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The Best Car Technology

The Best Car Technology

The cars of today are lightyears ahead of models from just 10-15 years ago when it comes to advanced technology features. In fact, over 90% of new vehicles now come equipped with some form of high-tech driver assistance system, according to statistics from the Society of Automotive Engineers. From collision avoidance that can automatically brake for you, to AI-powered voice controls and fully digital dashboards, automakers are packing their latest models with innovative tech to make driving safer, easier and more enjoyable.


While these intelligent features used to be exclusive to high-end luxury vehicles, they are now making their way into affordable mainstream cars as well. Forward-thinking brands are democratizing access to the latest technology so everyone can benefit – not just those with six-figure budgets. This article will explore some of the most exciting tech making its way into new cars across all price points. We’ll look at must-have safety systems, cutting-edge convenience and comfort upgrades, next-level infotainment and how automakers are even innovating toward a future of self-driving vehicles. Read on to discover the top high-tech features to look for in your next new car purchase.

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Advanced Driver Assistance Systems

Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) encompass a range of safety technologies aimed at avoiding collisions and accidents. Key ADAS features like automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, and blind spot monitoring that were once limited to luxury vehicles are now becoming standard even on affordable, mainstream models.

For example, the 2023 Hyundai Elantra includes automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, driver attention warning, and high beam assist as standard equipment even on the base model. Similarly, the 2023 Chevrolet Equinox includes automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, and front pedestrian braking on all trims.

Other mainstream brands like Kia, Nissan, Honda, Toyota, Ford, and Subaru also offer a full suite of active safety tech on their latest models. By making these potentially life-saving ADAS features more widely accessible, automakers are helping protect drivers of all budgets.

 

Collision Avoidance Tech

Collision avoidance technology is rapidly advancing to help prevent accidents and save lives. Key systems to look for include automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, and blind spot monitoring.

Automatic emergency braking can detect stopped vehicles ahead and pedestrians in your path, and automatically brake if you don’t react in time. This technology can prevent rear end collisions and reduce pedestrian fatalities. Affordable vehicles like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla now come standard with auto brake systems.

Lane keeping assist uses a camera to detect lane markings. If you start to drift out of your lane unintentionally, it can nudge the steering wheel to guide you back into the proper lane. This tech helps avoid dangerous lane departure crashes, especially for drowsy or distracted drivers. You can find lane keeping assist on affordable models like the Hyundai Elantra and Kia Forte.

Blind spot monitoring uses sensors to detect vehicles in your side blind zones that you can’t see in the mirrors. If you activate your turn signal to change lanes while a vehicle is in your blind spot, it provides a warning. This alerts you not to make an unsafe lane change that could cause a sideswipe crash. Mainstream brands like Subaru, Ford and Chevrolet offer blind spot monitoring across their lineups.

 

Driver Alert Features

Driver alert features use advanced technology to help keep drivers focused and aware while on the road. Systems like driver attention monitoring and traffic sign recognition can provide vital safety warnings and information.

Driver attention monitoring systems use interior cameras or other sensors to track the driver’s eyes, head position, steering wheel input and other signals. If the technology detects possible drowsiness or distraction based on the driver’s behavior, it can provide audible and visual warnings advising the driver to take a break or refocus on the road.

Traffic sign recognition uses a forward-facing camera and image recognition software to read speed limit signs, stop signs, yield signs and other traffic signals. The information is then displayed on the instrument cluster or heads-up display to remind drivers of the proper speed or road rules. This takes the guesswork out of knowing the current speed limit or other regulations.

Even affordable mainstream models now offer driver alert tech that used to be exclusive to luxury vehicles. For example, the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic offer lane keeping assist and road sign assist at very reasonable pricing. Drivers no longer need to buy a high-end luxury car to get access to potentially life-saving alert features.

 

Surround View Cameras

Surround view camera systems use multiple cameras mounted around the exterior of the vehicle to give drivers a 360-degree view around the car. These systems stitch together video feeds from wide-angle cameras on the front, rear, and sides of the vehicle into a single bird’s-eye view displayed on the center infotainment screen. This provides a helpful top-down perspective that makes parking and maneuvering in tight spaces much easier.

By eliminating blind spots, surround view systems greatly aid drivers when parallel parking, pulling into garages, and completing other tricky maneuvers. The cameras allow you to clearly see how close you are to curbs, walls, and other vehicles when parking. This takes the guesswork out of lining up within the lines and avoiding scrapes or bumps. The systems also activate helpful trajectory lines on the display to show your path based on the steering wheel position.

Surround view camera technology used to be exclusive to luxury vehicles, but more mainstream brands now offer the tech. For example, top family SUVs like the Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade, and Subaru Ascent offer surround views to aid with parking these larger vehicles. Compact SUVs like the Mazda CX-30 also include 360 cameras to make the most of their maneuverable size. Across segments, surround view systems provide extra visibility and confidence for today’s drivers.

 

Enhanced Voice Controls

Voice control technology has advanced rapidly in recent years, allowing drivers to access more features and functions through simple voice commands. The latest systems leverage natural language processing, so you can speak naturally instead of using rigid preset commands. Many models now offer expanded capabilities through enhanced voice recognition software.

With the right voice control system, you can adjust climate settings, tune the radio, make calls and send messages, enter navigation destinations, check vehicle information like fuel level and tire pressure, and even control smart home devices – all without ever taking your hands off the wheel. This allows for safer, less distracted driving.

