Auto Tech

Kia, Ford, BMW promise fewest tech frustrations, J.D. Power says

The results come from J.D. Power's Multimedia Quality and Satisfaction Study.

Here's the full rundown of this year's least frustrating cars from a multimedia perspective, as decided by actual owners.

J.D. Power

Last month, J.D. Power revealed a wealth of data regarding how car buyers interact with technology in the vehicle. This month, the marketing company's survey is all about figuring out which automakers provide the fewest tech-related hassles in their new cars.

J.D. Power on Friday released some of the results of its 2018 Multimedia Quality and Satisfaction Study. The survey polls new-car buyers about their experiences with vehicle infotainment (covering entertainment, communication, navigation and audio) over the first 90 days of ownership. The results are ranked using problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), and it assigned winners in different segments. 

The Kia Rio, Kia Forte, Ford Mustang and Ford Taurus took home top honors in the four mass-market segments (small, compact, midsize and large, respectively). On the premium side, the winners were the BMW 2 Series, Porsche 718, Lincoln Continental and BMW 7 Series. The Ford Mustang had the lowest and best score of any vehicle on the list, with just 7.3 problems per 100 vehicles, followed by the Lincoln Continental.

"While the area is still the leading cause of new-vehicle complaints -- with voice-recognition technology continuing to lead the way as the No. 1 complaint for a sixth consecutive year -- we are seeing some serious improvement across the board, with some manufacturers really raising the bar on delivering quality multimedia technology experiences for their customers," said Brent Gruber, J.D. Power's senior director of automotive quality practice, in a statement.

J.D. Power didn't get into much more detail than that -- it sells its full Vehicle Quality Survey, from which this data was derived, to automakers and other groups for big bucks. But it at least paints a small picture of how new-car buyers are jibing with technology in their vehicles, which might be different from how cars are perceived by nonowners. 

The Detroit Free Press talked to an analyst at Kelley Blue Book, who pointed out that consumers tend to assume luxury brands have the best tech, but J.D. Power's poll proves that isn't necessarily the case.