Drivers appreciate an extra set of eyes on the road. But they're giving the finger, quite literally, to another feature making its way into new vehicles.
Those are the findings of a new J.D. Power study that measures how effective automakers are in bringing advanced technologies to market in ways that consumers find intuitive and not overbearing.
Vehicle owners are most enamored with cameras, according to the company's 2020 U.S. Tech Experience Index. Luxury owners rate such features highest in five of the six satisfaction attributes measured in the study.
Camera rearview mirrors earned the highest execution index score among luxury owners, followed by ground-view cameras. Among advanced camera/vision technologies in the mass-market segment, camera rearview mirrors received the highest overall execution score, followed by transparent trailer view and ground-view cameras.
Nearly three-quarters of respondents who have these features said they "definitely will" want a camera rearview mirror on their next vehicle.
But luxury owners disliked gesture controls, which let occupants control various interior features using hand gestures instead of touching a knob or screen. Gesture controls were the lowest-rated technology "by far," according to the report, experiencing 36 problems per every 100 vehicles — more than twice the rate of the second-most-problematic technology.
"The user experience plays a major role in whether an owner will use the technology on a regular basis or abandon it and feel like they wasted their money," said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction and human machine interface research at J.D. Power.
Among automakers and their brands, Volvo ranked highest in overall innovation, earning a score of 617 on J.D. Power's 1,000-point scale, which combines the adoption levels for each brand with information on how much owners say they like the technologies and the number of problems they experience within the first 90 days of ownership.
BMW, Cadillac, Mercedes-Benz and Genesis followed in the luxury rankings.
Hyundai ranked highest among mass-market brands with a score of 556, followed by Subaru, Kia, Nissan and Ram.
J.D. Power profiled Tesla for the first time in the five-year history of the Tech Experience Index. The automaker finished with the second-highest score of 593, but J.D. Power says it could not include Tesla in its official rankings because the company did not grant its researchers permission to survey owners in 15 states where it is required.
The study, which was redesigned for this year, captured responses from 82,527 owners of 2020 model-year vehicles surveyed after 90 days of ownership.
Some of the technologies and their execution contributed to mixed feelings about advanced driver-assist systems, which could affect how consumers greet autonomous vehicles in the future.
Noting the "wide variation in execution strategy" across bands, the J.D. Power study found some drivers have positive experiences stemming from lower stress while driving using such systems while others found them annoying and distracting.