The worst new technology in cars? JD Power study reveals the winners and losers
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Luxury car buyers are guaranteed the most high-tech equipment on the market. But how useful is all of this stuff?
This year JD Power published a Tech Experience Index (TXI) that gathered together feedback from more than 82,500 car owners, both mainstream and premium. They were asked how they perceived advanced technology features.
The most desired feature in premium cars was surround view cameras, which give greater visibility across multiple angles. Camera rear-view monitors got the highest index score (894), followed by ground-view cameras (884). Which goes to show that the simplest features are still possibly the best.
And bottom of the heap? Gesture control, which allows drivers to control certain functions by using their hands rather than touching buttons or screens, was the lowest rated technology.
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Owners reported a high rate of problems (36 per 100 vehicles) and more than 61 per cent of owners say they use it less than half the time.
Sixteen per cent have tried gesture control and not continued with it, while 14 per cent have never tried it at all.
Among mainstream cars, transparent trailer view was also popular (874), followed by ground view camera (868).
Drivers also showed a general distrust of automated driving features.
Some mentioned the positive experience they have from using the systems (lower stress and arriving at their destination more refreshed), yet this necessary step to achieve higher levels of automated driving is failing to earn the trust of most drivers who consider it to be annoying or distracting.
According to the study authors, there is wide variation in the execution strategy across brands for how the technology works and when or why it engages.
"The race never ends to develop 'must have' vehicle technologies," says Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction and human machine interface research at JD Power.
"New technology continues to be a primary factor in the vehicle purchase decision. However, it’s critical for automakers to offer features that owners find intuitive and reliable.
"The user experience plays a major role in whether an owner will use the technology on a regular basis or abandon it and feel like they wasted their money.”
Volvo ranked highest overall with an Innovation Index score of 617. BMW ranked second (583), followed by Cadillac (577), Mercedes-Benz and Genesis (559).
Hyundai (also the parent brand of Genesis) ranked highest in the mass-market (556), followed by Subaru (541), Kia (538), Nissan (534) and Ram (520).
The study, now in its fifth year, was redesigned for 2020 and specifically focuses on the most advanced technologies when they are first introduced in the market.
TXI measures how effectively each automotive brand brings these technologies to market, measured on a 1000-point scale.
The index combines the level of adoption of new technologies for each brand with the excellence in execution. The execution measurement examines how much owners like the technologies and how many problems they experience while using them.