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Discussion Starter #1
I've owned a Metris for less than a week now and did something I've never done before- I filed a complaint with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The cruise control on the Metris is a slam dunk money maker for any product liability attorney that can find a client that suffered damages, or better yet injury since that's where the big money is at, by the very poor design of the cruise control. At best, the design of the cruise control stem and its associated software is irritating and wastes gas. At worst, its down right dangerous.

Here's what I stated in my complaint: The cruise control lacks a separate On/Off switch. When the cruise control stem is pull backward, the system is turned on/engaged, which is non standard for switches. When initially turned on, it activates at the speed of the vehicle. When the cruise control is turned off, then back on (without having turned off the engine) the vehicle will either accelerate or decelerate abruptly to the previously set speed. The cruise control stem is also located near the headlight dimmer switch on the left side of the steering column, which are both similar in size and feel. At night I exited an interstate highway in MT and had the cruise control set to 75 mph. I disengaged the cruise control as I exited the freeway. On a lighted street with a 30 mph speed limit, I realized my headlights were on bright so I used my left hand to dim the headlights, which dim by pulling the appropriate stem rearward. I mistakenly pulled the cruise control stem rearward, which immediately turn on/engaged to the cruise control and began to accelerate the van to 75 mph. I quickly turned the cruise control off, then dimmed the headlights. Rapid deceleration occurs, with no brake lights, when the cruise control is set at 40 mph, turned off, then turned on/engaged at 70 mph.

On a vehicle that is so well engineered and with so many great safety features, its utterly incomprehensible to me that such a set up was even designed, much less passed a safety review and got installed on this van. I've been in a large number of cars from many manufacturers and never seen a cruise control without a separate ON/Off and ENGAGE/DISENGAGE switches. I've never been in a vehicle that suddenly and unexpected accelerates or decelerates like this. Why is the cruise control engaged with a backward pull? That's against normal convention and confusing. Why is the cruise control switch on the left side of the column, close to the similarly shaped head light dimmer switch? And most idiotic and danger of all, why does it engage at a previous set speed????

Sure, its not going to compete with the Takata airbags for liability payouts, but the design of the cruise control stem and the associated software is seriously flawed from a safety perspective. It will be interesting to see how the issue is handled by the NHTSA and maybe even MB....
 

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OK, you don't like the cruise control and have filed a complaint with the NHTSA.

What would you consider to be a fair resolution to your complaint?
 

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Older MB cruise control do not have off-on switches either. I'll have to check my W126 560SEL this morning to see which way "resume" is on the stick. It may be that the CC is MB standard configuration.
 

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My B200 is of the same design and I quickly got used to it. Safety issue? Come on. That then becomes a user issue.
 
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If you push the lever away from you, it turns the CC off. The only fault I find is the the turn signal and CC levers are reversed from the usual positions of the other MB's that I have owned.
 

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You get used to it! Why are you pulling to engage 'turn on' cruise? I only pull if I'm sure I want to Resume Cruise Speed. All you have to do is Push Down ('turn on') when you want to engage cruise at your current speed. Then push toward dash to 'turn off'. Filing a NHTSA? I think you're way 'turned up'

I suspect someone in that office is passing around your complaint to co-workers on lunch break.

By the way, I love the tap up/down for 1+ or 1- increase/decrease cruise speed set, respectively...and the hold up/down for 5+ or 5 - mph .
 
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If your complaint mandates that from thence on cars have to have a switch to turn on the cruise control before you turn it on, I will hunt you down and kill you. Those switches are what make all the other systems so useless nobody uses the damned thing. Which means I find myself behind rubberbanding idiots on the highway, because nobody knows how to maintain a steady state speed!

Mercedes invented the functional cruise control stalk, and has used the exact same control logic since day 1. The only improvement was digitizing it a few years ago- pulling is not engage, its resume. It doesn't do anything if you haven't activated it by pushing accelerate (up) or decelerate (down). Cancelling is as easy as pushing away, or tapping the brake. Push up or down one step, speed goes up or down 1 mph, second step is 5. Car maintains that speed +\- 1 mph, even downhill.

You can drive a Benz with your feet flat on the floor! It's one of the cars best features, the cruise control. Also, those stalks are the same size and shape in the way Shaq O'Neil and Danny DeVito are the same size and shape!

Just reference for yourself that you reach under the spoke for cruise and over the spoke for the combination stalk.
 

