By Chris Jagielski, Automotive Technology Columnist
(Photo courtesy of ConsumerReports.com)
Buying a new car is tricky; especially if you have no idea what features you’re looking for in a vehicle. Technology should be close to number one, behind safety. I remember when CD players were optional and now they’re almost extinct. Welcome to the New Age.
First up should be USB and iPod connectivity. Cassettes are dead in new cars and CD players are slowly being discarded. Instead, every new car should have an auxiliary port (1/8″ plug) or a USB port. If new cars are not making auxiliary/USB ports standard, they are behind the rest of the automakers with upgraded tech. Nobody is going to carry around CDs anymore, unless they have their favorite “mix” from back in the day. Consumers need to feel caught up with everybody else when it comes to technology, so they are going to choose cars that satisfy their needs.
The second feature should be rearview cameras. Not everybody pays attention when they reverse and there are many blind-spots while doing so. Therefore, these cameras are a must-have. However, in my opinion, I do not prefer rearview cameras, as they take the “real driver” out of all of us. It’s a growing trend to rely heavily on technology rather than relying on our perceptional skills. For example, one of my friends always used to tilt his head and check his corners while backing up, but once he purchased a new vehicle with a rearview camera, he only looked at the screen. That screen does not cover every angle; people must still turn their heads. But to keep up with current technology and safety, the US government has been trying to make the cameras required since 2008, more recently pushed back until 2014.
Bluetooth connectivity should be the third choice. To keep distracted drivers less distracted, Bluetooth integration must be a standard in your new vehicle. With new laws and points on your license, nobody wants to be caught on their phone. Therefore, Bluetooth integration allows you to use your phone hands-free, without any distractions.
Another standard feature your new vehicle should include is blind-spot monitoring. Let’s face it – there are many cars out there that are sleek and have poor visibility. This is where blind-sport monitoring comes into play. While switching lanes, it is sometimes difficult to notice if a car is passing you or not, so the sensors will beep and warn you if it is not clear to pass. These are a must-have feature while purchasing a new car.
Lastly- application integration. Phones are becoming smarter, as are cars. Thus, techies enjoy cars that have smart enough infotainment systems to use apps that are on their smartphones. These apps usually include GPS navigation, music, or audio books. I am a tech-savvy guy myself, so when it comes to looking for a new vehicle, app integration is a must-have. I like to keep up with the current technology and move as fast as the rest of the world does.