The latest JD Power report is out on the quality of new cars, and you might not be surprised to learn that it's at an all-time high – on average automakers are producing cars with fewer defects and problems than ever before.
But there are still complaints. Most notably, complaints about the invasion of technology into cars are spiking. Erin Burnett gives her take in tonights E-Block.
I'm glad Volkswagen is near the bottom... That's where they belong. We had a GM GPS that we thought was kind of terrible, but as it turns out it's fantastic if you then go to a Volkswagen interface you realize how bad things can actually be. I regularly put addresses in to the unit that have been there for 5 years and they don't even have the street in the database. The main reason I bought an in-car GPS was I thought that the XM traffic would come through... The 2010 models of GTI used to have XM traffic, now in 2011 onward they actually took it out? They rolled back technology, great! Their cars in Germany actually have a lot more features, but to ship them to the US they water down the features and only offer 3-4 standard configurations for each model, not the full array of features. The interface itself is not intuitive at all, it's terrible. If you have an Ipad or Android device hooked up playing music and are playing random songs, and hit the next button by accident, you can't just hit the back button it randomizes it going back as well. Stupid. I could go on all day about how stupid the VW GTI touch screen interface is... (but if you want a sunroof in your car, you have to pay for that upgrade because that's how they package it in the US..)
I wonder if Fiat is at the bottom of the list for similar reasons. We drove a new Fiat in Europe two summers ago - it was an AMAZING car to drive. Came back here and eagerly anticipated the release here, test drove one even here when it came out. Guess what? They changed everything, striped out all of the coolest features... now we just have a dumbed down version of the car that is awesome as configured in Europe. The technology in the models there is amazing and actually aids in driving. If you're driving a manual and stall, you just put it into gear again and it restarts. Here it doesn't do that. If you come to a stop at a stop light, there it shuts the engine off and when you put your foot on the clutch it restarts the engine instantly. Here that feature is gone. They made several other noticeable changes but I don't understand why these European car makers are dumbing down the cars so much for Americans and in the process making them much worse.
And almost every time I park I accidentally hit the "command" icon that's on the steering whieel, at which point the stupid thing blares out "Say a command, you can say things like make a phone call, play music, yada yada" and it won't let you just say a command or "cancel" it has to go through the 15 second spheel every time you use the feature, or in my case accidentally hit the button. My SO does the same thing. It's the most annoying car feature ever.
The American cars are actually getting fancier interfaces with Pandora and everything... sorry XM stockholders but your days are really numbered because of that.