It was a small part of a wider-ranging announcement, but Volkswagen is indeed ditching the capacitive touch buttons.
They’re supposed to look cool and feel futuristic, but most of the time these touch-sensitive buttons are just downright frustrating. As much as we’ve clamored about it, the owners who bolster Volkswagen’s bottom line cried foul even harder — and the automaker listened.
Company CEO Thomas Schäfer recently wrote a LinkedIn post laying out the brand’s ambitious in the coming years and its efforts aimed at “fulfilling the VW customer promise in every aspect”. A noteworthy part of that is building cars that are simpler to operate. To do that, he noted that they are dropping the capacitive touch buttons on their new steering wheels — a pain point of every modern VW from the new Golf to the ID.4 and the Atlas SUV, just to name a few.
“We are sharpening our portfolio and our design, plus creating a new simplicity in operating our vehicles. For example, we are bringing back the push-button steering wheel! That’s what customers want from Volkswagen.” Too right you are, Mr. Schäfer. In the same vein as Honda ditching its “slider” volume controls for actual buttons and knobs, so too has VW seen the light on at least some of their fussy controls.
Now, the announcement did not say when it’s going to happen. It’s likely, however, that we’ll see the capacitive button steering wheels phased out through the next round of refreshes and new model introductions.
As heartening as the news is, Schäfer did not mention VW’s other touch-sensitive controls throughout its cabins. The climate and infotainment controls on most of its cars use a similar approach, and they can be just as frustrating to use. We might have to live with those for a while longer — at least until customers keep complaining long enough to get those scrapped too.
Hey, at least it’s a small victory. “One thing is clear: We are continually working on offering our customers what they really want,” Schäfer wrote in the post. “#Volkswagen will be the love brand once more!” Part of that enthusiasm also focused on the brand’s EV goals (naturally). By 2026, VW aims to have ten new electric models on sale worldwide, in every “relevant” vehicle segment.