Infotainment systems — those conglomerations of audio, navigation, phone connectivity, and other electronics — are more than ever a defining feature of new cars.
According to BusinessInsider, these systems offer a way for automakers to draw in young buyers and differentiate themselves in an age where cars are more similar than different.
For automakers, they’re big money makers. A July 2013 study by Visiongain found the global automotive infotainment market will be worth $31.72 billion this year, and more in years to come.
But they’re bad news for drivers for two reasons: They don’t work well, and they’re distracting.
In October, Consumer Reports issued its annual auto reliability rankings. It revoked the “recommended” status from the “otherwise excellent” 2013 Honda Accord V6, citing “notable audio-system problems.”
The influential magazine is clearly not a fan of these systems, writing: “The more gadgets a car has, the greater the chance for things to go wrong. So it’s not surprising that one of the key problem areas in our survey results centered on in-car electronics, including the proliferating suite of audio, navigation, communication, and connected systems in newer cars.”
Country Consultant Jaye Albright says it best: “AM/FM is safe and simple.”