JD Powers survey: Traffic info & voice control key navigation features

A recent J.D. Power and Associates survey of nearly 17,000 customers who purchased or leased new 2009 model-year vehicles with factory-installed navigation systems reveals that real-time traffic information, as well as voice recognition, is becoming an increasingly popular feature.

The 2009 Navigation Usage and Satisfaction Study finds that 26 percent of owners report having a factory-installed navigation system equipped with real-time traffic capabilities—twice the proportion of owners in 2008 who said the same. Among owners whose systems do not currently have the real-time traffic feature, nearly 80 percent report interest in having the option in the future.

Real-time traffic capability has a considerable impact on overall navigation system satisfaction, as satisfaction averages 8.1 (on a 10-point scale) among owners with the feature, compared with 7.3 among those without.

With regard to voice recognition, approximately 60 percent of owners report having the feature on their factory-installed navigation system, according to the study. Among those owners who do not currently have the feature, two-thirds of respondents express an interest in having it in the future.

Further, overall navigation system satisfaction is positively impacted by the presence of voice recognition. Among owners who report having the feature, satisfaction averages 7.7 compared with an average of 7.2 among owners of systems without voice recognition technology.

Highlights from the study include:

* The Clarion navigation system supplied to the Lincoln MKS ranks highest in consumer satisfaction with factory-installed navigation systems and performs particularly well with the ease of use factor.

* More than one-half of respondents report using their system on a regular basis (at least one to two times per week).

* Among consumers who have previously owned a vehicle equipped with a factory-installed navigation system, approximately 80 percent say that their current system is performing at the same level or better than their previous system.

* Approximately one-fourth of consumers say they believe that an annual update for mapping software is necessary and would be willing to pay an average price of $57 for updates.

See full list of navigation systems with ratings here.

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