Monday, September 21, 2015

Do you use your in-car tech?

JD Power's latest report (here) makes for an interesting read. Seems like most new car owners aren't using most of the tech that manufacturers are trying to jam into new cars. From the pointless things like voice control (which never works) to apps (why?) to genuinely useful things like heads-up displays.
I have to say I'm firmly in that category. I love tech - I'm an early adopter for most things - but the crap 'tech' that manufacturers put in cars is showing how desperate they are to try to distinguish themselves from their competitors. Between speed cameras, gas mileage wars and emissions regulations, there's really no point in having a more powerful, faster car now - you can't use it anywhere. And from a distance, most 4-door saloons look like either a Honda Prelude or a Toyota Camry because all imagination has evaporated from the 'design' departments.
So instead, the manufacturers have turned to tech gimmicks to try to sell cars. This was definitely true last time I was looking to buy a car. I ended up with the Range Rover Evoque because it genuinely looks different and is a fun car to drive at any speed. But when I was looking at the Audi, during the test drive, the dealer really didn't know much about traction control, center of gravity, torque or anything I wanted to know about, but he was bang up to date on how I could play videos directly from my phone on to the center console while driving. Same happened at the Mercedes dealership. According to their salesman, the concierge system (the remote connectivity system that allows you to call someone to do menial tasks for you, like remotely programming your GPS) was the best thing ever in the history of the universe. Again, he knew little about fundamentals like power steering and cruise control. Same was true at every dealer except Land Rover who gave me the keys and said "bring it back when you've had enough". They were the only ones who didn't put a sales drone in the car with me to explain to me how amazing the hifi was or what an awesome feature it was that the car would read my twitter feed to me.
So yeah - do you have a 'tech'-laden car full of things you don't use? And if so, why are we paying for all this crap?