If the in-car infotainment system in your year-old car is giving you fits, you’ll be heartened (or not) to learn that other consumers have the same big gripe. In the Consumer Reports 2014 Annual Reliability Survey, the category that included more complaints than any others was the one that covered in-car electronics.

But first, let’s go over some of the issues many of us have gnashed our teeth over:

  • Bluetooth technology that fails to pair systems with drivers’ phones
  • Ford’s MyFord Touch system and all its associated gripes
  • Unresponsive, sluggish, and overly complex touch screens
  • Confusing dashboard infotainment systems promising to provide “seamless” integration of music, navigation and other smartphone apps – but frequently don’t

Survey Findings

What did the Consumer Reports 2014 Annual Reliability Survey uncover? Mainly that first-year models from Infiniti, Jeep, Fiat, Ram, Cadillac, Ford, and Honda have all seen “significant problem rates from infotainment bugs and glitches.”

The publication notes that a new problem includes “multi-use controllers that don’t function properly.”

Case in point: the Intouch system in the new Infiniti Q50 sedan, ranked the worst first-year infotainment system in this year’s survey. More than one in five owners reported having a problem with the system.

There’s more bad news for Infiniti in that, coupled with the QX60 SUV’s poor reliability performance, Infiniti’s reliability rank plummeted 14 points to #20 overall. This is the steepest drop in reliability performance of all 28 brands included in this year’s survey.

Some good news for Ford, however, is that the changes and updates to the Ford and Lincoln MyTouch systems have contributed to them being “less troublesome year after year.” The publication noted the 2011 Ford Explorer, when it was introduced, had a 10 percent complaint rate on infotainment system, and that peaked at 28 percent. The revised system in the 2014 Explorer, on the other hand, has a 3 percent complaint rate for the same trouble areas.

Honda also scored a hit, as the automaker “seems to have fixed a glitch with its HondaLink” that was one of the reasons Consumer Reports didn’t recommend the redesigned Honda Accord V6 last year.

In addition, Chrysler’s UConnect touch-screen system appears to have made some inroads in ironing out the bugs from its first iteration, according to Consumer Reports.

As for the overall winners and losers in this year’s survey, check out the graphic above. Lexus is at the top of the list, followed by Toyota, Mazda, Honda, Audi and Buick (moving up six spots since last year), Subaru, Scion, Porsche, and Kia.

Lexus’ best car was the CT200h; its worst, the IS 250 sedan. Toyota’s best was the Prius C; worst, the Avalon sedan. Mazda’s best was the 6; the worst, the 3. Honda’s best was the Civic coupe and the worst, the Odyssey. Audis best was the Allroad and the worst, the S5. Buick’s best was the Verano; the worst, the V6 LaCrosse.

Worst performers were Fiat (#28), followed by Jeep, Ram, Dodge, Mercedes-Benz, Ford, Chrysler, Chevrolet, Infiniti, and GMC.

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