CarPlay is not the answer, simple is better for connected cars says SBD: Tesla & Nissan topped rankings

sbdscreenSBD looked at in-car infotainment systems and rated them after testing them with actual drivers and experts.

The study found the systems ranked highest to lowest as

  • Tesla Services often called the king of the road for car tech.
  • Nissan Connect.
  • Mercedes-Benz Digital Drive Style.
  • Porsche Online Services.
  • Chrysler RAM uConnect.
  • Mercedes-Benz mBrace
  • Honda Link.

SBD found that buying decisions and brand image can be severely affected by a user’s experience with a system. If carmakers do not “get it right” they could alienate potential customers and risk losing existing ones.

The only affordable car in the top three are Nissan cars.

SBD rated NissanConnect Mobile Apps highest of the car systems studied for

  • Setup- how the driver gets started.
  • Communicate- how the user to connects to the world outside the car,
  • Stay informed – how well news gets to the user.

The survey also showsed that 91% of the users surveyed found the Airbiquity-powered NissanConnect Mobile Apps system to be “easy/very easy to use.”

We recently talked to Scott Frank from Airbiquity who noted that CarPlay and Android Auto are not the best ways for drivers to connect with their vehicles.

Both Tesla and Nissan Connect offer intuitive menu structures and a more seamless integration of connected services, reported SDB. It took users only 9 seconds to set a destination on the Tesla navigation system, compared with over 30 seconds on some of the other systems included within the study.

Driver feedback showed that drivers don’t want too many features in their cars, some systems made them confused, ambivalent, uninterested and angry. More features does not  neccessarially equal a better user experience. Another study from Machina Research in a survey for Vodaphone ranked carmakers for sophistication with BMW’s ConnectedDrive ranked as the best, followed by GM’s OnStar with Tesla rated number 7. Meanwhile, J.D. Power found that car buyers are frustrated with Bluetooth and voice systems.

SBD reported that many consumers felt unsafe while performing simple tasks with the in-car system. Driver distraction is becoming an issue for consumers. CarPlay appeals to iPhone users who are familiar with it. However, many users felt confused. They don’t want to be stuck with a car
that won’t work with their next phone.

According to SBD interviews with dealerships, dealers are frustrated and struggle to explain overly complex systems to consumers

Consumers needed help with even the simplest tasks. During consumer testing of one of the systems, every driver needed an SBD expert to explain how to carry out at least one of the test use cases.

sbd283% of drviers felt unsafe undertaking one or more of the tasks given them.  The most difficulty came from lack of support, poor voice recognition, unclear terminology illogical locations for functions and counter-intuitive human input methods.

The study was conducted in partnership with Morpace, a leading specialist in consumer research, and included expert and consumer testing of systems offered by Chrysler, Honda, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Tesla.

Over 60% of user who participated claimed that they were less likely to buy a car from certain well-known car brands after having tested their infotainment systems. The main reason given was difficulty in completing basic tasks such as finding radio stations, setting destinations or making hands-free phone calls.

What has been your connected car experience.  Nissan owners do you like the Nissan Connect system.  Tesla owners, we know you love your Tesla, but why do you love the really big screen and features?