KBB: Volvo XC90 has best infotainment system

Michael Martinez
The Detroit News

Las Vegas — Kelley Blue Book says the Volvo XC90’s Sensus infotainment system is the best on the market, and named it the inaugural winner of its “Best Auto Tech Award,” revealed Tuesday at the CES trade show.

Volvo beat out infotainment systems from Cadillac, Honda, VW, Chevrolet and Kia. Judging criteria included, but was not limited to, native and off-board voice recognition quality, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity and performance, embedded navigation accuracy, response times, menu clarity, and, most of all, intuitive operation from behind the wheel.

“With a keen focus on determining excellence in connected-car technology, we tested six touchscreen infotainment platforms deemed worthy of consideration for the first Kelley Blue Book Best Auto Tech Award,” said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “One console in particular, the 2016 Volvo XC90 and its Sensus technology, was especially notable for its ability to enhance driving pleasure while also fostering safety, and it stood above the rest when it came to feature content, response times, ease-of-use and value.”

In addition to the award, Autotrader.com announced a new study that says an increasing number of car buyers say they want autonomous features like automatic braking and parking assist in the next vehicle they purchase.

An Autotrader-commissioned third-party study found 70 percent of shoppers are more likely to consider a new car or truck with autonomous safety features. About 83 percent of those surveyed say advanced safety features are important to them.

Roughly 47 percent said they would sync their vehicle with a smartwatch if they owned one.

“Consumers have learned to integrate the technology into their lives,” said Rachelle Petusky, Autotrader associate research manager. “When they get into their cars they expect to stay connected with simple and easy smartphone integration. The manufacturers who blend that with autonomous features are the ones who will win.”

About 77 percent of responders said a car with all of the technology features they want is more important to them than even car color. That’s up 8 percentage points from the 2014 study.

Other findings:

■46 percent of those surveyed would pay up to $1,499 for an interactive dashboard.

■65 percent said they would switch brands to get the technology features they wanted (up 9 percent from 2014).

■65 percent said they would watch the road even though they wouldn’t be actively driving in a self-driving car; only 11 percent say they would use the time to work.

■39 percent would prefer the navigation system on a smartphone rather than the one built into their vehicles (up 19 percent from 2014).

“As consumers hear more about autonomous features like automatic braking and collision avoidance technologies, and they begin to understand how they work or actually experience them, they appreciate what they do and they want them,” said Michelle Krebs, Autotrader senior analyst.

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