Forget Haptic Feedback – Jaguar Sees a Bright Future Ahead for Knobs

2016 Jaguar XJ interior - Image: JaguarYou don’t need to suffer from metathesiophobia to be uncomfortable with the wide variety of changes in the modern automotive industry.

Monostable shifters provide no firm detent when you’ve selected Drive, and often require a separate button for Park. Handbrakes that offer a level of modulation are quickly disappearing, replaced by electronic parking brakes. Touchscreens that require multiple menu steps — and seconds in which eyes are diverted from the road — are increasingly part and parcel of new car purchases at high and low price points.

Change is happening so fast and so often and in such unnecessary ways that there was much rejoicing when Honda revealed the 2018 Accord with both a volume and tuning knob, as if that was a bigger story than the dead V6, the discontinued coupe, and the seats being moved closer together to create an aura of space.

Fortunately, Jaguar will remain among the puritanical ranks. Jaguar will stick with the spartans. Jaguar will forego flashy transformations for the sake of primitive positioning. Jaguar’s climate controls will be operated via knobs for the foreseeable future. For old times’ sake.

Say what you will about the mama jaguar leading the baby jaguar across the forthcoming E-Pace’s windshield. Condemn Jaguar if you must for fleeing the persistent retro XJ design for the decidedly different X351 XJ styling since 2009. Question the necessity of adding excessive TVR-like boy racer addenda to the otherwise gorgeous F-Type sports car.

We can still all agree that Jaguar has a strong climate control knob game. In the world of upper-echelon climate control knob designs, Jaguar surely ranks near the top of the leaderboard. These knobs weren’t inherited from the fourth-gen Mustang during Jaguar’s tenure inside Ford Motor Company’s Premier Automotive Group.Jaguar F-Type SVR interior - Image: JaguarJaguar wants to keep it that way, AutoCar reports. While many automakers are positioning climate controls inside touchscreen infotainment units and many others utilize buttons to select higher and lower temperatures, Jaguar won’t adopt such new world tendencies.

“I’m a great believer in tactile controls with a mechanical feel,” Jaguar design director Ian Callum says. “It’s not quite right for Jaguar to have just touchscreens.”

Amen, brother. And so let it be.

[Images: Jaguar]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.