Tesla’s in-car infotainment system ranked best in Consumer Reports survey

A Consumer Reports survey has ranked Tesla’s in-car infotainment system as the best in the auto industry. Owners who participated in the organization’s poll gave Tesla’s infotainment system an impressive 86% satisfaction rate, ranking it highly in audio, calling, and navigation functions.

Coming in at second place is BMW, whose owners ranked their vehicles’ infotainment system with a solid 80% rating. Lexus’ in-car infotainment system was deemed as the worst in the Consumer Reports survey, garnering a rather low 46% satisfaction score.

The magazine also introduced a “hands-off phone” rating to grade systems that are best at keeping drivers from physically picking up their phones while driving. Tesla did not top this rating, with Ford’s Sync 3 system receiving the top score, followed by BMW in second place. Another Japanese carmaker, Honda, ranked last in the magazine’s “hands-off phone” ratings.

According to Consumer Reports, a good infotainment system is one that is quick and equipped with controls that are straightforward and intuitive. The organization has noted that good in-car infotainment systems must not be too distracting as well.

While automakers like Tesla and BMW already received high marks for their infotainment systems, Consumer Reports maintained that there is still a lot of room for improvement. From the 60,000 vehicle owners that were surveyed, the magazine noted that only 56% of respondents reported that they were “very satisfied” with their cars’ infotainment systems.

With the tech industry well into the touchscreen era, it is not surprising to see an increasing number of automakers utilize touch-based controls for their vehicles. Data from IHS Markit notes that 82% of cars that sold this year came with a touchscreen; a 53% increase from five years ago.

Tesla is arguably one of the most forward-thinking automakers today, and this is exhibited by the company’s infotainment systems for its electric cars. The Model S’ massive 17″ touchscreen broke through conventions when the vehicle was first released back in 2012, and Tesla has only doubled down since then, as shown by the Model 3 and the Model Y’s minimalist dashboards that are dominated by a 15″ display.

Tesla’s in-car infotainment system is ultimately in a different league compared to other carmakers due to the company’s vertical integration. With this strategy, Tesla was able to develop a sleek, intuitive interface for its vehicles that is perfectly optimized for the electric cars’ hardware. This gives owners a user experience that is quite similar to iOS, which is specifically developed for Apple’s mobile devices.

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