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Nobody agrees how the screen in your dashboard should work

Here are all the screens from the New York Auto Show

Photography by Amelia Holowaty Krales

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Car manufacturers showed off new hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles, more sophisticated autonomous driving features, and at least one dog-centric vehicle at this year’s New York Auto Show, but what about the screens that we at The Verge love? In our ScreenDrive series we review cars’ screens, and this year’s show gave us a preview of what to expect from displays over the next year.

You would think after nearly a decade of screens existing in cars, manufacturers would have come to some sort of consensus on what user interface works best, but that’s not the case. Some manufacturers think drivers want knobs and buttons to control their displays, others think touchscreens are the only way, and others even forego both for a regular screen paired with a touchpad. All these displays run proprietary software, too. It’s dizzying.

The star of the show this year, at least as far as innovative screens go, was the Range Rover Velar. The company decided to add an extra center display to its vehicle in order to make navigating screens easier. This seems counterintuitive, but maybe it’ll work? We went around the show and checked out some new display offerings to give you a sense of the options that exist. Check them out below.

Range Rover Velar

The new Velar features two 10-inch main console touchscreens. The top one shows the stuff you’ll access most, like navigation, your phone, and media. The bottom is primarily for climate control, both in the vehicle and for the seats, as well as vehicle settings. The car also includes a heads-up display and a 12.3-inch electronic instrument cluster. An Intel quad core processor powers everything. Range Rover doesn’t support Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, so hopefully you’re comfortable with the company’s proprietary software. Hopefully you like fingerprints, too, because if the Auto Show is any indication, the Velar’s screens will collect a ton.

Cadillac 2018 CT6

Cadillac debuted its Tesla Autopilot competitor at the show, called Super Cruise. It’s part of the CT6, which features a 10-inch center console display that’s controlled through a touchpad. The 10-inch screen isn’t all that exciting, but the rearview mirror that displays the rearview camera’s view is nifty. The C6 also features a HUD and an electronic instrument cluster.

Honda Odyssey

Families appreciate touchscreens, too. The 2018 Honda Odyssey includes an eight-inch touchscreen display with redesigned software that’s meant to resemble a phone. The screen itself is pretty unextraordinary, although two new features, CabinTalk and CabinWatch are novel. CabinWatch lets a driver see what’s happening in the back two rows of the car. You can pinch to zoom in, too. CabinTalk lets the driver talk to the back seats either through the speakers or directly into the passengers’ headphones.

Volkswagen Atlas

The new VW Atlas has two options for upgraded displays: a nine-inch touchscreen or an eight-inch touchscreen with built-in knobs. The car also features a new 12.3-inch electronic cockpit, which the company sees as making a luxury car feature more affordable. The Atlas starts at $33,500.

Lexus LC 500 and LS 500

You probably aren’t buying a Lexus for its displays, but the company’s still thinking about them. The LC 500 features a 10.3-inch display that’s controlled by a touchpad. It is not a touchscreen, so don’t even try. The pad takes some getting used to, but its haptic feedback is helpful in figuring out where to click.

The LS 500 features a larger 12.3-inch display that’s also paired with the touchpad. It also has a 24-inch color heads-up display — that’s massive.