It’s true that modern cars are significantly more mechanically reliable than those of just five years ago – despite being more advanced than ever.
In-car entertainment is one of the fastest developing areas of car design with a multitude of different functions and, seemingly, a multitude of different failures waiting to happen.
Of the 11 different infotainment-related problems car reliability experts JD Power measure, a grand total of five appear in the top 10 most prevalent overall car issues. This means infotainment and surrounding problems disproportionately affect cars compared to other issues, suggesting car designers need to put more work into this area to keep customers’ worries at bay.
The most common complaints surrounded issues with pairing phones with in-built Bluetooth, jointly tied with problems getting radio reception. Following that were problems with voice recognition technology failing to recognise given voice commands, itself tied with issues getting the navigation system to start up. The final infotainment issue to break into the top 10 was inaccurate or simply incorrect instructions given by the sat nav.
In our opinion, we don’t know why manufacturers are bothering at all to develop expensive infotainment systems. Effectively every potential owner will have a smartphone designed by companies who spend millions ensuring their devices work reliability and intuitively. We feel better integration of smartphones via systems such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Mirrorlink would work better for the majority of motorists.
In a separate study, JD Power found buyers who found audio systems in cars difficult to use were put off buying that brand again by a larger degree compared to other issues. This shows that it pays for carmakers to make their infotainment systems as easy to use as possible.
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Don’t forget, however, that almost every new car is many, many times more reliable than models from just a few years ago. For help tracking your favourite model down, check out our car chooser and regularly updated new car deals page.