see this sort of thing happen, because I’ve already seen things like this:

This, of course, is the only reasonable reaction to being confronted with the touch-screen glove box release. I should be clear that I’m not trying to single out Cadillac or GM here, they just happen to be the most recent example of this madness, but it has existed before, like on the Tesla Model 3:

I didn’t speak out when the Tesla first demonstrated this, and that’s on me. I foolishly thought this was just some Tesla-only affectation, and there’s no way this poison could seep into the greater mainstream car market. I was wrong.

Speaking of wrong, what the hell is wrong with that guy in the Tesla video? How does he find this cool? Does he have a knee-buckling, pants-ruining orgasm when he goes to a grocery store and steps on the magic mat that makes the sliding doors open automatically? Jeezis, dude, stop encouraging this.

The touch-screen-actuated glove box is terrible because it’s one of those examples where carmakers have found that they have the technology to do something, so they do it, without considering literally anything about what they’ve done. Did anybody want this? At all? It takes something that has never been a problem, opening a glove box, and added cost and complexity to the construction, and added time and inconvenience to the process. No problem is solved, but a fuckload of new problems are introduced.

What if your battery dies, and you have your small emergency charger in the glovebox? Tough shit! What if you’re waiting in a turned-off car while your friend or parent or lover pops inside the liquor store, and you need to get, say, your hyper-important pills out of the glove box? Again, tough shit. And, if you’re thinking, “hey, stop worrying, I’m sure they have an emergency mechanical release for the glove box somewhere,” then I encourage you to fuck right off and take a moment to think about the deep, hurtful idiocy of that statement.

Did they do focus groups for this feature? Did they get responses like these?

“I hate how easy and quick it is to get the glovebox open. Can you guys solve that?”

“Is there any way to make simple acts I’m used to doing a real fucking chore?”

“How can I be sure every single tiny fucking thing on this car will be an expensive hassle to repair in 10 years?

“If the battery dies, is there any way to fuck me over even more than normal? Like, you know, hard?”

“Can you just smack the shit out of me over and over again with like a slab of roast beef, or is there some electromechanical and software solution you can integrate into the car for the same effect?”

I hate this so much. Nobody wants this. Nobody needs this. You want to make the car seem fancy, just make a physical latch for the glovebox out of something nice instead of, you know, crap. Though, with that advice in mind, if I was offered a choice between a conventional glove box latch made from composite material sourced from the hydraulically-compressed feces of convicted sex offenders or a menu-based touchscreen glovebox release, I’ll have mine with the pervert shit plastic, thanks so much.

What if you get pulled over by a cop, and they tell you to turn your car off, like they do, but then you have to explain to the already tense cop that you need to turn your car back on so you can open the fucking glove box door so you can get your documents? Depending on the cop and the circumstance, this can only make things worse.

What’s the problem this was supposed to solve, again? Opening a glove box was too obvious? Too easy? The mechanism was too long-lasting and cheap?

Carmakers are fundamentally like huge, dumb animals. When they do bad things, you have to be firm and forceful and tell them NO BAD, loudly and often, and that’s where we are right now.

So, GM: NO. BAD. BAD COMPANY. Stop. The right thing for GM to do right now, at this very moment, is to recall every single fucking Lyriq out there and retrofit a real glove box latch onto these. I do not care what it costs. It’s worth it. They should also send fruit baskets or cookie assortments or something to every owner that had to deal with this horseshit even once along with a formal apology. And the company should pledge, hand on the gold-covered skull of William Crapo Durant, to never, ever pull this shit again.

You know what? Make Tesla do it, too. Recall every Model 3 with this stupid touch-screen glove box release setup and go through the same shit I said GM should do, but swap William Crapo Durant’s skull for Elon’s groin or something.

Any other car maker who has committed this atrocity should do the same, but I’m not going to look up who else may have done this because I’m a caring, tender human and my very soul can’t take the onslaught of knowing how far this bullshit has spread. It just has to stop. Now.

I’m very curious to see if anyone disagrees with me in the comments. Could there be people out there who like this insipid horseshit? Is it possible? Could there be masochistic, perverse simpletons out there who want to navigate a fucking touchscreen menu to open a lid inches from their fucking stupid fingers? That can’t exist. There have to be more Sasquatches that read this site than blighted morons who somehow, perversely want touch-screen-menu based glove box latches. In fact, I hope there are. I’d rather spend time with Sasquatches, any fucking day.

So, again, to all automakers now or in the future: DO NOT MAKE GLOVE BOXES OPEN FROM A TOUCH SCREEN MENU.  

NO. BAD. STOP.

 

 

 

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110 Responses

  1. To capture the pointlessness of this, let’s compare it to another centrally controlled function: Power door locks.

    With the touch of a button, usually on the driver’s door, you can engage all of the locks. This makes sense because otherwise you’d have to stretch and lean and contort yourself to individually lock each door. And if an automaker wants to move that function to a touchscreen, well, whatever. It might add some fishing through menus, but it still eliminates all the physical gyrations, which is the point.

    The glove box latch? No matter how you open it–physical button, cue stick, Harry-Potter-style spell–you still have to lean over to put in or take out an object. Utterly needless complexity.

    Keep fighting the good fight, Jason.

  2. You know what else is amazing? Page 94 of the Lyriq owner’s manual states: “To open the glove box, the vehicle must be stationary.” So if you’re driving with someone in the passenger seat, they can’t open the glove box at all, even if they’re smacking that touchscreen control. You need to pull over on the shoulder of the road and stop the car so that your passenger can get that grease-dotted McDonald’s napkin out of the glove box. FFS.

    And – AND – you have to MANUALLY close the glove box once you’re done with it. I mean, you need to submit a credit check and the results of your last colonoscopy to the infotainment panel in order to open the “futuristic” glove box, but then you have to use your hands to close it, like a poor.

    I mean, the entire fucking European Union voted to force Apple to use USB-C for the next iPhone, but we can’t get legislation to stop this touchscreen bullshit?! Forget abortion rights, forget fights about the border…THIS duck-dicked glove box fuckery needs to be the next hot-button topic for all politicians this November. If this doesn’t scream “bipartisan issue”, I don’t know what does.

  3. I just saw this in the owner’s manual on page 139: “The exterior lamp controls, also known as headlights, are in the Virtual Controls App on the infotainment home screen. Select Virtual Controls >
    Lights > Headlights.”

    So you can’t even turn on the headlights without using the touchscreen?!

  4. I think those designers for this should be REQUIRED to have a touchscreen set up in their home such that all toilet lids will ONLY open with a pressed touch pad button positioned by the home’s front door.

    See how long that lasts in their “modernized” home.

  5. It would be even more fun to try to open the glove box if you are using Android Auto or Car Play instead of the GM interface. You would have to add an extra step of figuring out how to get out of AA/CP and back into the GM UI, then try to remember how to find the glove box release.

  6. Automakers needs to justify the always-higher-than-before price tag when they put something new in the market, so they fill their cars with useless stuff, because most of the useful stuff is already there anyway.

    But I see that as market opportunity: there must be a way to activate the latch either by CAN bus or acting straight into the in the circuit. Maybe I will starting build buttons that fits the glovebox lid and and blend with the design, with battery backup. They won’t sell right now, but once these things start changing hands full of eletrical issues, they will go as hot cakes.

  7. This reminds me of a ‘smart’ lightbulb my gf installed in the lamp in her living room.

    Because it’s “smart”, I can’t just go over there and switch it on.

    No.

    To turn it on, she has to unlock her phone, open the app, turn it on in the app.

    Sometimes the stupid app needs to update itself before allowing her to turn it on.

    Her WIFI-connected “Smart” lightbulb is one of the dumbest and most poorly implemented applications of technology I’ve come across in a while. The only “benefit” it provides is it enables you to turn the light off and on even if you’re far away from home… to “scare away robbers and other baddies”

    LOL – as if…

    There are good versions of smart lightbulbs though… such as the ones I bought from Ikea that have a simple wireless controller that requires no WIFI. It’s a simple round button in the middle to turn it off and on and buttons along the side to control the brightness and hue.

    You can use an app to control it, but it’s optional.

    But I predict we will see more bad technology because many who don’t know any better get wowed by it (like my GF with her not-smart lightbulb) and buy it.

  8. The glovebox thing is awful, but I’m even more annoyed at one-pedal driving being buried in the same sub-menu, practically rendering it worthless. Volvo did the same on the XC40 EV I had for a couple days, and I just wouldn’t use it, rather than trying to toggle it on and off the screen when it seemed appropriate.

    1. There are things that are annoyingly being put into touch screens because it saves money (and space) to move a physical button to a screen, which sucks, but I understand.
      And then there’s this.

      1. Lots of things save money when moved to a touchscreen. But I don’t think that the glovebox latch is one of them. Sure, they didn’t need the handle. But they still need the latch, and they also need a solenoid or actuator, and a wire to said actuator, and they need a damper….

        Tesla made the Model 3 interior as a cost cut measure and sold it as the future.

        GM did this so they could try to be cool like Tesla.

    2. I was trying to think of things in a car that make sense to operate via a touchscreen. GPS/Navigation, yep, sure, definitely a good fit for a touchscreen. Media? Yes, for some uses, as long as I have buttons/knobs for the volume, and maybe skip track. Obscure vehicle setting, like switching from mph/kph or how long before it autolocks, again, all good.
      That’s it, I’d prefer everything else to be an actual physical controls, that I can operate without taking my eyes off the road.

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