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There is often a disconnect between car consumers’ and critics’ opinions. So, when BMW launched the 2023 BMW X7, it was only a matter of time before customers’ and critics’ views on its features and capabilities differed. The J.D. Power Automotive Performance, Execution, and Layout (APEAL) study revealed this disconnect.

J.D. Power APEAL study on the BMW X7

The J.D. Power APEAL study is an annual survey that J.D. Power conducts to measure owners’ level of excitement and emotional attachment toward their vehicle after 90 days of ownership. It reveals new owners’ experience with more than 40 car attributes in 10 experience groups.

Consumers’ opinions

In the Large Premium SUV market segment in the 2022 APEAL study, J.D. Power asked BMW X7 owners to rate how satisfied they were with the vehicle in 10 primary categories. They ranked the categories from the most favorite to the least favorite thing about their SUV.

The driving feel was at the top of the list as the most favorite thing about the vehicle, followed by exterior styling. Fuel economy was at the bottom of the list as the least favorite, preceded by infotainment as the second-least favorite thing about the vehicle.

Critics’ opinions

In the expert review portion of J.D. Power‘s review update, the independent expert raves about the new infotainment features of the X7.

The expert provides a detailed overview of the infotainment system features, including the 12.3-inch Live Cockpit Professional digital instrument panel and the 14.9-inch touchscreen infotainment system. They discuss highlights of the infotainment system, including the configurable displays, voice control, Intelligent Personal Assistant, 10-speaker sound system, and personal eSIM card 5G connectivity, among others.

The expert praised the augmented-view navigation system, which superimposes directions on the forward camera to show the driver which lanes to choose and where the next turn will be. They also loved the Remote Theft Recorder function that records footage of where the X7 is going if stolen and sends it to the owner’s smartphone.

However, the expert acknowledges that it takes quite some time to go through all the options and choices to find the ideal setup. The convoluted menu and complex underlying systems create a steep learning curve. This is likely the reason why many owners rated the experience of using the infotainment system as one of their least favorites.

The X7 disconnect between consumers and critics

A blue 2023 BMW X7 full-size luxury SUV model parked on a cobblestone driveway outside a home
2023 BMW X7 | BMW Group

The critics and the consumers are not seeing eye-to-eye. While critics believe the infotainment system is excellent, owners of the BMW X7 have not had good experiences with it.

The disconnect between the opinions could come from differing priorities. While experts and critics focus on factors like performance, capability, technology, and features when assessing the infotainment system, consumers are more concerned about its practicality and focus on convenience, user-friendliness, and ease of use.

It shows that although cars or car features may receive high ratings from critics, they may not be the best fit for every consumer. It is natural to have different priorities and perspectives when evaluating a multifaceted product like a car. For example, a car critic may praise a luxury interior with minimized clutter. Still, a consumer may find locating and adjusting features like air conditioning challenging, as they will require more steps.

This disconnect raises a fundamental question—how should consumers assess whether a car is great for them if ratings, reviews, and opinions about its features are subjective?

Subjectivity is the solution

Car features are highly subjective. So, the best way to choose a car to buy is to test its features yourself through a test drive. You can experience the features firsthand instead of relying on opinions or reviews, which gives you a feel of the features that matter most to you. It will help you make a more informed and confident decision.

However, that is not to say critics’ opinions aren’t valuable in the search for a car to buy. They should still inform your buying decision, but don’t just take their word for it—test the features yourself.

Related Here’s Why the 2023 BMW X7 Just Might Be the Perfect Family Car

Here’s Why the 2023 BMW X7 Just Might Be the Perfect Family Car