Rage Against the Machine: Engineers Like These New Car Tech Features More Than You Do

  • 61% of consumers never use their in-car marketplace features
  • The backup camera remains the most popular tech in new cars

Manufacturers like to argue that the technology in their new cars is a huge selling point. It’s a fair argument. There’s very rarely a car that totally moves the automotive industry forward these days, so new tech must. The last one in recent memory was the Tesla Model S, which helped make sedans cool again. And that, as we know, was built on some of the newest tech in the industry at the time. Now, however, consumers aren’t using new features as much as manufacturers might like.

What features do consumers avoid in their cars?

A backup camera in a new Volkswagen
Standard features like backup cameras are widely used | National Motor Museum via Getty Images

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J.D Power put together a study to investigate how much new car tech consumers used and why, as well as which ones they didn’t. The study found that for more than 33% of new tech in cars, half of consumers say they simply haven’t used them. Now, mind you, that little stat only applies to the first 90 days of ownership. And to be fair, some of us here at MB do the same thing with test cars. We’re more likely to just drive the thing first than mess with the tech.

However, past those initial 90 days, the overarching tone among those who still hold out changes. People who aren’t using new tech features simply say they don’t need them. This goes for communication technology like voice texting, Android Auto, and Apple Carplay, as well as other driver-assist features like lane-keep assist. However, there is one universally hated feature that sticks out.

No one wants Amazon in their new ride

In-car marketplaces are often disregarded | Pavlo Gonchar via Getty Images

61% of owners have never used their in-car marketplace. Ever. With the encroachment of ads into our cars, it’s easy to see why. Isn’t this what we have cell phones for? If you need Amazon, aren’t you just going to go to the handy app instead of trudging through what may be a slow or outdated infotainment system? Furthermore, 51% of those who haven’t used an in-car marketplace feature simply say they don’t need it.

That said, there are some features integrated by the engineers that consumers love. First and foremost among these is, of course, the backup camera. It’s hard to think of a more useful feature. In fact, it’s federally mandated that new cars in the US have them. For you Ford Bronco-wielding off-road rats, the next most-used feature in new cars was ground-view cameras. Again, it’s hard to see why consumers wouldn’t use something that pops up automatically in most cars and helps you park (or clear that boulder).

What are the newest car tech features?

The infotainment system in a new car
Infotainment systems are becoming increasingly advanced | Daniel Karmann via Getty Images

The new car technology sector is something that’s constantly shifting and changing. Just a few years ago, adaptive cruise control was a luxury. Now it’s standard in a Toyota RAV4. Of course, some new car tech falls flat, like in-car marketplaces and gesture controls. Self-driving and autonomous tech are certainly at the forefront right now, and whether its rise will be more like the backup camera or more like gesture controls remains to be seen.

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