Buying a Car? 9 Tech Savvy Features to Look For

If you’re in the market for a new car but haven’t started shopping, there’s a dizzying array of new technology features that are designed to enhance the in-car experience. Cameras, sensors, and voice recognition technology are only some of the new features that have been added to vehicles since your last trip to the dealership. Here’s a look at 9 tech savvy features designed to enhance your driving experience and ultimately make your ride safer.

Proximity sensors— Microchips in your car’s key fob and in the vehicle itself know where you are. Many of Kia’s models such as the Sorento, Optima, and Rio allow you to press a button on the car’s handle to unlock the doors without even taking the key out of your pocket or purse.

Push button start— Car owners who are used to starting their cars with keys are often confused by new cars that feature push button start to the right of the steering column. Proximity sensors know when the key is inside the car and allow you to push the button to start the car.

Embedded cameras— Rear vision cameras not only can assist drivers in providing another set of eyes to ensure that you’re backing up safely but cars such the Cadillac SRX also feature cameras on both sides of the car that serve to keep cars in their lane. When veering too close to the left side lane line, the Cadillac SRX alerts the driver by vibrating the left side of the driver’s seat. Veer too close to another vehicle or object on the right side and the right side of the seat will vibrate alerting you to possible danger on that side of the car.

Bluetooth pairing for hands free calling— With many states passing laws prohibiting the use of cell phones while driving, Bluetooth pairing is becoming more common in vehicles on the market. Calls can be taken or made by pushing buttons on the steering wheel or using voice commands that ultimately allow us to keep our eyes on the road and be less distracted while driving.

Touch screens— Touch screens in the center console serve as the car’s information hub and place where systems like Toyota’s Entune allows drivers to make calls via Bluetooth pairing, listen to music from Pandora, Sirius, or the radio, while also displaying helpful information such as your average speed, MPG for your trip, and the distance you can travel on what’s left in your gas tank.

Improved vehicle stabilizationMercedes ML350 features Active Curve Assist as part of the new BlueTEC 4Matic that works to stabilize the vehicle to keep it from tipping over in hazardous weather, navigating the urban jungle, or off roading. The Active Curve System features active anti-roll bars that are split in the middle to help regulate the cars’ hydraulics. Counteracting bars prevent the vehicle from rolling and also keeps passengers from getting thrown around. A warning system does indicate when the car is operating in unsafe conditions and acts by emitting an audible beep and lighting up the red lights mounted to the top of the dashboard. The car’s Electronic Stability Program (ESP) also works to determine the path being steered in relation to the car’s actual path and when combined with the Active Curve System, both help keep passengers upright while riding in the vehicle.

Integrated USB— Powered USB ports in the car’s center console and also in the front center armrest allow drivers and passenger alike to charge their devices when on the go. USB ports also allow for you to play music from your iPod or smartphone through the car’s stereo. The best USB ports are hidden to keep phones and other devices out of view.

Integrated navigation— Gone are the days when you need to rely solely on a separate navigation system suction cupped to your car’s windshield to get to where you’re going. Beautiful touch screen displays in cars such as the Ford Escape not only safely guide you to your destination but Ford Sync provide an almost 3D representation of buildings and landmarks along your route in vivid color.

Improved fuel economy— The price of gas is rising with no indication that what we pay at the pump will drop anytime soon and thankfully car manufacturers are responding with cars that get more miles per gallon than ever before. Fuel efficiency can be found throughout car manufacturer’s lines without even looking at hybrids. Cars such as the sporty Mazda M3 have been known to average 33 MPG.

Happy family with a new car via Shutterstock

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