Drivers tend to ignore these new technological features of the car
Cars are getting smarter. While you can’t buy a real self-driving car from a dealership, the vehicles available are always packed with the latest technology, even if some of the features are fancy. There’s just one problem: hardly anyone actually uses it.
Many seasoned drivers remember their first car with cruise control or air conditioning. Heck, some people who started out in a Ford Model T even got the chance to sit behind the wheel of an all-electric Mustang Mach-E. Technology has changed the way the world uses the automobile, but some of the characteristics of modern cars seem a bit glaring. According to a new study by JD Power, based on a survey of over 100,000 new car owners, drivers seem to agree.
More than one in three advanced technologies are not used in the first 90 days of owning an average vehicle. The biggest reason? Most people say they just don’t need fancy features like an infotainment system that can pay for their coffee, driver-passenger communication devices, and gesture controls.
[RELATED: The best car and automotive technologies of 2020]
For example, the aptly named General Motors Market application and others like this are infotainment-based tools where drivers can pay for food and fuel, make reservations at a nearby hotel, or check in at a store for curbside pickup. . It sounds like things the majority of people would do from their phones instead of their cars, and most new vehicle owners who have a vehicle fitted in the market seem to agree. In total, 61% of these owners say they have never used their in-car marketplace, and 51% of them also say they don’t need it at all.
Driver-passenger communication devices seem like another gimmick, at least according to owners. These features are usually reserved for larger vehicles and allow the driver and passengers to hear each other better without raising their voices – the Honda Odyssey has CabinTalk, the Toyota Sienna calls it Driver Easy Speak, and the Cadillac Escalade premium SUV. calls it his “Conversation Enhancement System”. Yet at least 52% of owners have never tried this at all in their feature-equipped vehicle, and 40% of them say they don’t need it, period.
Then there are the features like those of BMW gesture controls, which some find intuitive. Instead of reaching out to press the infotainment screen, drivers can use their hands to navigate menus, change volume, and more. Unfortunately, this technology is also the most problematic for buyers, with 41 problems reported per 100 vehicles. It also leaves owners the least satisfied with any in-car technology, ranking last in JD Power’s satisfaction survey for the second year in a row.
[Related: The interior of Rolls-Royce’s new Ghost sedan is hauntingly beautiful]
There is a set of essential features for many new car buyers. Two of the most popular technologies revolve around vision. Owners say a rearview mirror camera and a ground camera are both rated as the best-executed tech feature in their vehicle. The systems are also highly desirable for owners, with 62% of U.S. buyers saying they would like the ground vision camera fitted in their next vehicle.
Interestingly, one-pedal driving – allowing the driver of an electric car to use the regenerative braking of the electric motor to avoid taking their foot off the accelerator pedal to brake – also ranked extremely high among buyers of electric vehicles.
When it comes to electric cars, JD Power says Tesla ranks first on its innovation index. The all-electric automaker has made a name for itself with its innovative new features, ranging from advanced level 2 semi-autonomous driving assistance to its minimalist, screen-focused interior. This ranking is unofficial, however, as Tesla does not qualify for an actual place on the board as it does not allow JD Power to survey owners in 15 states.
[RELATED: How Tesla is using a supercomputer to train its self-driving tech]
Officially, Genesis has the highest Innovation Index score of any luxury car maker, and its sister brand, Hyundai, ranks number one in the mass market segment. Mitsubishi ranks last, followed by a tie between Mini and Jeep.
So what does all of this mean for the average car buyer’s wallet?
“New vehicle prices are at an all time high, in part due to an increased level of content,” said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of human-machine interface at JD Power, in a statement. Press release. “It’s good if owners are getting their money’s worth, but some features seem like a waste for many owners.”
Car prices are indeed increasing, and have been for years. In fact, the average price of a new car exceeded $ 45,000 for the first time in history in September, according to a study by Kelley Blue Book. By comparison, this is an increase from around $ 40,000 in December 2020, an increase of 12.5% in just nine months. Granted, the semiconductor shortage isn’t helping, but neither is all the unused technology that lies dormant in many new vehicles.