Ask anyone who has just purchased a new car, and chances are they will have at least one complaint about the infotainment system. Even with recent advancements in this area, most in-car infotainment still isn't as usable or reliable as a smartphone. Still, the issue does seem to be improving as JD Power has announced that "the number of reported problems with in-car audio, communication, entertainment, and navigation technologies has decreased for a third consecutive year."
In fact, JD Power has just released its 2018 Multimedia Quality and Satisfaction Study, measuring which infotainment systems registered the fewest problems with owners. Based on our experience testing cars, the winners have some of our favorite infotainment systems in the business, and there are some clear trends.
JD Power has eight segments winners: small mass market, compact mass market, midsize mass market, small premium, compact premium, midsize premium, and large premium. Though there were eight segments, the winners have come from just four different automakers including Kia, Ford (and Lincoln), BMW, and Porsche. All of these systems have received praise in our reviews, so we aren't shocked to see any of them appear as winners in their respective categories.
The top three small mass market winners were the Kia Sportage, Chevy Bolt, and Kia Rio, with the Rio winning out in the segment. Kia scored its second win in the compact mass market segment with the Forte, beating out the Chevy Cruze, Hyundai Ioniq, and Volkswagen Beetle. We love the ease of Kia's infotainment system as well as its standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
Ford scored wins in the midsize mass market segment with the Mustang and the large mass market segment with the Taurus. The company also racked up a third win with the Lincoln Continental in the midsize premium segment.
BMW scored two wins of its own in the small premium segment with the 2 Series, and the large premium segment with the 7 Series. iDrive has become much easier to use in recent years and is now entering its 7th generation in upcoming BMW models like the 2019 X5. It also offers wireless Apple CarPlay compatibility, though it does cost extra.
Finally, the only odd man out of the winners is the Porsche 718 in the compact Premium segment. Porsche once had an extremely dated infotainment system, but now has one of the best in the industry.