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One of the biggest perks of buying a new car is all of the new technological features that it comes with. Most of the new cars today come standard with a plethora of safety and convenience features, in addition to driver-assist technologies. That may sound great to any prospective car buyers and may even do well to sway some car-buying decisions, however, a study by J.D. Power shows that most drivers don’t even end up using some of these fancy new features.

Some in-car technologies can seem like a waste to new-car owners

Honda CR-V Touring Infotainment system
Honda CR-V Touring Infotainment system | Honda

Have you thought about purchasing the top trim level on a new car solely for some of the new tech-savvy features that it contains? If so, you’re not alone. According to the 2021 J.D. Power U.S. Tech Experience Index Study (TXI) that was recently released, automakers are filling their cars with technologies that they think customers want and need, but in reality, they’re not being used.  

Kristin Kolodge, executive director of human machine interface at J.D. Power told Forbes, “When you think about inventory and new vehicle prices at an all-time high, it really stood out to us the number of technologies not being utilized by consumers after three months of ownership. I think it’s a stark signal to us to say what we can do as an industry to drive better engagement. Having technology and not using it makes no one happy.”

J.D. Power’s study proved that many car owners don’t use most of the in-car technologies

A driver touches the infotainment screen on a Ford Maverick.
A driver touches the infotainment screen on a Ford Maverick. | Ford

J.D. Power’s study is based on responses from 110,827 car owners of 2021-model year vehicles after 90 days of ownership. According to Forbes, the study revealed that “for more than one in three advanced technologies, fewer than half of the owners surveyed said they used the technology during the first 90 days of ownership.”

Unfortunately, the study doesn’t list the actual in-car technologies that owners aren’t using. However, it went on to say that 61% of owners said they never use the in-vehicle digital market technologies and 51% said that they will never need it. Furthermore, 52% of the respondents said that they never use the driver/passenger communication technologies and 40% said that they will never have use for it.

On the plus side, many of the owners said that they use reverse cameras and anything else that uses a camera since they’re obviously helpful when it comes to visibility and safety.

Other findings from the study

2022 Mazda CX-5 interior
2022 Mazda CX-5 interior | Mazda

Insurance Journal made a few good points as to how new-car owners can get more accustomed to using some of these in-car technologies. Some other findings from the study included:

  • Dealer demonstrations are important: Having the salesperson or dealership personnel adequately explain all of the features to their customers after they purchase a car is important. If the buyer understands and is aware of these new technologies, then they are more likely to use them.
  • Some features make the driving experience better, but not all of them: According to the study, many owners did not favor features that use gesture controls, in which the infotainment system responds to hand gestures as opposed to pressing buttons. However, they do favor other technologies like one-pedal driving in electric vehicles.

What this study shows is that not every in-car technology that automakers is welcomed or really needed. So, the next time you find yourself eyeing that top-trim level for your next new car, you may want to heavily consider what’s on the list of features. You might not need half of them.


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