It’s not all design niceties either; there are other, more practical elements too. Flanking the blue dot are large volume up and down buttons – a feature I wish more sat-nav manufacturers would build into their products – making it a doddle to tweak the volume settings without having to rely on imperfect automatic adjustments or wading through layers of menu settings. The Lucca can also be charged via USB or the more traditional style DC connector, depending on your preference.
But once you switch it on, blue halo bestowed by Teutonic engineering and brand association suddenly starts to dim. The first sign of trouble is the touch-screen, which doesn’t feel particularly accurate or responsive. While clicking around the interface I found myself constantly tapping twice or even three times to get the Lucca to respond, and this wasn’t helped by the ‘improvements’ that Blaupunkt has made to that common front-end. Buttons are too often skinny or small and surrounded by space rather than large and easy to tap, and even the large 4.3in wide aspect 480 x 272 screen fails to render it usable.
The destination entry screen, as well as being fiddly, is confusing and the onscreen keyboard is one of the worst I’ve used. I don’t believe I’ve sworn at a sat-nav quite as much as I have with the Lucca 3.5. But it doesn’t end there. As soon as you start to drive you’ll quickly discover another irritation: the voice instructions are recorded so badly they sound distorted and quickly grate on your nerves. The fact that the woman sounds like a close relation of Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn’t help either; she barks out orders as if you were some kind of deviant, not a considerate motorist who’s simply cartographically challenged.
And then there’s the turn icon, which disappears from the screen if you’re more than a mile or so from the next turning – annoying if you’re on the motorway and want to keep tabs on how far away your next manoeuvre is. Even the windscreen mount had problems. Though it looks solid and well made, I had such trouble getting it to stick that I removed the bracket and had to resort to mounting it on a spare I had lying around. Hopefully this was just a faulty unit, not an issue with the design.