By Whitham D. Reeve, Reeve Engineers
My wife’s Lexus I-250 was designed by monkeys. The heating/air conditioning system has 10 buttons, most of them multifunctional and there is no memory for how they were previously set unless everything was turned off. It remembers that. However, the goofy icons on each button are recognizable only by monkeys. What do they mean? I have no idea, but I can tell you they
don’t mean what you think.
When you start the car and then want to turn on a little heat or a little air conditioning, the system usually starts up full-blast with a 1000 mile/hour fan. Once you get it under control it seems to work except that the temperature control is so far out of calibration that only a monkey
could like it.
This Lexus has Electronic Traction Control. The problem is the control is hidden so far down below the steering column that you have to duck your head to find it. This is not recommended when you’re driving, but when else would you want to change it? No matter because it doesn’t really work anyway. It has two settings - Snow and Performance. The Snow setting is useless on,
well, snow. There is a perceptible change in driving characteristics when you set it for Performance - the car speeds up.
The Lexus steering was designed by monkeys, too. If there is any unevenness in the road, small ruts or what-have-you, the car jerks you around while I tries to follow them. Most roadways have a little slope for drainage. Well, when the slope changes, even very slightly, the car takes off for the bushes or the oncoming lane (you never know which) and requires a lot of steering
wheel input to correct.