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I checked out my W126 560SEL on the way to work today. Same operation as you described about. Millions of these cars have been sold and this is the first time I have ever heard this as a problem. Having said that, i set the cruise today when I was going about 70 and turned it back on at around 35. Word to the wise - you don't want to do that with a 5450cc powered car. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Grich- Four changes would resolve the issues:

1. Change the software or control program so that when the cruise control is reactivated, it is activated at the current speed of the vehicle, not at a previously set speed.
2. Whether people realize it or not, there are some standard norms for switches. Rotary switches, when turned clockwise, increase the parameters of the component controlled by that switch. A switch that moves in a vertical direction usually has On in the up direction; off is downward. A switch that moves in a horizontal direction usually has On in the forward position; off is rearward. All of the other switches and levers in the Metris conform to those widely accepted norms except the cruise control. The cruise control speed should be set with a forward push of the stem and disengaged with a rearward pull.
3. Put an On/Off push button switch on the end of the stem. Like how the windshield washer fluid pump is activated.
4. If those changes were made, this last one would be less important. Ideally the cruise control stem should be on the right side of the column so there is no possibility of confusing it with the headlight dimmer/washer/wiper control stem.

mb513, Road_Ghost, Howvood- this is the first MB that I've owned so I don't have any perspective on the controls on other models.

MOWO- Yes, I too love the different increments of speed change that can be attained by a larger vertical movement of the stem. That's a great feature and I would not want to see it changed. The vertical movement of the cruise control stem complies with normal conventions.

Greenmanedlion- I'm with you 100% on the buffoons that won't use their cruise control to maintain a constant speed! Yes, once engaged, the cruise control does an excellent job. My issues are not with the efficiency or effectiveness of the cruise control. I feel the the ergonomics and switchology (for lack of a better term) are the problem.

I spent 30 years in the military, 25 of which were as a helicopter pilot. Switchology is a huge issue in a tight cockpit filled with switches. It gets even more critical when you're on night vision googles and someone is shooting at you. I was a flight safety officer for a number of years. In the Air Force, this would be a Category 1 safety issue since the switch can result in unexpected acceleration or deceleration- the flying lingo would be uncommanded control inputs. Category 1 flight safety issues get top priority for engineering improvements/changes. Obviously the Metris isn't an aircraft and this isn't the military. But from a safety (and legal) stand point, my questions remain: Why is the cruise control engaged with a backward pull? That's against normal convention, confusing and distracting. Why is the cruise control switch on the left side of the column, close to the similarly shaped head light dimmer switch? That can easily result in a distraction while driving. Why does it engage at a previous set speed???? That's potentially dangerous.

My only goal is to have a cruise control switch that operates in a safe and conventional manner.
 

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There already is a switch to deactivate the cruise control and it will even light the brake lights as you desired in your first post. With a light tap on the brake pedal the cruise control will deactivate, the brake lights will light and you don't have to worry about "Rapid Deceleration".
 

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Grich- Four changes would resolve the issues:

1. Change the software or control program so that when the cruise control is reactivated, it is activated at the current speed of the vehicle, not at a previously set speed.
God forbid. I like that feature. I have to brake briefly for something, and all I have to do is flick a switch to get back to my pre-set speed. But then, don't all cars have a resume function?

2. Whether people realize it or not, there are some standard norms for switches. Rotary switches, when turned clockwise, increase the parameters of the component controlled by that switch. A switch that moves in a vertical direction usually has On in the up direction; off is downward. A switch that moves in a horizontal direction usually has On in the forward position; off is rearward. All of the other switches and levers in the Metris conform to those widely accepted norms except the cruise control. The cruise control speed should be set with a forward push of the stem and disengaged with a rearward pull.
Yes, there are standards. The standard for the modern automotive interior was laid out in 1971 in the Mercedes-Benz W116 S-class. Until the advent of color screen infotainment, practically every European and Asian car, plus most American products followed the layout, with a few exceptions. Except for some gosh-forsaken reason, they chose to not use the superior combination stalk, (which puts all drive relevant, wheel-held controls at your left hand) and put the window switches on the door (requiring you to remove your left hand from the wheel to open a window) instead of on the center console (right hand, shifting hand, radio control hand, the one you must occasionally take off the wheel anyway!). I don't know why they did this, I think it has to do with the fact that the Japanese drive on the wrong side of the road. Or something. I still am pissed that Mercedes eventually gave in on window switch location.

3. Put an On/Off push button switch on the end of the stem. Like how the windshield washer fluid pump is activated.
No. Stupid. There is already a switch. We are not toddlers who need to be able to push two-buttons in sequence to operate stuff.

4. If those changes were made, this last one would be less important. Ideally the cruise control stem should be on the right side of the column so there is no possibility of confusing it with the headlight dimmer/washer/wiper control stem.
No, all controls for operation of the vehicle with the wheel hand should be on the left side. This allows a much bigger safety issue to be avoided- I'd much rather accidentally switch on the cruise control for a moment than shift gears accidentally.

mb513, Road_Ghost, Howvood- this is the first MB that I've owned so I don't have any perspective on the controls on other models.
I have driven Mercedes-Benz vehicles almost exclusively over the course of my life. Except for switching the vertical positioning of the headlight and cruise switches (not sure why they did this), and the aforementioned adaptation of window switches onto the doors, this control layout has been the same for 46 years- since the debut of the layout on the W116.

