For anyone that hasn’t shopped for a car within the last few years, they will likely be blown away by how much technology is in new offerings today. Some are more advanced than others, like the 2016 Cadillac XTS with built-in OnStar 4G LTE connectivity essentially turning it into a rolling Wi-Fi hotspot, or the 2017 Ford Edge featuring the automaker’s latest SYNC 3 infotainment system implementing smartphone-like gestures so inputs feel like second nature. Read about these two vehicles and more below!
Kia is an example of how rapidly a vehicle manufacturer can grow by leaps and bounds in just a few years. The Cadenza is all-new for 2017 showing off a stronger and lighter body, and the company’s first application of a smooth and efficient eight-speed automatic transmission in a front-wheel drive package. Another neat addition is wireless charging capability, using electromagnetic fields to inductively top up that new iPhone X, 8 or other compatible mobile device while it rests in the center console.
Slotted between the venerable Escape and Explorer models, the Edge crossover debuted in 2007 and is now in its second generation. The current platform utilizes the aforementioned SYNC 3, which is worlds ahead of the outgoing MyFord Touch setup. Not only does it recognize more conversational voice commands, the quick-response graphical interface mimics a smartphone’s and accepts intuitive touch commands like pinch-to-zoom functionality on the navigation app, for instance. Also similar to a cell phone, the latest software updates are applied over-the-air via Wi-Fi.
Completely redesigned in 2016, the crown jewel of the sporty Audi TT is most certainly the Virtual Cockpit. Replacing an analog speedometer, tachometer, and other gauges found on traditional dashboards, the instrument cluster has been transformed into a fully digital and dynamic 12.3-inch widescreen unit. At the touch of a button, the main part of the display can be turned into a vibrant Google Earth map suddenly making programming the GPS a whole lot more fun.
Cadillac calls its full-size XTS luxury sedan “one of the most technologically advanced production cars in the brand’s history.” The company wouldn’t be wrong, as the XTS boasts the subscription-based OnStar live concierge service providing assistance with everything from restaurant recommendations to setting a destination in the onboard navigation system. Whenever the vehicle is on, it acts like a 4G LTE Wi-Fi mobile hub allowing occupants to connect their electronic gadgets to the Internet. On top of all this, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both supported turning the central monitor into an extension of the user’s smartphone.
Channelling a little fighter plane ingenuity, contemporary BMW products including the 3 Series lineup have an available Head-Up Display (HUD) option. Vehicle data such as speed, RPMs and turn-by-turn directions are beamed onto the windshield, directly into the line of sight of the driver, so he or she doesn’t have to take their eyes off the road when checking on such important information. The HUD hardware is comprised of a small projector, mirrors, and a special translucent film integrated into the windscreen glass.