More recently I got to test the Honda e. At first glance, it follows a different approach than the Porsche, but during my review I came across design execution that appears to expose a critical flaw in the engineers’ thinking.
In the Honda e, there is a clear separation of functions between the driver and the passenger; on the driver’s side, there are the options for phone, navigation, smartphone connection and a Honda personal assistant. On the passenger side, the options include FM, HDMI, general settings, and Bluetooth audio. Effectively, they went much further than Porsche by really thinking about what functions would be relevant for passenger vs. driver.
However, once you want to turn on the radio while driving without a passenger, you quickly notice the fatal flaw in the design: There is no convenient way to access these functions in the head unit. Instead, users must click through a finnicky text-scroll menu for everything that is not one of the six main options in their menu. Instead of using this cumbersome route, it feels easier to lean over to the passenger screen to access functions that Honda thought would only be relevant for the passenger. So, Honda has built a system that only works with a passenger – better plan to pick up a hitchhiker if you want to listen to music from the radio while driving.
Additionally, if you do not want the passenger to access functions in your system (there is no limit to which functions they can access here), you cannot disable the screen – so also bring a long stick to keep their hands of your ACC settings.