7 On Your Side: Consumer Reports puts car infotainment systems to the test

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7 On Your Side teamed up with Consumer Reports to find which car infotainment systems are the best. (KGO-TV)

Entertainment systems in new cars are becoming one of the big factors when buying a vehicle. 7 On Your Side's Michael Finney teamed up with Consumer Reports to find which ones are the best.

Consumer Reports just surveyed nearly 60,000 of its subscribers to see which infotainment systems are best-liked and which are more trouble than they're worth.

Gone are the days of a simple radio in your car to keep you entertained. Automakers have been making infotainment systems more and more sophisticated with touch screens, Bluetooth technology and most of the functionality you get with a smartphone. But some of these systems can be infuriatingly hard to use.

"Some systems require too many steps to do simple things. Others don't even have a basic volume knob. And other systems can be hard to figure out or unreliable to respond," said Tom Mutchler, Consumer Reports auto engineer.

Infiniti's new InTouch system is the worst, according to a Consumer Reports survey of 58,000 of its subscribers.

Cadillac's CUE system isn't much better. One survey respondent describes it as "stupidly complex and unintuitive." and another said: "This car really needs a co-pilot with an IT degree."

Some infotainment systems do get it right. Chrysler's Uconnect 8.4 system, with its big screen and easy-to-use interface, has the happiest users in the Consumer Reports survey.

"You don't need the manual or an advanced programming degree," one commented. "This sounds cheesy, but we love it," another gushed.

Car owners with Hyundai's infotainment system are also pretty pleased. They especially like the Bluetooth system and the voice commands.

You'll find top-performing infotainment systems in several cars. Consumer Reports recommends the Hyundai Sonata, Chevrolet Impala and Kia Optima.

Consumer Reports is published by Consumers Union. Both Consumer Reports and Consumers Union are not-for-profit organizations that accept no advertising. Neither has any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site.

(All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2014. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)
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