Greenmanedlion- I'm with you 100% on the buffoons that won't use their cruise control to maintain a constant speed! Yes, once engaged, the cruise control does an excellent job. My issues are not with the efficiency or effectiveness of the cruise control. I feel the the ergonomics and switchology (for lack of a better term) are the problem.

I spent 30 years in the military, 25 of which were as a helicopter pilot. Switchology is a huge issue in a tight cockpit filled with switches. It gets even more critical when you're on night vision googles and someone is shooting at you. I was a flight safety officer for a number of years. In the Air Force, this would be a Category 1 safety issue since the switch can result in unexpected acceleration or deceleration- the flying lingo would be uncommanded control inputs. Category 1 flight safety issues get top priority for engineering improvements/changes. Obviously the Metris isn't an aircraft and this isn't the military. But from a safety (and legal) stand point, my questions remain: Why is the cruise control engaged with a backward pull? That's against normal convention, confusing and distracting. Why is the cruise control switch on the left side of the column, close to the similarly shaped head light dimmer switch? That can easily result in a distraction while driving. Why does it engage at a previous set speed???? That's potentially dangerous.

My only goal is to have a cruise control switch that operates in a safe and conventional manner.
That is my goal as well. But you got it backwards- all the other systems are basically stupid. When you turn something off in a panic, you swat at it. Push it away from you. Therefore, off is forward. A pulling motion is less panicked, therefore its how you turn it on. Mercedes, BMW, and VWAG have been praised internationally for the efficiency of their controls ergonomically- in fact, it was those three companies, Mercedes in particular, who invented automotive ergonomics. Prior to the safety studies by Mercedes and Volvo in the late 60s and early 70s, controls were generally placed where they were most convenient for the manufacturer, rather than the driver.

Personally, I am not sure why you think that you can find such an ergonomic flaw so early in ownership. You get used to varied designs over time. This design is not a flaw, or a safety issue. You just don't happen to be used to using it. Mercedes has been using this basic set of operations for their cars for nearly 50 years. A real safety issue would be if they were to reverse off and on to what you think is standard- given they have the highest ownership loyalty in the industry, I think that would be something of a disaster, don't you? I've had a 1976 240D, which didn't have cruise control at all. Every other car I've owned (1982 240D, 1985 300D, 1985 300TD, 1995 C220, 1995 E300 Diesel, 1979 300SD, 2005 ML350 (http://www.metrisforum.com/forum/337-off-topic-discussion/2466-cars-lifetime-post-yours.html) had this exact cruise control logic.

Actually, when MB designed this system in 1971, were factory cruise control systems that were actually integrated even common?
 

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Despite doing a test drive and trying out all its functions, you still proceeded to purchase the Metris anyway? Or was the cruise control design not detrimental enough to deter you from the purchase?

I know I would never buy a modern Ford because of the MyTouch and digital dash.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I suspected that this thread would bring out some strong opinions, which is fine. My views are based on my experiences, which I realize are quite different than those of other people. I will say that no one will EVER convince me that a switch that can result in unexpected acceleration or deceleration isn't bad design/engineering.

Yes, I've only owned my Metris for a week. I live in Alaska and they are not sold up here so I bought one in Denver and drove it up in 5 days. I'm quite certain its the first one in Alaska since the AK Division of Motor Vehicles had to add a new model code when I registered it. The data display from the trip showed about 3200 miles in 52 hours of driving, which equates to an average speed of about 61 mph or 98 kph in Canada. The cruise control was on 90 to 95% of the time since there were not many urban areas along the way. So I do have quite a bit of experience with the cruise control, albeit in a short period of time.... and a sore butt!

OBTW, my mileage was just under 26 mpg for the entire trip which was great. A couple of gas stations that I stopped at in Canada did not have premium fuel so I used regular gasoline, 87 octane. It did not seem to affect the mileage at all.
 

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Wass that calculated mpg's or what the dash said. To different values.

BTW. I also just bought my Metris van a week ago and the first time I drove one was after the sale was finalized and at night on my way home on streets and freeways that I don't know. First time I signal to change lanes on the freeway, I hit the cruise control by accident. When it started to accelerate, I used the optional pedal to the left of the accelerator to cancel the cruise control, like on all other cars. Te acceleration was not near neck snapping AMG stile and nothing bad happened. Since it was late and I didn't want to spend to much time at the dealer, nobody explain the functions to me.

Needless to say, now I know what is what and it never happened again. The lever for the cruise control is so much shorten than the turn signal / lights lever that I don't know how it can be a problem. Maybe it is because I am used to simple cars and not a 1000 dials in my cockpit.

