Car video reviews:

BMW and Hyundai Rank Top in Technology Usability Study

Our lives are filled with technology these days with little silicon chips hiding in the most surprising places, which means that the vehicles we drive could not have possibly made an exception.
Hyundai Tucson interior 1 photo
Indeed, they didn't. The smartphone may win the prize for the most condensed gadget, but as far as raw computing power is concerned, a modern car could be more capable than your notebook. The real question is: how much of this tech embedded in our cars do we actually use?

The added features have pushed the prices up for everybody, but some people pay the premium without really benefitting in any way from most of the advantages the new technology offers. They still regard the car as a means of getting from one point to another, and look at the buttons on the dashboard in disbelief. Give them something with an aircon and a radio, and they're happy.

But cars this simple are harder and harder to come by. The mainstream segment is now packing many features that only a few years ago were constrained to the premium cars, with the latter having to come up with new things to set it apart. However, besides making their products smarter, car makers also need to find a way to make them more user-friendly.

A recent J.D. Power survey pointed out that the two brands offering the best technology usability to their customers are BMW and Hyundai. A few models from other brands scored pretty high as well - the Chevrolet Camaro, Kia Forte, and Nissan Maxima - but these two were the most consistent ones, with the 2 and 4 Series from BMW and Genesis and Tucson from Hyundai leading the way.

The novelty study revealed that the most appreciated features are the collision avoidance technology and blind spot monitoring systems, but also showed that some users still struggle with the in-car satnav system. In fact, the report says that a lot of people use another device (smartphone) for navigational purposes, 57 percent of them having done this without even trying the manufacturer's solution first.

Whenever we choose the specs for our new car, we like to think we're going to use all of those features, so we're more likely to spend money on them. In reality, a lot of them will just sit there and catch dust once the car is bought, even though some might have cost quite a bit.

Kristin Kolodge, the author of the report, thinks that tech usability is an important indicator of how satisfied new car owners are with their purchase. Consumers “just want to be successful the first time they use a technology,” she said, which means the most important thing to get out of this study is that developers should work very hard on the user interface in an attempt to make it as ergonomic and friendly as possible.


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories