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Luxury cars come with cutting-edge technology and all the bells and whistles. But premium features are increasingly finding their way into affordable mainstream vehicles. The amenities vary widely depending on the model, but consumers value specific luxurious features in cars more than others. Indeed, one in particular dramatically improves owner satisfaction.

Many of today’s mainstream cars have luxury features

2023 Subaru Forester: A popular compact SUV with the most headroom and legroom
2023 Subaru Forester | Subaru of America, Inc.

As with most kinds of technology, the most expensive options typically tout innovative features that cheaper versions don’t provide. But as time passes, the economics and science behind the tech make these features easier — and cheaper — to mass-produce. That’s when mass-market brands tend to adopt these technologies. 

That’s exactly what’s happening to electric cars and why EVs are more expensive than traditional gas-powered models. On a smaller scale, this trend is also happening regarding luxury features, especially tech-related ones. Not long ago, touchscreens were uncommon in cars; only the most luxurious rides had this feature.

But touchscreens got cheaper, allowing all automakers to add them to their cars — if they wanted to. Even for amenities whose tech wasn’t that sophisticated, such as heated seats, this pattern of development was true back then too. Heated seats started as a luxury car feature. Now they’re standard equipment or an available option in almost every new car.

1 luxurious feature in cars increases owner satisfaction the most 

Automakers have also poured significant research and development into seating. That makes sense because seats are an integral part of ride quality. If the seats are uncomfortable, drivers and passengers will notice quickly. Unsurprisingly, a few seat-related luxury features in cars can dramatically boost occupant satisfaction.

For instance, consumers value power-adjustable seats. However, a new J.D. Power study shows memory seating is the luxurious car feature that increases owner satisfaction the most. This amenity allows drivers to adjust the seat to their liking and, with the push of a button, return the seat to those settings. It’s especially beneficial for multiple drivers who share a car.

For example, one family member might be taller than another and need to adjust the seat so it’s well-suited for their legs. When the shorter person gets behind the wheel, they might also need to adjust the seat to accommodate them. With a simple button push, memory seats make the process quick and easy.

Many of today’s mainstream vehicles have standard or available memory seats. The Mazda CX-50, Kia Forte, and Subaru Forester are only a few examples.

About the J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Seat Quality and Satisfaction Study

These owner satisfaction findings are part of the J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Seat Quality and Satisfaction Study. The market research firm asked a large pool of owners about their cars. Over 93,000 survey respondents provided feedback about their vehicles, including seat quality. 

This study has two essential criteria. The first is that owners had to have been driving the car for at least 90 days. That period ensures owners have a decent familiarity with their vehicles. The second is that J.D. Power included only 2023 models in the study, so the data is up-to-date. 


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