Was it annoying the first time, yes. Is it a safety issue, definitely not. Just my 2 cents.
 

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I absolutely love the Metris' cruise control. I've never had a vehicle that could hold a set speed so accurately. The 1 and 5 mph incremental settings (up or down) are a stroke of genius. I especially like the fact that it will hold the set speed even while descending a steep grade instead of freewheeling up to dangerous speeds. I have quickly gotten used to the quirky (to a first time MB owner) cruise control switch gear. All in all, I feel the OP's complaint is much ado about nothing. No personal offense intended.
Dave
 

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I've owned a Metris for less than a week now and did something I've never done before- I filed a complaint with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The cruise control on the Metris is a slam dunk money maker for any product liability attorney that can find a client that suffered damages, or better yet injury since that's where the big money is at, by the very poor design of the cruise control. At best, the design of the cruise control stem and its associated software is irritating and wastes gas. At worst, its down right dangerous.

Here's what I stated in my complaint: The cruise control lacks a separate On/Off switch. When the cruise control stem is pull backward, the system is turned on/engaged, which is non standard for switches. When initially turned on, it activates at the speed of the vehicle. When the cruise control is turned off, then back on (without having turned off the engine) the vehicle will either accelerate or decelerate abruptly to the previously set speed. The cruise control stem is also located near the headlight dimmer switch on the left side of the steering column, which are both similar in size and feel. At night I exited an interstate highway in MT and had the cruise control set to 75 mph. I disengaged the cruise control as I exited the freeway. On a lighted street with a 30 mph speed limit, I realized my headlights were on bright so I used my left hand to dim the headlights, which dim by pulling the appropriate stem rearward. I mistakenly pulled the cruise control stem rearward, which immediately turn on/engaged to the cruise control and began to accelerate the van to 75 mph. I quickly turned the cruise control off, then dimmed the headlights. Rapid deceleration occurs, with no brake lights, when the cruise control is set at 40 mph, turned off, then turned on/engaged at 70 mph.

On a vehicle that is so well engineered and with so many great safety features, its utterly incomprehensible to me that such a set up was even designed, much less passed a safety review and got installed on this van. I've been in a large number of cars from many manufacturers and never seen a cruise control without a separate ON/Off and ENGAGE/DISENGAGE switches. I've never been in a vehicle that suddenly and unexpected accelerates or decelerates like this. Why is the cruise control engaged with a backward pull? That's against normal convention and confusing. Why is the cruise control switch on the left side of the column, close to the similarly shaped head light dimmer switch? And most idiotic and danger of all, why does it engage at a previous set speed????

Sure, its not going to compete with the Takata airbags for liability payouts, but the design of the cruise control stem and the associated software is seriously flawed from a safety perspective. It will be interesting to see how the issue is handled by the NHTSA and maybe even MB....
This is standard for Mercedes vans— been this way for years!! Many cars have same setup— works fine if you read owners manual before operating the vehicle AND if you PAY ATTENTION to what you are doing— NEVER been a issue for me and other friends with these setups— in fact, it works wonderfully for slowing down for in town speed limits— simply pull down first stage for 1 mph changes, pull down to 2 Nd stage for 5 mph decrease— it is so easy to change speed this way!! Pull hard twice and it is braking to slow down 10 mph WITH BRAKE LIGHTS ON!!
 

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The Metris CC stalk is very similar to the ones that came in my Porsche cars. I loved the CC stalk in the Porsche cars.

My Hellcat uses buttons on the steering wheel. Always have to look to make sure I press the right button.

My MINI JCW had steering wheel CC buttons too. On the other side of the wheel of course. All my Porsche cars had the stalk and in the same location.

The JCW CC had a two stage increase/decrease speed button operation. Press "lightly" and get a 1mph increase. Press harder and get a 5mph increase, rounded up to the nearest 5mph speed. The decrease speed button operated the same way albeit speed was decreased by 1mph or 5mph depending upon how hard one pressed the button. My Porsche car CC didn't even that.

Even before the Metris I used the CC all the time. The Metris stalk though is a dream to operate vs the **** buttons style of CC.
 

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I use cc most of the time. Once it's set, toggling off and on is great. My main complaint is that it sets the speed to what the car thinks its doing and that's 3 or 4 km/h less than the actual speed so if want to go from 70 to 80, I have to do a hard up (to the next multiple of 10, not by 10) followed by 3 soft ups. Going from 80 to 70 (since it thinks it's doing 83) means doing a hard down followed by 7 soft downs or two hard downs (causing it to brake) followed by 3 soft ups. What I usually do is accelerate or coast to the speed I want (by GPS) and do a soft up or down.
I wish they could adjust the speedometer... I'm using the tires it came with so that shouldn't be the problem. Also, I used to use the turn signal by mistake but I'm getting much better at that.
 
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