From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Advice: Put Ergonomics Ahead of Car Lust When Buying New Wheels

An article published recently in a Canadian newspaper concludes that living on a daily basis with something annoying “is about as much fun as drinking dishwater.” It summed up the case for placing car ergonomics ahead of car lust when choosing new wheels.

Learn a vehicle’s pros and cons before you buy, advises reporter Alan Sidorov in “Twists and Turns,” published on October 21 in the Winnipeg Press. The pros add up to user friendliness. The cons are annoyances. He suggests a long test drive to check for both before buying because ergonomic flaws are not simple to fix.

In years past drivers simply adapted to poor ergonomics, he explained, adding as an example that the unlit switches on the dashboard on his Dodge pickup were all but unmanageable.

He noted that we expect sound ergonomic design from vehicle makers these days but don’t always get it. In a 2005 Pontiac Montana he rented, a lurch and lag followed a manual downshift, and his right hand brushed the radio when he searched for a gear. He suggested some usability flaws are the price of a car’s peppy feel.

But move up market, and it may be possible to indulge car lust without sacrificing ergonomics. In manufacturers’ catalogs, user-friendliness is marketed as aggressively as style. Jaguar says its 2006 XK is “driver-focused and sporty, with excellent ergonomics and body-hugging seats, set low against the high waistline to give a strong