Genesis and Hyundai Dominate 2022 JD Power Tech Experience Study

JD Power has released its annual U.S. Technology Experience Index for 2022, ranking the most innovative automakers and models on the market and calling out the features owners love and love to hate. And after taking the first places in the 2022 Vehicle Reliability StudyKorean sister brands Genesis, Hyundai and Kia topped the charts as innovative brands in their respective segments.

A companion piece for JD Power Initial Quality Study, the Tech Experience Index is based on responses from 84,165 new model year 2022 vehicle owners surveyed after 90 days of ownership. The survey seeks to determine which technologies owners find most desirable and which frustrate them the most. Along the way, the automakers themselves are ranked by a calculated Innovation Index to determine which best introduces the best new technology.

JD Power analysts call new vehicle technologies a ‘double-edged sword’, saying technology is a top reason to buy a new car and automakers must keep innovating or risk losing their competitive advantage. However, an inelegant implementation of technology or a high frequency of issues could cause users to abandon a technology or even a brand altogether. These are tricky waters and not everyone does a great job navigating them.

Biometric technology, like fingerprint scanners and facial recognition, can be used to log in to infotainment, but users seem to prefer phone-based authentication.


The biggest loser

Fingerprint readers were found to be the most problematic technology with 54.3 issues found per 100 vehicles surveyed in the study. This makes it the worst performing technology in the history of the study with the lowest overall satisfaction score, dethroning the previous record holder: gesture controls.

Biometric fingerprint authentication is most commonly used to log into infotainment suites such as Mercedes-Benz User Experience that support multiple users or, more rarely, to lock or unlock a vehicle. Considering how well fingerprint readers are implemented in smartphones, tablets and personal computers, the low ranking of the technology by surveyed users is surprising. They may have been unhappy with the way the technology runs in cars or, perhaps, they find it too complicated unlike other authentication technologies, such as digital key technology based on the phone – which was the third highest ranked technology studied.

Award-winning technologies

Unsurprisingly, the technologies that posed the fewest problems to users were the simplest in concept and execution. The Cadillac Escalade and Subaru Ascent each won Advanced Technology Convenience Awards in the premium and mainstream categories, respectively, for rearview camera technology which allows users to flip a switch to change the optical mirror at the top of the windshield to a camera view via a screen hidden in the glass. Cadillac was recognized last year for the same technology.

The accolades for “emerging automation” or driver assistance technology went to the premium Lexus IS for its front cross-traffic warning system and the mainstream Mitsubishi Outlander for its implementation of the automatic emergency braking in reverse. Again, not the most advanced features – both have been around for years now – but hassle-free implementations of proven technologies that satisfied customers surveyed.

Cadillac and Subaru have won awards for their desirable and reliable rear view mirror camera technology.

Antuan Goodwin/CNET

JD Power also awarded the Mini Cooper (presumably the all-electric model) an energy and sustainability award for its one-pedal driving mode. This EV function promotes regenerative braking at maximum range when lifting the accelerator pedal, so much so that the car can be stopped often without touching the friction brakes. Elsewhere in the BMW Group, the BMW X3 has been recognized for its phone-based digital key technology.

Korean brands at the forefront of innovation

Looking at the numbers, JD Power assigns each automaker an Innovation Index score scaled from 0 to 1,000, with the higher the better. American Electric Vehicle Company You’re here would have been the overall winner with an unofficial score of 681 points. However, because Tesla blocks JPD’s access to owner information in certain states, the automaker finds itself ineligible for rewards. Swedish brand of premium electric vehicles The North Star also finds himself ineligible with an unofficial score of 608 points.

This leaves room for Genesis, the Korean luxury upstart, to slip in and once again take the crown for the highest officially ranked premium and global brand with an innovation index of 643. The G70 and GV70 are best-in-class vehicles with user-friendly cabin and driver assistance technologies; no wonder the brand finds itself the survey king of this hill. The other top-ranked premium brands are Cadillac (584), known for its Super Cruise Hands-Free Roadside Assistance tech, and Mercedes-Benz (539) which launched the High-tech electric EQS This year.

Korean brands continue to dominate among mainstream brands with Hyundai leading the pack with 534 points – not too far behind Benz – followed by its sister brand KIA at 495 points. These brands share many key technologies with Genesis, hence the equally high score. Third place is a triple tie (482) between Buick, GMC and Subaru.

For context, the industry average sits at a calculated innovation index of 486 points. And because I know you’re curious, the lowest ranked brands are Porsche (439), Honda and Chrysler (tied at 429) with Mazda being the least innovative brand of 2022 with its 387 innovation index – which makes sense given Mazda’s minimalist approach to technology.

Want to know where your favorite automaker ended up and why? See the full JD Power 2022 US Tech Experience Index study for more details.

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