In Consumer Reports' reliability study that came out a couple months ago, the Honda Accord V6's reliability was slammed. But it wasn't particularly because of the mechanical pieces of the Accord V6, just that all top-level Accords with V6s got an especially troublesome touchscreen radio. So the Accord V6 is basically not recommended because of a terrible radio.
That's a strange reason to not recommend a car, especially one as competent overall as a midsize sedan as the Accord is. But hey, the radio constitutes one of the thousands of parts in a car. If it doesn't work, it is a problem with the car.
The JD Power survey on vehicle dependability came out last week and revealed a similar theme. Cars are getting less dependable, but it's not so much to do with typical mechanical breakdowns so much as electrical maladies that can range from irritating to totally critical. Being unable to easily program your preset radio stations is one thing. Being unable to turn on your A/C without restarting the car so the touchscreen works again is another.
Can you still depend on a car with problems like that? There were different opinions, so here's a couple:
What I don't understand is why problems with GPS/Nav/In-Car-Entertainment systems are counted against a vehicles reliability.
Sure, there have been issues with several specific systems; Ford's Sync to name one. But how does not being able to use the radio affect the car's ability start, turn, brake, and drive?
Do these GPS faults need cataloged? Absolutely.
Should problems with software hurt the mechanical evaluation of a car? No. Especially when many people are rating these systems poorly because they just don't know/weren't taught how to use it.
If the car won't run without the software, absolutely it's a fair knock. You want to use the radio, but the software makes it difficult? Same as a radio knob that keeps falling off or a radio that "drifts" as it heats up.
Totally legit complaints, and more so as cars become more drive-by-wire.
So what it comes down to is whether it's going to prevent the car from doing its intended function. That probably means different things if you intended your car to be transportation, or transportation and an information center.
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