If you are in the process of buying a new car or are planning to do this in the near future, the quality of the on-board technology will probably be one of your biggest considerations. Manufacturers are packing their vehicles with the latest gadgets, doing everything from keeping you safe behind the wheel to improving your entertainment options. In this article, we will be taking a closer look at a few of the most popular features and which cars boast these particular qualities. Most people hold onto cars for several years, so you will want to select a vehicle that suits your need perfectly.
V2V communication does what is says in the title, but this doesn’t make it any less impressive. Essentially, this allows your car to ‘talk’ to other vehicles as well as some other surrounding objects such as traffic lights. This is very much a step in the direction of driverless vehicles which seems to be on its way. Cars will need to have the ability to interact with the road and other users around them if they intend to operate in the safest way possible. The 2017 Mercedes E-Class is a vehicle that is one of the pioneers of V2V technology, boasting the ability to interact with other high-tech cars which the road will soon be populated with.
Bluetooth is a feature that has been around in vehicles for some time now, giving the freedom for your phone and your car to interact more closely. As well as being able to play music and take calls, you can also use designated apps on your smartphone. Volvo is even planning to replace keys with Bluetooth technology. When you are trialling potential new vehicles, it is important that you check out this type of technology as you don’t want to be stuck with poor connectivity for years to come when this is likely to become more and more important in the future.
New cars are being built with more sophisticated infotainment systems such as the Subaru Impreza, giving you access to in-dashboard apps so you can access navigation, real-time traffic updates and keep yourself entertained on long journeys. The Chevy MyLink technology is a good example of combining critical functions including automatic crash notifications and also tethering your infotainment apps. A lot of other cars are installing Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. Crucially, these features prevent people from trying to text while driving as you can dictate messages or even make a good old-fashioned phone call!
We mentioned briefly how vehicle manufacturers are always taking steps to improve the safety of drivers, passengers and other road users, and the back-up camera is certainly one of the most effective features on the market. Rather than straining to see what is going on around you, the camera will give you a much more detailed view. These back-up cameras are already cutting back on the number of accidents caused by reversing, and squeezing into a tight space becomes so much easier. Luckily, a huge number of manufacturers are installing these as standard on their vehicles.
Governments across the world are making bold claims about banning non-electric and hybrid cars in the future. As well as being more environmentally friendly, they are also more cost-effective as well. Advancements in battery technology are meaning that the standard objection of electric cars not having enough range are starting to disappear. Manufacturers across the board are queueing up to unveil their own electric vehicles. Tesla is now bringing out its mass-market electric car, and a number of the other big guns aren’t far behind. Taking all of this into account, one of the biggest decisions that you make about your new car is whether you are going to buy standard, hybrid or electric.
Automatic Emergency Braking
Returning to safety features, automatic emergency braking is designed to prevent you from getting into any serious collisions while you are driving. For most vehicles that are designed with this feature, the first warning will be an audio or visual one when a crash is imminent. If this is unsuccessful, the car will automatically apply the brakes for you. In 2015, no less than 10 of the big manufacturers committed to making this feature standard in their new vehicles, so you should check to see if your new car also includes it.
Parking has long been a problem for drivers across the spectrum, and many manufacturers are solving this problem with park-assist – a combination of cameras and sensors that allow vehicles to effectively park themselves. Some manufacturers are taking this one step further like Tesla vehicles with Autopilot, the 2016 BMW 7 Series, and the 2017 Mercedes E-Class, which offer a remote parking system. Of course, this is a feature which is very much in its infancy, and it can generally only be used on private property, but it is yet another glimpse into the future of cars.
Music was the original electronic feature to enter automobiles, and we have come a long way since tape decks. There are now more ways than ever to enjoy music in your car such as satellite radio, portable device integration via USB, SD cards and streaming apps. Of course, with all of these things, they are only as enjoyable as the stereo system which they are played through. In luxury cars, you can get the ultimate in luxury Bang & Olufsen systems, but at the more affordable end of the scale are the Infinity systems in many Kia vehicles.
A heads-up display system is very useful in encouraging you to always keep your eyes on the road rather than constantly turning your head to take in vital information from your car. The Audi Q7 is a good example of a car which offers this feature, allowing you to check the current speed, speed limit, and navigation system. With real-time traffic updates, you can also decide whether you should stay on your current course or if it is time to change route.
Blind Spot Awareness
For decades, that hazardous blind spot has caused problems for drivers all around the world. Manufacturers have spotted this issue and many are now creating their vehicles with a blind spot monitoring system. This could be something as simple as a warning signal on the side of the mirror or even a noise that alerts the driver that it is not currently safe to change lanes.
WiFi and LTE 4G Connectivity
In the modern world, people don’t want to go too long without having connectivity to the internet. WiFi and LTE 4G essentially works by turning your car into a hotspot, which in turn allows you to connect several devices at once. Of course, you will have to decide on what sort of data plan you go for, but it can be a life-saver on long journeys when your kids are driving you crazy!
Dual-Zone Automatic Climate Control
If you have ever had that argument about whether it is too hot or too cold in the car, this particular feature helps you to make it a thing of the past. You can fine-tune the temperature settings in the driver and front passenger side, and you can even set it to auto mode where the system will make all the necessary adjustments for you!
You will feel like you are in a scene from the classic David Hasselhoff show Knight Rider when you start talking to your car, but voice activation seems to be the way things are going for many manufacturers. Whether you are trying to choose the perfect song, set your next destination or make a call, doing it by voice is the much more efficient and safe way rather than fiddling around with your dashboard while you are supposed to be driving.
Automatic High Beams
This is a particularly useful feature if you live in a poorly lit area or you are driving along the country backstreets. Just like it says in the name, this feature will automatically turn off your high beams when there are cars approaching and back on again when they have passed.
So, there you have it, a detailed guide to some of the most useful and impressive modern car features on the market these days. When you are looking for car technology, safety should be your primary concern, and there are a host of features that make your driving experience so much safer than it once was. You should also consider which type of technology is likely to stand the test of time and which is a passing fad that will become redundant in a few years. Also, there is the issue of fuel efficiency and whether or not to buy electric. Finally, you have all the information and entertainment options that will make driving a more enjoyable experience all-round. There is a lot to think about!