Multifunction “dynamic dials” in the brands’ newest models get even slicker. Christie Schweinsberg reports.

In the past few years, the humble dial has become an endangered species as automakers shift to touchscreens and other fingertip controls. Yet, Jaguar Land Rover is embracing the dial, showing knobs don’t have to be yester-tech and can coexist with fancy touchscreens.

“I love the rotaries because you can use them quickly and easily, which I think is so important in a car,” Ian Callum, design director for Jaguar, tells WardsAuto in an interview here. “I’m not a great lover of these giant touchscreens where you have to go through layers to find out how to move your seat around. I’ve been there, we’ve tried that. I think it’s much easier to push something, turn it and it’s done.”

Multifunction “dynamic dials,” with small screens inside the dial, are something Jaguar and Land Rover have been using and advancing on their centre stacks for roughly five years but, in the brands’ newest models, the dials get slicker. In the ’18 Range Rover Velar and the ’19 Jaguar I-Pace all-electric CUV, the dials control various in-vehicle functions depending on the displayed menu section of the touchscreen on which they reside.

For instance, on the Velar, a 2018 Wards 10 Best Interiors winner, the dials morph to control various HVAC functions when the touchscreen is on its climate page, including cabin temperature, fan speed and heated seats. Changing to a drive-mode settings page on the touchscreen makes the dial closest to the driver a drive-mode selector. The dials differ between Jaguar and Land Rover, with the Velar’s having an outer ring or doughnut, as Callum calls it, that moves independently of the centre screen, whereas the Jaguar dials have screens within the knob controller itself.

Callum and Andy Wheel, chief designer at Land Rover, say if there is any joint goal for both brands’ interiors it is simplification, which the dials help them achieve. This article first appeared in WardsAuto.

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