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The 2020 Ford Explorer's 'Mindful Mode' Sounds Goofy But I Wish Every Car Had It

Illustration for article titled The 2020 Ford Explorers Mindful Mode Sounds Goofy But I Wish Every Car Had It
Photo: Ford

I had to double check that the 2020 Ford Explorer press release describing the vehicle’s Calm Screen, dubbed “Mindful Mode,”wasn’t an April Fools’ Day joke. But after confirming it’s real, I really like the idea of being able to strip superfluous information from your gauge cluster with a few clicks.

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The Calm Screen basically just removes your trip and GPS readouts from the Ford’s cluster. A similar effect can be achieved in other cars with gauge clusters like this by turning displays off manually, but a hotkey to do it in one stroke is nice.

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My views on extreme minimalism when it comes to vehicle gauges are not shared by many; I’m still convinced you could get by with just two warning lights. But I can’t be the only one feeling like the trend of turning an entire gauge cluster into one busy screen is a little exhausting.

Remember Saab’s Night Panel, which would kill all interior lights except the speedometer, or more recently, the McLaren 720S’s fold-away gauges? The Explorer’s new Calm Screen seems to pretty much be in the same vein.

I would have liked to have seen it taken a step further, maybe just displaying current speed and fuel range, but still. If automakers force us to adopt full screen-based gauge clusters, it would be cool if they offered minimal modes like this for times when you don’t need or want to be bombarded with information.

Jalopnik Staffer from 2013 to 2020, now Editor-In-Chief at Car Bibles

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DISCUSSION

Turning Jalopanese, AKA Chalupa Batman

I’m still convinced you could get by with just two warning lights.

I think some cars just need one warning light. It stays constantly lit up and it just says “This is a German car” to remind you to take to the nearest shop immediately, at all times.