These are the car brands with the best and worst tech user experiences

High-tech features are becoming a major factor in new car sales, but as automakers race to incorporate the latest and greatest technology into the field, not everyone is equally successful.

According to JD Power’s 2022 Tech Experience Index (TXI) study, few aspects of a vehicle have as much variation between automakers as technology in terms of problems per 100 vehicles (PP100). For example, the problem rate for rear seat reminder technologies ranges from 1.2 PP100 at more than 10 times, to 26.2 PP100 for the worst performing rear seat reminders.

That variance matters to an automaker because the risk of upsetting customers with bad technology can be doubly debilitating, according to Kathleen Rizk, senior director of user experience benchmarking and technology at JD Power. She says the risk of implementing a technology poorly can scare automakers away from innovating.

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“JD Power’s transactional data shows that getting the right mix of technology features that owners want is important for perception, profits and sales,” Rizk said. “When owners get the technology features they really want, and that meet their user experience expectations, the results are positive and those owners tell their friends about the experience.”

Tech features have very high overall PP100 scores, overall, but fingerprint scanners, first included in the study in 2022, are the most problematic feature in TXI history. With users experiencing 54.3 issues per 100 experiences, it is now the feature with the lowest user satisfaction on TXI, beating gesture controls. In fact, many owners simply don’t want it on their vehicles, as a result of its poor performance, writes JD Power.

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However, the research organization found that dealers demonstrating how a technology works, especially if that technology is new, can have a big impact on customer satisfaction with the technology.

The brands that best implement all these lessons seem to belong to Hyundai Motor Company. Genesis ranked highest overall in JD Power’s innovation ranking (although it was beaten by Tesla, that company doesn’t share customer data and is therefore not eligible for awards). Meanwhile, Hyundai was the top-performing mass-market brand, leading premium automakers like Volvo, BMW and Land Rover.

However, GM also performed well in the test, with Cadillac taking second place overall in the innovation rankings. Meanwhile, Buick and GMC ranked third and fourth (behind Hyundai and Kia) in the mass market segment.

The TXI tested 35 automotive technologies that were divided into four categories: convenience; emerging automation; energy and sustainability; and infotainment and connectivity. The study was based on responses from 84,165 owners of model year 2022 vehicles after 90 days of ownership.

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