sedan Archives - HighTechDad


Post image for Auto Design Tip: Put Volume Controls on the Left Side of Steering Wheel

I have a little pet peeve about the way some car manufacturers lay out the steering wheel controls. While I remember the day when a steering wheel was just that, a round thing to turn the car. Now it seems that a huge amount of controls are now embedded throughout the steering wheel. You have cruise controls, audio controls, paddle shifters, phone controls, menu controls…you get it, lots of controls. The concept is to make important controls at hands reach, well, right where your hands should be. Honestly, it’s almost becoming overloaded with the controls. That’s fine, but I have one request to car designers and manufacturers. Put the volume controls on the left side of the steering wheel!

Jaguar - Volume Controls on Left

The Jaguar has the volume controls on the Left


I have test driven a number of vehicles and I feel the steering wheel design is something that needs to be carefully considered by any buyer. Is it comfortable (I prefer wheels that are a bit thicker), does it have the core controls (cruise, media and phone controls), and can it be adjusted (up/down and forward/back)? Then you need to look at the layout to see if it is intuitively laid-out. And this is where my complaint about the positioning of the volume controls comes into play. But remember, this is my opinion…your mileage may differ.

Why Volume Controls Should Be on the Left

[click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

Post image for Tight Design & Performance Complete the 2012 Audi A4 Quattro

After test driving the 2012 Audi A4 Quattro for 7 days, I had one word that pretty much summed up everything about this car – “tight.” From the exterior body panels to the interior knobs and controls to the smooth, yet powerful engine, every little aspect of the A4 Quattro maps to this word. I really enjoyed my time with this vehicle and it was definitely hard to part with it.


The model that I tested was the S-Line/Prestige model which is a 6-speed manual transmission (much to the dismay of my wife who couldn’t give it a test drive) so I was able to monopolize the A4 for a full 7 days. This was the first time I had ever driven an Audi and wasn’t sure what to expect. The engine is turbocharged and it’s an all-wheel drive. Gas mileage is estimated at 21 city and 31 highway. I averaged about 23-25 mpg for a combination of driving types which is decent for a performance vehicle like this.


From the exterior, the A4 was pretty unassuming, my model being a bright, clean “Ibis white” color on the outside and the interior carefully cloaked in luxurious black “S-line” leather. From the second I reached for the handle on the A4 and had the door automatically unlock simply because I had the keyless keyfob in my pocket to racing on down the road, quickly shifting smoothly through the gears, I knew that I was going to like this vehicle.

[click to continue…]


Post image for Review of the 2012 Buick Regal GS – Definitely NOT your Grandpa’s Sedan

For some reason, Buick’s seem to have this odd stereotype of being a car that your grandparents cruise around in with the left blinker permanently on. They were lackluster and pretty conservative. The 2012 Buick Regal GS runs over that stereotype in all of its 270 horsepower, 6-speed manual, Brembo brakes, curvy lines glory, making this non-grandfather want to hold up a sign stating – “Buick’s are not for grandpas any more!” as I hurtle down the road.

Buick has definitely come a long way from its conservative sedans and while the Regal GS is technically a sedan, it definitely is not conservative, nor boring for that matter! I spent 10 days test driving the Regal GS and at the end of my tour, the Regal had won me over. This 6-speed manual transmission delivered fun performance off the line, despite it not being a rear-wheel drive. I hadn’t driven a stick-shift in over 15 years but I slipped right into shifting smoothly within just a few minutes. The Regal is peppy and, if you can rev and shift at the right speed, can quickly hit 60 MPH in about 7 seconds. You do shift through 1st and 2nd gears pretty quickly, but after that, you pretty much forget about the fact that you are driving a manual transmission – but why would you ever do that? Manuals are fun, they keep you attentive, you get better gas mileage (unless you really like accelerating hard like I do) and they keep you from messing with your smartphone when you drive.


The Regal is truly a car that any dad would have fun driving. There, I said it. It is a family car, but I would say that it is now a much more younger generation type of car because of its styling and aggressive design. When it’s just sitting, it looks like it is in motion, or at least ready to go, with air scoops, large (19″) sport profile tires, and sloping windshield. But you really get the performance when you get behind the wheel, are bolstered by the 8-way power seats, and put the GS in gear and head down the road.


[click to continue…]