In many respects technology has made life a lot easier for us. But one downside is that it has made life a little more complicated for the less tech savvy people. Buying a modern 21st century car can be a daunting task with all the hi-tech being incorporated to make the driving experience more safer and more pleasant.
It’s important you know what to look for in terms of the in-car technology when purchasing a new car especially since a car is something you have to use for a long time, unlike a smartphone or any mobile gadget that you can change after a few months quite easily. These piece would look at some of the things to test, technology-wise, when buying a modern car.
1. The infotainment interface: this is the equivalent of the user interface in our gadgets, or the screen. Surprisingly, advancement in this aspect of car technology is still in its infancy, so doing a comparative analysis of the best interface in the market is almost impossible because of the small data size. But the rule of thumb here is to look out for screens that are easily within reach of the driver. Also the visibility of the screen in the afternoon must be checked as well as the size of the icons. You don’t want small icons. Remember, this is where you control audio and video playback, and navigation. So a large screen, large icons, intuitive and dynamic layout and accurate voice activation are the most important things to look out for.
2. Connectivity and Apps: staying connected all the time these days is not an option. We always want to stay connected for reasons ranging from work or just to do ordinary stuff like stream audio and video from the net and many other fun things. That is why integrating connectivity in the modern car has become very important to car manufacturers. And of course with adequate connectivity, awesome in-car apps like apps to control navigation, real-time traffic apps and local search engines must be part of the bundle. For now car makers are working with three variants:
a. embedded- this is where the car comes with an embedded modem. In which case you need to buy a data plan from your local isp
b. tethered- this is where a good Bluetooth or WiFi app in the car is important because connectivity is from your mobile gadgets like smartphone to your car. Here, you utilize your mobile gadget’s data plan for your needs.
c. hybrid- this is a combination of embedded and tethered.
Audio: arguably, this was the first consumer technology to enter the car. The technology has come such a long way that it is now as good as the audio output in our homes. The modern car should provide AM and FM in HD, satellite radio, CD and DVD, industry standard hard drives, portable device integration via USB, auxiliary inputs, SD cards, and streaming music apps. Don’t be alarmed, what all that means is that your car has all the audio and video capabilities of a good laptop, and a sound output to rival the best. Audio output is where cars really excel with some of the industry’s high end speakers integrated into the car to match the car’s acoustics.
Navigation: the hi-tech car must have the latest navigation tools built into them. These must be able to utilize such services as Google Earth, various cloud services and of course it must be linked to the car’s audio system for good interactivity with the driver.
Bluetooth: with car Bluetooth, one must look out for compatibility with one’s mobile gadget. The issue of compatibility with mobile gadgets is one of the biggest problem in deploying this technology to date. So, always make sure that the car’s Bluetooth is compatible with your device of choice. That is why I will always plump for the hybrid connectivity.
So when test driving your hi-tech car, do spend about 30 minutes of the time to test out these features. After all it is your money your are spending and a tech savvy dude deserves the best a car can offer, tech-wise.