If it’s been a few years since you bought a car then you might be taken aback by the level of technology now available. To help you get more familiar with what’s on offer, here are some of the most useful features to consider when buying a new vehicle in 2018.
Self-driving features for safety and ease
While fully autonomous cars are still a way off, automakers are loading new models with more self-driving features to improve safety and comfort. Adaptive cruise control is one that might help if you have a demanding commute, as it regulates the speed of your vehicle with the car ahead to save your accelerate-and-brake foot some work.
The 2018 Honda Accord is a vehicle laden with such functions. Named ExtremeTech’s best car of 2018, it incorporates adaptive cruise control and also comes with lane-keep assist with road departure mitigation, forward collision warning, collision mitigation braking and traffic sign recognition. That’s a lot of assisting, warning and mitigation to keep you safe. On top of that, all but the base model get blind spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert, too.
ExtremeTech’s vote for the best affordable self-driving technology goes to Nissan’s ProPilot Assist. Currently available on the 2018 Nissan Rogue, to be closely followed by the Nissan Leaf, for $800 and the push of a button you get adaptive cruise control and lane centering assistance.
Convenient mobile apps
Mobile apps are changing how we interact with cars in ever-growing ways, and most automakers offer some kind of app of their own. Consider those that enable you to remotely lock and unlock your doors, and even start the car remotely to warm it up on a frosty morning, recommends KBB.
New developments from Volvo and BMW give a flavor of other possibilities opened up by smartphone apps. Volvo has expanded its “digital ecosystem” from San Francisco to Seattle, enabling owners of 2015 and later models to order services like filling the tank, or a car wash. And this year BMW is incorporating technology from Parkmobile to enable drivers to reserve and pay for parking in 250 cities across the U.S. and Canada.
Better connectivity, fewer Bluetooth blues
Problems pairing mobile phones with infotainment systems have been a common complaint in recent new-car satisfaction surveys, reports Forbes, and motorists will be pleased to learn steps are being taken to make it easier. Honda, for example, has introduced Near Field Communication technology on the 2018 Accord, enabling drivers to tap their Android phone on an “N” logo on the dashboard to hook up their phone.
Easier parking with 360-degree cameras
Things have moved on from rear-view cameras with plenty of vehicles now coming with 360-degree options – particularly handy for parking, whether in a lot, garage or on the street. Cameras covering all sides combine to provide an aerial view that keeps you in control and your vehicle dent free. These systems can be found on a range of rides from economy vehicles to large SUVs.
Hard-to-beat Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
Consider choosing a car supporting Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, which are more user-friendly options than many in-car infotainment systems, says KBB. Connecting your smart phone can provide a simpler, more familiar way to access essentials like maps and music, and make your travels that bit easier.
Need help working out what you can afford on a potential car purchase? Try our auto finance calculators to see what may work.