Cars and SUVs With the Easiest Controls for Drivers

Not Everyone Likes (or wants) a Touchscreen

The old acronym of K.I.S.S.—“Keep It Simple Stupid” pointed out that sometimes there are limits to teaching and technology and what people really want. And no better example can be made than with some car and SUV models that are overly complicated and can be a distraction while driving, according to a recent Consumer Reports newsletter

Simple controls—especially ones that you can use by gripping a knob or feeling a button—are easier to use without taking your eyes off the road,” says Kelly Funkhouser, CR’s manager for vehicle technology.

Touchscreens require drivers to focus on the screen, search for where to place a finger, and then try to tap that spot. This can be difficult while driving down a bumpy road.”

Cars with the Easiest-to-Use Controls

To help consumers seeking cars with comfort, style, and performance—but are not overly complicated—CR analysts have come up with their recommendations they found that actually “…balance function and form without skimping on features, comfort, or style,” with this selection of cars possessing the easiest-to-use controls in four categories to meet the needs of most car shoppers.


Honda CR-V 2023
Price Range: $28,410 – $35,760
CR MPG: Overall 26 / City 19 / Hwy 33 mpg
Rated #2 of 28 Compact sport-utility vehicles

Honda went back to basics when it designed the controls on the new Civic, HR-V, and CR-V. “Nearly all the physical controls are where you expect them,” says Alex Knizek, an automotive engineer at CR.

Alternative choices: Toyota Camry, Ford Maverick


Audi A3 2023
Price Range: $35,400 – $46,800
CR MPG: Overall 31 / City 20 / Hwy 44 mpg
Rated #2 of 6 Luxury entry-level cars

Today, luxury brands show off with big screens, which are all the rage. But Audi bucks that trend with the A3, which has the most straightforward interior we’ve encountered in a modern luxury vehicle,” say CR analysts.

Alternative choice: Acura Integra


Nissan Leaf 2023
Price Range: $28,040 – $36,040
CR MPGE: Overall 104 / City 114 / Hwy 94 mpge
Rated #9 of 62 Electric vehicles

Despite being an EV, it has nice analog touches with “… knobs for tuning and volume, buttons for all climate functions, and easy steering wheel controls,” says Consumer Reports.

Alternative choices: Genesis GV60, Kia Niro EV


Chevrolet Traverse 2023
Price Range: $34,520 – $54,200
CR MPG: Overall 20 / City 14 / Hwy 28 mpg
Rated #5 of 20 Midsized sport-utility vehicles 3-row

The three-row Traverse has a simple audio system with a volume knob, a traditional lever-style gear selector, and knobs and buttons for climate control functions. A big, physical Home button helps you easily escape any confusing touchscreen menus,” states CR analysts who also point out that “…even the most feature-laden trim level is still easy to use” in this make and model.

Alternative choices: Kia Carnival, Subaru Ascent

And finally…

For additional articles related to CR-recommended vehicles that have features or other needs shoppers want, here are a few for your consideration:

Consumer Reports’ Top-Rated Hybrid Vehicles

Best Tire Values Rated by Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports Popular Midsized Sedans to Avoid and What to Buy Instead

Timothy Boyer is Torque News automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites for daily new and used vehicle news.

COMING UP NEXT: Why Buying a Used Toyota in 2023 Might Be a Bad Idea

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