If Your New Car’s High-Tech Features Are Driving You Crazy, You’re Not Alone

Automakers know that new car buyers are typically looking for all kinds of new technology, from digital screens to smart safety systems. But while adding the latest features can entice customers, faulty technology, such as recalcitrant voice-recognition systems, can become a serious frustration for the owner.

According to a survey this year, fingerprint readers were not popular among new-vehicle buyers.

South Korean automakers seem to be doing the best job of packing the latest high-tech features while making them both reliable and easy to use, according to the latest JD Power Tech Experience Index, or TXI, Study. But, like other manufacturers, the Hyundai Motor Group has had issues with technology like fingerprint readers built into some models as an alternative to a traditional key fob.

“Innovation is non-negotiable,” said Kathleen Rizk, senior manager of user experience and technology benchmarking at JD Power. “Getting the right mix of technology features that owners want is important for perception, profits, and sales. When owners get the technology features they really want — and that meet their user experience expectations — the results are positive and these owners tell their friends about the experience.

The level of technology built into today’s vehicles has increased year on year. Virtually every product on the market today comes with at least a small infotainment screen, while advanced driver assistance systems enhance vehicle safety. More advanced models add features like voice assistants, automatic parking systems, and even semi-autonomous driving capabilities.

More technology is not always better

But these technologies are a double-edged sword, according to Power Research. The Initial quality study published earlier this year revealed that these features now account for the highest number of reported “problems” with newly purchased vehicles, even as conventional mechanical issues are becoming less and less common.

Chart of JDP 2022 TXI top models

The TXI study focuses on the simplicity and convenience of high-tech features and the usefulness and reliability of motorists. Fingerprint readers had the lowest overall satisfaction—essentially having the most issues—in the 2022 index, followed by gesture controls. Many owners don’t want those two features in their next vehicles, Power reported.

But owners have reported issues with a variety of other tech features, including voice-recognition systems that don’t recognize commands, stammering navigation systems and user interfaces that make it difficult to find and use tech. embarked.

Reliable is better

However, some technologies turn out to be quite effective. The study’s most reliable feature: reverse reminder systems, designed to encourage motorists to look back and make sure they haven’t forgotten children or pets when driving. they get out of their vehicle.

Another feature appealing to homeowners are smartphone-based digital key systems that allow homeowners to leave keys and fobs at home. It’s one of the new technologies that motorists say they want on their next vehicle.

Genesis was the highest-ranked brand in the 2022 Tech Experience Index, as well as first in the luxury category, with a score of 643 out of a possible 1,000 points. Cadillac finished second among premium brands with 584 points, while Mercedes-Benz took third place with 539.

JDP 2022 TXI Overall Results Chart

In the mainstream category, Hyundai had a 534-point lead, followed by its South Korean sibling Kia at 495 points. Buick followed with 482 points.

Unofficial leader and more

Industry upstart Tesla was actually the unofficial leader, with a score of 681 points. But it refuses to provide full access to homeowners in all states, which means Power can’t get a completely representative sample of homeowners.

The TXI examines 35 different technologies, adding fingerprint readers for the first time this year. The research firm highlighted a handful of brands and features that stood out to owners particularly well:

  • Cadillac Escalade is the top-of-the-line model that receives the Convenience Award for camera rear-view mirror technology. The Subaru Ascent is the mainstream model that receives the convenience award, also for camera mirror technology.
  • Lexus IS is the top-of-the-line model that receives the emerging automation award for front cross-traffic warning. Mitsubishi Outlander is the mass-market model that receives the Emerging Automation Award for Automatic Reverse Emergency Braking.
  • Mini Cooper receives the award for energy and durability in the mass market segment for one-pedal driving.
  • The BMW X3 receives the infotainment and connectivity award in the premium segment for the phone-based digital key technology.

The TXI 2022 also found that features can work well for one brand but not for another, which, Rizk said, “means that some innovate more perfectly for a particular technology, while others struggle to their execution.”Effective innovators, she added, “understand that new technologies can be introduced successfully with proper design and execution.

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