For those of us testing dozens of in-car navigation and infotainment systems each year, J.D. Power's 2011 U.S. Navigation Usage and Satisfaction Study comes as no surprise.

According to owners surveyed in the study, simplicity and ease-of-use are lacking in the majority of systems on the market, with "Address/street/city not found" topping the list, followed by difficulty inputting a destination, poor routing, ineffectual voice controls, a lack of street names and missing points of interest. Not to mention the most obvious issue: the inability to find the proper function in the menu system.

Additionally, with a growing number of automakers combining climate controls into the touchscreen, these systems are adding another layer of complexity with few tangible benefits.

Interestingly though, the Garmin-supplied system fitted to the Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 – placing first and third, respectively, in consumer satisfaction – do combine many of the vehicle's climate control functions in a separate menu on the screen. So the issue isn't about incorporation, it's about execution.

Lining the bottom of the pack were a few Mercedes-Benz models (no surprise considering how long in the tooth COMAND is), the Jaguar XJ, Volvo XC90, Lincoln MKX and Toyota RAV4. And while the Clarion-equipped system (in the process of being phased out) in the Ford Flex, Fusion and Lincoln MKS all made it into the top 10, the TeleNav versions of the Ford Explorer and Edge – yes, the MyFord Touch equipped models – landed near the bottom. However, many of those issues should be rectified with the 2013 update, which includes faster response, better voice recognition and a mild UI overhaul. Hit the jump for the details and the complete rankings list.
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J.D. Power and Associates Reports: High Incidence of Reported Problems Indicates Continued Owner Frustrations with Vehicle Navigation Systems

The Garmin Navigation System Supplied to the Dodge Charger Ranks Highest in Satisfaction Among Factory-Installed Navigation Systems

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., Nov. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Vehicle owners are continuing to experience a high number of problems with factory-installed navigation systems, primarily with routing quality and system usability, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Navigation Usage and Satisfaction Study(SM) released today.

Now in its 13th year, the study identifies six factors that contribute to overall satisfaction with factory-installed navigation systems. In order of importance, they are: ease of use; routing; navigation display screen; speed of system; voice directions; and voice recognition. The study also measures quality by examining problems per 100 (PP100) navigation systems, in which a lower score reflects higher quality.

On average, owners of factory-installed navigation systems experienced 351 PP100 in 2011. The eight most-frequently reported issues, which account for more than 50 percent of problems reported overall, are:

Address/street/city not found (33 PP100)
Difficulty inputting destination (32 PP100)
Route provided was not direct (24 PP100)
Difficulty using voice recognition controls (23 PP100)
Map doesn't show enough street names (21 PP100)
Couldn't find desired menu/screen (19 PP100)
Map or point of interest search was missing points of interest (16 PP100)
Inability to view screen due to glare (14 PP100)

"Routing-the primary function of a navigation system-is obviously an issue and will continue to be," said Andy Bernhard, director at J.D. Power and Associates. "However, for nearly 10 years, the importance of ease of use has been emphasized by owners, and the continued high level of problems in this area begs the question: is the industry listening to how owners want to interact with their system?"

The study finds that system usability is one of the biggest contributors to problem incidence, with nearly one-third of reported problems related to ease of use of the navigation system. Furthermore, the trend toward integrating the controls of different systems in the vehicle, including audio, climate control and phone, only adds to the ease-of-use issues that owners experience with their navigation system. For instance, among those owners who consider their multimedia system's menu structure overall to be "not at all complex," the number of navigation system problems experienced is 243 PP100. However, among those who say the multimedia system interface is "very complex," the average number of problems is three times as high, at 735 PP100.

"There is a necessity in the industry to better understand how the complexity of interfaces and the implementation of navigation within the overall system impact the owner experience," said Bernhard. "Owners continue to demand a high level of technology, but it is through the integration of this technology into their day-to-day lives that both adoption and satisfaction will be influenced-and the industry continually appears to be missing the mark."

The Garmin system fitted to the Dodge Charger ranks highest in owner satisfaction with factory-installed navigation systems and performs particularly well in the navigation display screen, ease of use and speed of system factors. The Hyundai-Mobis navigation system supplied to the Hyundai Genesis Coupe follows in the rankings, and the Garmin system supplied to the Chrysler 300 series ranks third.

