Genesis and Kia join parent company with high marks.
J.D. Power released its annual Tech Experience Index Study for 2021 and came away with some very interesting data. Genesis and Hyundai did the best in the premium and mass-market segments overall when it comes to technology features; buyers aren't using nearly as much of it as they could; and dealers have a great influence on how much of it is used.
Let's start with the main report. The TXI Study analyzes 36 technologies in four categories including convenience, emerging automation, energy and sustainability, and infotainment and connectivity. The study is based on responses from 110,827 owners of new 2021 model-year vehicles who were surveyed after 90 days of ownership. It was fielded from February through July 2021.
The Cadillac Escalade and Ram 1500 won the convenience category, both for their camera rearview mirror technology. We've experienced that plenty, and will just say it's better, but you have to get use to it. The Lexus IS won for emerging automation, for its reverse automatic braking tech and for infotainment and connectivity for its virtual assistant. Out of the mass-market cars, the Hyundai Elantra won the emerging automation award and the Kia K5 took home the infotainment/connectivity trophy.
After Genesis in the premium brands overall came Cadillac, Volvo, BMW and Mercedes. After Hyundai in the mass market segment came Kia, Nissan, Subaru and GMC.
"New-vehicle prices are at an all-time high, partly as a result of an increased level of content," said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of human machine interface at J.D. Power. "This is fine if owners are getting value for their money, but some features seem like a waste to many owners."
J.D. Power found that dealers are instrumental in keeping owners engaged with new tech. It uses the example of the safe exit assist technology that watches your mirrors for approaching cars when you open the door. It found that with instruction, owners can get a sense for the benefits, and their satisfaction improves. It also found that owners are more than twice as likely to learn about this technology from an outside source as a dealer.
It also found that gesture controls are still kind of a pain, with 41 problems reported out of 100 vehicles making it the lowest overall score. It also reinforced the fact that global markets are different when it comes to new tech. US drivers love the rearview camera, owners in China do not.
Tesla, as usual, is a special case. It received a 668 on the index scale, unofficially, beating even Genesis. But the EV maker isn't ranked among the other brands as it "doesn't meet the criteria. Unlike other manufacturers, Tesla doesn't grant J.D. Power permission to survey its owners in 15 states where it sells vehicles. Based on that limitation, Tesla's score is calculated based on a sample of surveys from owners in the other 35 states."