Friday, April 12, 2013

Cadillac User Experience (CUE) infotainment system. Can we bring back knobs?

Can we bring back knobs?

I had fun with my week's test drive of the 2013 Cadillac ATS.

The Cadillac User Experience (CUE) infotainment system was the only drawback and Cadillac is making changes, to improve it.

Cadillac ATS

Here's what the Cadillac User Experience (CUE) infotainment system looks like:

Cadillac ATS CUE
Steering wheel and Dash

Cadillac ATS CUE
CUE controls

See? No knobs. Are the silver escarpments supposed to allow me to keep my eyes on the road?

Doesn't really work for me.

The Cadillac User Experience (CUE) infotainment system controls almost everything.

Let's take a look at a couple of examples.

Carol and Steve in the Car
Getting serious about the test drive.

When I was able to enter the address I wanted, the navigation worked well and had some nice features, like allowing the driver to change the perspective of the view, and even enable 3D viewing, although not the kind that requires 3D glasses.

I did have some trouble finding points of interest.

Video: Hey the radio turned on!

The tactile touch screen itself was sometimes sluggish and other times the computer brain behind it, thought it was smarter than me.

When trying to enter something with more than one word, New Balance, when I tried to press the SPACE BAR, it didn't seem to register, but after pressing it over and over, I noticed that [GO] was highlighted in GREEN, meaning that it was time for me to press go and stop typing.

Cadillac ATS CUE
Example of the [GO] button

When I did this, and a search list showed up with results we weren't looking for, my wife resorted to using Google on her Andriod phone to get the specific address in seconds.

Cadillac User Experience (CUE) infotainment system
Example of search result for 'New'

I tried this a second time and it did find New Balance. Not sure what was happening the first time.

I searched around and found out that some of these problems have been addressed.

Cadillac CUE Update Coming Soon:
Rounding out the updates is a mild reworking of the navigation functionality. While mapping data will remain the same, the system has been tweaked to display more street names, and the logic behind destination routing has been revamped.

Cadillac Working on Fix for Its Laggy, Unresponsive CUE Infotainment System:
Cadillac’s VP of marketing Don Butler says that consumer feedback to CUE has been “overwhelmingly positive,” but “some things, like responsiveness, we continue to work on.”

“We had to take that bold step, and as an innovator and as a leader, that’s always the risk we have to take,” says Butler. “You might move to a place that might be uncomfortable for a lot of users.”

That comfort level is something Cadillac is looking into, with Butler admitting that a hybrid approach – using both touchscreens and traditional knobs and dials – is in the cards for future vehicles.

“Is there supplementation for mechanical controls? Yes, that’s something you’ll be seeing in the future,” says Butler.

The radio is very nice and the sound system is brilliant. I loved cranking it up really really loud. I also discovered the joys of HD radio. I thought HD radio was a gimmick, but found some great HD stations in the Boston area.

I also had fun with Sirius XM.

Cadillac ATS CUE

Cadillac ATS CUE

Using the voice recognition made controlling the radio easier.

Check the video:

The steering wheel also had volume controls on the left, and seek buttons to the right. The seek buttons were a little harder to get to with your hand on the steering wheel.

Cadillac ATS CUE
Steering wheel controls

It took me a week to find out how to use the fader control.

I knew the car was being picked up on it's last day of my test drive, so I was determined to figure out how to fade the radio from the fron to the back. Usually it's as easy as moving a knob. Not with the CUE system.

I resorted to looking it up in the manuals. Couldn't find out how to do it.

So I sat in the car, in the driveway, in the rain, stead fast in my quest to figure it out.

Finally, I happened across the solution.

You have to go to the TONE SETTINGS menu. Not intuitive.

Cadillac ATS CUE

Once in there, I could adjust the BALANCE and FADER.

Cadillac ATS CUE

I was sad to see the car go.

Bottom line, the Cadillac ATS made driving fun again.

In my first video I said I wasn't a big fan of driving.

After a week with the ATS, I looked forward to taking it out for a ride.

So much fun.

Cadillac ATS

Photos and Videos taken with Samsung Galaxy Camera EK-GC100.

Thanks @SamsungMobileUS for the review unit.

Samsung Galaxy Camera EK-GC100 8GB White, Android OS, v4.1 (Jelly Bean) 3G Unlocked HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 by Samsung from New Generation Products

GM Disclosure:


GM provided me with a 2013 Cadillac ATS to test for a week. The car came with a full tank of gas and insurance coverage. I was not asked to write anything about the car in exchange for the opportunity and was not provided any other compensation of any kind. All opinions I express regarding the Cadillac ATS are my own.

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