The 2011 U.S. Navigation Usage and Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 18,303 owners who recently purchased or leased new 2011 model-year vehicles with factory-installed navigation systems. The study was fielded in October 2011.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Chrysler did the smart thing, they asked themselves, "Do we make or know how to make Nav systems? Nope. Who's really good at it? Hmm... I know! We'll have an actual Nav company make ours! Hi, Garmin? Have I got a deal for you..." Not saying other auto makers don't use Nav supplied by actual Nav companies, but Garmin consistently seems to be a popular and effective choice. Good move Chrysler, know what you're good at and where you'll need help.
      Alex Rodriguez MacFa
      • 3 Years Ago
      I do think GPS NAVs are very helpful, but if you can't afford a $2,000 system just buy a Garmin GPS for about $200 or use the one in your smartphone. Other than that, MMI, iDrive, Command, etc are a bit to much in my opinion. Use a knob and screen to change the radio station? the A/C? are you f*** kidding me? I'm a modern guy. I like tech stuff, I like smartphones, iPads and always prefer new cars to classics, but there is a limit to everything. Adaptive cruise control??? adaptive suspension? self parking? I think is cheaper and safer to hire James and drive you around if you can't park or maintain a safe distance or change the radio station with a button. I think Apple is coming out with an App that you can drive your car with your iPhone!!!
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Alex Rodriguez MacFa
        The problem is not the technology, but the price premium manufacturers charge for it, and German manufacturers are worst in that area. I would love to have adaptive cruise control in my car, but I don't think it should cost more than $100. It's just a sensor which detects the nearest object in front of you. Take rear view camera - most manufacturers charge $400 - $1000 for it. My Ipod has two cameras and a LCD screen it only costs $200. Same goes for Keyless entry. It's just a glorified RFID tag. It's so cheap to build that it is pretty much standard in all luxury cars, but BMW and Mercedes charge ~$1000 for it. I don't understand why.
          • 3 Years Ago
          You missed the point. They can charge so much because there are suckers who will gladly pay.
          Alex Rodriguez MacFa
          • 3 Years Ago
          I hear ya, but the point of the article is not the price but the difficulty of usage. But you are correct, is ridiculous the prices they charge. I mean, a 47" LED TV runs for $1,500 (depends on the brand) and a 7" little screen with Nav cost $2,000??? iPads have GPS, touch screens, Internet and so on and they cost $830 with 64GB and 3G capability. Nav systems should cost around $1,000 at the most.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I've just about given up on any of the over-priced built in options, and even the basic Garmins are disappointing with the lack of updates... on Android the (free) Google Nav or on Windows Phone the Bing turn by turn is always up to date (traffic and maps)... it would make a lot more sense to simply install a bigger screen that can be slaved to the phone (and support a backup camera) and let the owner decide what nav capabilities they want... letting car designers create software interfaces hasn't exactly proven to be a success!
        • 3 Years Ago
        An HDMI input on the front to take over the screen would be like, so sexy - but somehow I don't think we'll ever, ever, ever see that. Keeps you from using what's already there you know. :)
      Mitesh Damania
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why can't the engineers work with the top GPS manufacturers liek Garmin or TOM TOM instead of working with 2nd tier like Pioneer who has no clue when it comes to audio, GPS, or a lot of other electronics.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Mitesh Damania
        Chrysler does. All the new Nav systems have Garmin software. Hence if you had read the report it said that the Dodge Charger is the highest rated with the Garmin system and you would see all the Chrysler cars listed have Garmin software. Oddly enough the 300 uses the same EXACT system. Not sure why it's rated lower.
          • 3 Years Ago
          There's a possibility that Chrysler owners expect the nav system from the Dodge to be mind readers in a Chrysler.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Manual input could be vastly improved with Comand. But, the #1 thing I hate is the fact that it can have a certain location as POI or accept it through manual input (so the location is in the database); but when you ask for directions it says: " Your destination is an area where turn by turn navigation cannot be provided. Please use the directional arrow to guide you. " What is up with that? It can point the destination out on the map, within a few yards, including the whole surrounding neighborhood, but it can't get navigate you through said neighborhood or town? Sometimes it is just one or two streets off of a main drag, so it gets you real close and it is no biggie but in some cases it is off by a few miles; so that for the final stage you need to zoom out a couple clicks and then the system doesn't draw the streets any more on screen. ... And if you have a river in-between and lots of one way streets in a several hundred year old town ... you can guess how fast you'll get there with the directional arrow. Software update reportedly doesn't resolve the issue. Need to buy a new car with the new Comand. Cough cough. So I pretty much google everything and take a printout. Quite frustrating for a $$$$ system compared to a $$ handheld that actually gets you there.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I have a strong dislike of integrated nav systems due to lack of upgradability. The tech changes way too much. I have the Navigon app for my iPhone and it does everything I need it to and it's frequently updated with new features, and it only cost me $60 compared to the $1,500+ a built-in nav generally costs.
      • 3 Years Ago
      My TomTom is amazing. It was around $90, and I can use it in any car I like. Upgrading to the Top Gear edition soon, for no other reason than it looks cool. I know people with MyFord touch screens, and most of them are going to therapy because of it. Poor bastards.
        • 3 Years Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Mitsubushis Rockford-Fosgate Navigation system isnt as bad as the ones listed. The only thing that it does not have is voice command(s) for the navigation part. I think you take away from the functionality when you add commands other than the navigation address and function commands. Just make it simple. People shouldn't not be worried about the music, stations or ipod functions in their car when they are driving. People should focus on the road.
      • 3 Years Ago
      But the Audi A4/Q5/Q7 Harman system is the same. How can they be rated differently?? Same goes for Land Rover .. same system in all models
        • 3 Years Ago
        I had the same question. My only answer is that JD Powers is the biggest piece of crap ranking/survey system I have ever seen implemented (having worked in the auto industry for 7 years).
      • 3 Years Ago
      Some people are just too stupid!! We have Nav in both our Audi and Volvo and both work great!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Think this just shows that the automakers should leave Navi technology to the navi companies like Garmin.......
      • 3 Years Ago
      My MiL recently bought an '08 Lexus ES (CPO car) with the factory nav system. She prefers her Garmin Nuvi instead. The Lexus nav system doesn't give any street names like an aftermarket unit does; it just has a big arrow on the screen, and tells you turn directions, like "Turn left in .8 miles." How about a street name, Lexus? Epic fail.
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