The J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Tech Experience Index Study took a look at consumer satisfaction with vehicle technology. They found that safety-oriented technologies are the most satisfactory, while navigation systems fall short.

J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Tech Experience Index Study

The first-ever U.S. Tech Experience Index (TXI) Study from J.D. Power looked at drivers' experience and usage when it comes to in-vehicle technology. Power also handed out awards to vehicles that scored highest on their 1,000-point evaluation scale.

Here is what won across the seven segments evaluated:

  • Compact: Kia Forte
  • Small: Hyundai Tucson
  • Midsize: Chevrolet Camaro
  • Large: Nissan Maxima
  • Compact Premium: BMW 4 Series
  • Small Premium: BMW 2 Series
  • Midsize Premium: Hyundai Genesis

The study also analyzed five major technology categories: collision protection, navigation, driving assistance, entertainment and connectivity, and comfort and convenience.

It was quickly discovered that safety-oriented crash avoidance technologies held the most water with consumers. On the other hand, navigation technologies far and away scored the lowest on average.

The Collision Protection Technologies Consumers Can't Get Enough Of


Collision avoidance technologies have the highest usage and highest overall satisfaction among the six categories examined. Not surprisingly, the study also showed that these are the technologies owners want most in their next vehicle. Here is how the study scored the fix categories:

  • Collision Protection: 754
  • Entertainment and Connectivity: 739
  • Comfort and Convenience: 732
  • Driving Assistance: 726
  • Navigation: 687

Technologies like blind spot warning and detection, lane-keeping/centering, and back-up camera/warning systems all fall under the "collision protection" category. And they were found to be put to good use.

75% of study respondents said that they use back-up camera/warning and blind spot warning and detection systems every time they drive. Those two are also the most "in-demand" technologies, as 96% of current owners of the tech say they want each feature in their next car.

The Dealer's Role

The study also inquired about motorists' habits with technology they have given up on. The study uncovered some interesting results.

For example, 39% of owners who say they never use a specific technology indicate they bring another device into their vehicle to replace certain already-present technologies. In addition, 57% of those who bring in another device say that they haven't even tried the in-vehicle equipment before turning to the outside device. Finally, of the 43% of respondents who said they have used a technology but stopped, more than half (56%) stop using it within the first month.

Results like this indicate that people either don't know how their vehicle's technology works, or, worse yet, they aren't even aware that their vehicle has it.

"The dealer plays a critical role in whether or not a technology is used," says Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction at J.D. Power. "When the dealer takes the time to explain the technology or provide a demonstration, it not only makes the owner aware they have the technology, but also helps them understand how to use it, which means they are more likely to use it, continue to use it, and because they see the value, want it in their next vehicle."

J.D. Power indicated that owners who learn to operate technology from the dealer report an overall satisfaction score that is 25-54 points higher compared to those who learn how it's used in other ways.

Also, the study found there is an average 98-point drop in satisfaction when owners find that a technology is difficult to use. This can lower satisfaction and the quality of the vehicle in their mind. So, make sure that your staff is taking the time to show a vehicle's technology to each new owner.

The Bottom Line

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