Poll: What Do You Think About Ford Phasing Out Physical Climate Controls?

In recent years, a number of automakers – including Ford – have been working diligently to phase out physical controls of all sorts, including those that control climate features, specifically. Instead, those same controls have been moving to the infotainment screens of newer vehicles – in some cases, they stay clearly visible and easy to reach on those screens at all times, though in other cases, one has to click through at least a menu or two to find them. Needless to say, this change has proven to be quite controversial with consumers.

In fact, there are many vehicle owners and even critics that have spoken out on multiple occasions about the disappearance of physical climate controls, claiming that this is a safety issue more than anything else. After all, it’s generally easy to adjust physical climate controls without taking one’s eyes off the road, at least, once we get used to their location. When those same controls are buried behind multiple menus on a screen, well, that’s a different story.

This is something that owners of newer versions of vehicles like the Ford Mustang Mach-E

, the Ford Mustang, Ford Escape, Lincoln Nautilus, and Ford Explorer have had to contend with, though interestingly enough, some automakers – like Volkswagen – intend to bring back physical controls. Additionally, in 2026, Europe’s New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) will require that new vehicles have a certain amount of physical controls present to earn its top safety rating, to boot.

Thus, all of this controversy raises an important question – what do you, Ford Authority reader, think about The Blue Oval’s migration toward digital climate controls and away from physical ones? Is this something that you don’t necessarily mind and tend to get the hang of after a while, or do you find yourself taking your eyes off the road to do simple things like change the fan speed or temperature inside a vehicle? Let us know how you feel in the poll below!

We’ll have more on Ford’s migration to soft-touch controls soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for 24/7 Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

Brett Foote

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  • I just bought a 2022 Ford edge. Most of you know is a 12 inch screen. I have exactly 2 knobs and six physical buttons rewind, play, fast-forward. Like WTF!? There’s not even a CD. I’d rather have a max AC Or heated seat button. Ford really needs to think What’s most important?

      • 12 inch screen, AWD, 3500 towing, heated steering wheel and seats, lane centering, panoramic sunroof, wireless charging, more room that my fusion. The list goes on what’s your concern?

    • 2018 was the last year for CD players if that's what your alluding to. But does no one remember the "haptic" controls that Ford experimented with? Screens crash; buttons and knobs do not. My 2018 Fiesta SE (bought new), has all I need. Knobs, buttons, a CD player (!), good speakers, great AC and heat, SoundScreen windows that provide a quieter ride (and also a 5spd MT.) I get the impression from Mr. Farley that he's "dancing as fast as he can" given the EV messes. But for real determination to destroy a company, read up on the latest on Chrysler and the Auburn Hills Tech center... I grew up in Detroit and I'm more than a little pessimistic.

    • I have a 2020 Edge with the previous 8” screen and it has no CD player. I think 19 was the last year they had them. I don’t miss it either, since it’s not 1997 anymore.

  • SOME physical controls are nice to still have in a vehicle, but I'm not against the screens in general.

    Personally, I think the bigger screw up is making so many of these screens look like some high school kid glued them onto the dash of his 1998 Honda Civic. Take the time and effort to incorporate these screens into the dash naturally.

  • I hate it. I love that GM is adding redundant physical controls in addition to its stylish touchscreens.

    • Well that's nice to know. Maybe I'll look there next time, but wait Mary is getting rid of Android Auto.... Can't win

  • Here's a &^%$ good reason to NOT have all "infotainment" based controls. My Maverick just had a problem (solved with a Ford TSB but I lived with it for a bit until we could figure it out) where the screen woke up BLACK. Nothing on it. ONLY the last radio station playing, no other infotainment screen actions available. So, NO THANK YOU. NOBODY gets the software correct all the time so STOP TRYING TO! Leave the buttons and switches as is.

    • Just had a 14" PC screen go black. At least they are set up for an external monitor to keep on trucking! Its going to happen to vehicles with no backup.

  • Quit designing for teenagers. They don't buy cars/trucks. We oldsters buy the vehicles. Totally confused with the controls. Not even classes to demonstrate and who wants that crap anyway.

    • I'm 30 and find touchscreens on cars incredibly simple and limited compared to any smartphone. The fact you think CLASSES would be necessary for this elementary level of interaction with a career is really concerning to hear. Stop letting life sunset you and yelling at change. Embrace it and learn, because the only constant in life is change.

      To be clear, I agree with physical knobs being the superior option in terms of safety, but this level of entitlement and whining continues to define you "oldsters '

      • Why? Why do we always need to be disrespectful. If your lucky you will live long enough and you to will dislike when life change. Jim continue to whine my friend, And may the force be with you.

        • Aren't you older generations supposed to be less sensitive and not afraid of confrontation? Really thought, what specifically do you find disrespectful?

          I genuinely find it concerning someone suggests that classes would be necessary to operate a car with touchscreens that mind you children are able to learn and master. This person operates a 2 ton machine capable of killing pedestrians... Their comment makes me think they may need to lose their license.

          I also genuinely believe change is unavoidable and inevitable and will happen whether you or I like it or not. The sooner you accept and embrace this, the more content with life you can be.

  • Physical controls for the most commonly used things are much better than screens. Screens are not as responsive, occasionally requiring more than one press to accomplish something. Additionally, there is no feedback like physical controls, so you end up taking your eyes off the road to look at the screen to make sure you accomplished what you wanted.

    I am not opposed to screens for infotainment purposes, but HVAC and other commonly used controls should remain physical.

    We'll be in the market for a new vehicle later this year. The Ford Explorer was originally at the top of my list, as I was looking forward to the 2025 refresh. But, the lack of physical controls along with the ridiculous price ($58K just to equip one with features I've had on vehicles going back to 1997) are turnoffs and may have us look at other brands for the first time.

  • Searching the screen while traveling is a distraction you touch one area not what you want you look again maybe touch right spot especially fan control on 2021 edge not real good layout in screen

  • I don't mind having climate control options on the screen but physical controls will always be my first choice. Its much simpler once you are familar with the physical contols and far less distracting than having to read a screen.