Wards Auto has a long and reputable history of various automotive rankings. With technology more prevalent in modern vehicles, one of the group's more recent categories is user experience (UX). Once upon a time, this might have been as simple as comfortable accommodations with power windows, but these days a user experience is far more complex.
Five years ago, this category was introduced to focus more on the tech aspect and functionality of a vehicle interior. This year marked some additional challenges for the review, with coronavirus limiting both the number of vehicles to evaluate, and the ability of testers to actually get hands-on. Ultimately, eight judges based in the Detroit area spent time with 18 vehicles that met eligibility requirements of being either completely new, or significantly updated.
Gallery: 2021 Kia Seltos
As for the criteria, considerable attention is given to pretty much every tech-based system offered in a vehicle. It’s not just a list of available items, but how well those items work and how easy they are to use. That’s especially critical while the vehicle is in motion, as there’s a strong argument to be made for modern technology being too much of a distraction. As such, everything from touchscreen layouts to smartphone pairing and the effectiveness of driver-assist systems were evaluated closely.
It should be no real surprise that SUVs and crossovers dominate the list. Luxury offerings include the Audi Q7 and BMW X7, though Mercedes made the list with its CLA-Class. Other non-SUVs include the Subaru Legacy and Hyundai Sonata, and lest you think the winners are all high-dollar vehicles, the Kia Seltos made the list as the only sub-$30,000 vehicle. Pricewise, the new Chevrolet Trailblazer was a close second behind Kia, with the Ford Escape, Toyota Highlander, and VW Atlas Cross Sport rounding out the ten winners.
Full information on the study is available at the source link below.