A joystick that doesn’t bring joy

This week has a 2017 Lexus GS 200t in my driveway, and while there are many admirable qualities about this full-size luxury sedan, its infotainment system isn’t one of them. It’s called the Lexus Enform system, and it’s been around for a while. It relies on a joystick-like controller to scroll and click through menus. The system helps guide the joystick to menu buttons and selectable options like the planchette on an Ouija board.

Making the situation worse is the menu layout within the infotainment system due to a cluttered-looking screen with fonts of varying sizes. But the worst grievance by far is imputing addresses into the navigation system. It just takes too much patience and time. Thankfully, voice commands are able to help. On the other hand, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are nowhere to be found.

Continue reading for more information.

There Is Still Plenty To Like

The Lexus GS 200t's Infotainment System is its Weak Point Interior
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The Lexus Enform system works, but it’s not the most intuitive infotainment system on the market, or the most capable

Admittedly, I’ve gotten pretty good at using the Enform system and its controller over the years thanks to the numerous Lexus vehicles I’ve tested, but its learning curve is rather steep. While familiarity makes for an easier time, car shoppers might be detracted by its initial complexity, and new owners might have to break out the owner’s manual before fully understanding its functions.

The Enform system does have some redeeming traits, though. Its large, 12.3-inch display is handsome, and the split-screen view within some menu pages is a nice touch. Navigation maps view full screen is also pretty attractive. I’m also happy Lexus didn’t bury the HVAC controls within Enform. Rather, the most used functions get their own buttons on the dash.

The Lexus GS 200t's Infotainment System is its Weak Point Interior
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Lexus also did a great job at making the joystick feel nice in your hand

Lexus also did a great job at making the joystick feel nice in your hand. The leather-wrapped palm pad is curved just right, and the joystick falls nicely at the fingertips.

One helpful trick that makes using the joystick more tolerable is adjusting the force-feedback function. It’s basically turning down the “planchette’s pull” and making it not so strong when gravitating to different menu buttons. The adjustment is made in the settings menu and is one of the first changes I make in every Lexus tester.

Here’s the thing: the Lexus Enform system works, but it’s not the most intuitive infotainment system on the market, or the most capable. Lexus has some ground to make up in this department, though the rest of the GS is rather impressive.

I’ll be writing more on the 2017 Lexus GS 200t in the coming week, so stick around to TopSpeed.com for more.

References

Lexus GS

2016 Lexus GS High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2017 Lexus GS.

2016 Lexus GS F High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2017 Lexus GS F.

Why is Lexus Charging $1,400 for Heated Seats on a $47k Car? Interior
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Why is Lexus Charging $1,400 for Heated Seats on a $47k Car?

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