Voice assistants like Siri, Google Assistant and Alexa are being integrated directly into infotainment systems, bringing smart features into the car. You can ask for music suggestions, get answers to general questions, listen to audiobooks or podcasts, and more. Voice tech is making it easier than ever to access the information and entertainment you want on the go.

While these advanced voice control systems used to be exclusive to high-end luxury vehicles, they are now making their way into affordable mainstream models as well. Brands like Kia, Hyundai, Chevrolet and Toyota now offer enhanced voice recognition and natural language voice assistants – no longer requiring you to break the bank just to get the latest tech.

 

Wireless Device Connectivity

One of the most convenient car technologies today is wireless device connectivity, which allows you to seamlessly pair your smartphone to your vehicle’s infotainment system. Key options like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto enable your apps, contacts, music and more to be accessed directly through the touchscreen. This allows for easy streaming of playlists, podcasts, audiobooks and navigation.

Previously, you had to plug your phone in with a cable to utilize these services. But now many affordable models offer wireless connectivity to free you from cords. For example, mainstream brands like Kia and Hyundai provide wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto even on lower trims. This lets you effortlessly access your smartphone’s functionality for calls, messages, entertainment and more without the hassle of plugging in.

Wireless connectivity has become a must-have for tech-focused drivers. It’s an affordable way to integrate the apps and services you rely on into a seamless in-car experience. With smartphone integration now available wirelessly on many budget-friendly models, you don’t have to spend a fortune to stay connected on the go.

 

Heads-Up Displays

Heads-up displays (HUDs) project important driving information onto the windshield, allowing drivers to keep their eyes on the road. HUDs display data like vehicle speed, navigation directions, and driver assist alerts directly in the driver’s line of sight.

By enabling drivers to monitor information without looking away from the road, HUDs provide safety benefits. Studies have shown HUDs can reduce driver distraction and reaction times to hazards. They are especially useful for displaying warnings from collision avoidance systems.

Once limited to luxury vehicles, HUDs are now going mainstream. Many affordable brands now offer HUD technology on top trims. For example, the Honda Civic displays turn-by-turn directions on its HUD, while Chevrolet offers a HUD on the Equinox showing speed, safety alerts and navigation.

 

Massaging Seats

One high-tech convenience feature that is making its way from luxury vehicles into more mainstream models is massaging seats. Many new vehicles now offer front seats with multiple massage modes and adjustable intensity to help keep the driver and front passenger relaxed and comfortable, especially on long drives.

Massaging seats use an array of concealed air bladders and vibrating motors in the seat back, cushion, and even side bolsters. The massage motions help relieve muscle tension and soreness by mimicking the kneading and rolling techniques used in human massage therapy. Most systems have several programmed massage modes to target different areas of the body, along with adjustable intensity levels from light to vigorous.

Massage functions can usually be activated at the touch of a button and controlled through the central infotainment screen. Some models even allow customizing the exact location and type of massage. Heated seats are often bundled with the massage feature for added comfort and relaxation. The massage automatically shuts off after a set time to prevent overuse.

While these seats used to be exclusive to ultra-luxury brands like Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Lexus, they are now migrating into top trims of popular models from Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, Toyota and others. For those wanting to add a spa-like experience to their daily commute or long road trip without breaking the bank, massage seats are an indulgent tech feature to look for.

 

Automatic Parking Assistants

One of the latest high-tech convenience features making its way to affordable vehicles is automatic parking technology. These intelligent systems can steer the vehicle into parallel or perpendicular parking spaces with little or no driver input. The technology uses a suite of cameras, ultrasonic sensors and radar to scan the surroundings and identify viable spots. It then takes over the steering to expertly maneuver into place as the driver controls the brakes and shifter. This takes the stress out of parking in tight spaces.

Mainstream brands like Ford, Hyundai, Kia and Toyota now offer auto park assistants on certain models priced under $30,000. The Ford Escape features Active Park Assist 2.0 that handles steering, gear selection, acceleration and braking to parallel and perpendicular park with ease. Hyundai’s Smart Park Assist uses sensors to find spaces and automatically steer into them in reverse. Kia’s Remote Smart Parking Assist even allows parking and unparking the vehicle while standing outside using the key fob. Toyota offers Intelligent Parking Assist on vehicles like the Corolla Cross. This advanced system can recognize angled parking spots and expertly reverse in without the driver touching the wheel.

While these parking technologies used to be exclusive to high-end luxury vehicles, they are now available on affordable models to take the hassle out of parking in tight spaces. Drivers simply need to control the pedals and shifter while the system steers the vehicle into place with precision. This hands-free parking makes everyday driving less stressful while showcasing the high-tech convenience features filtering down to mainstream brands.

 

Large Touchscreens

Large touchscreens have become a must-have feature in new cars, with displays spanning 10 inches or more across the dashboard. These high-resolution screens consolidate many vehicle functions into one interactive interface. Drivers can easily access navigation, entertainment, climate controls, vehicle settings and more through intuitive menus and apps.

Touchscreens enable gesture controls like swiping and pinching to zoom, much like a smartphone or tablet. Their crisp graphics and fast response times create a seamless user experience. Many systems now integrate cloud connectivity and over-the-air software updates to add new capabilities over time.

Streaming media, online search and integrated voice assistants provide endless entertainment and convenience. Touchscreens also display the views from surround view cameras and can serve as digital rearview mirrors. Mainstream brands like Honda, Hyundai and Subaru now offer large touchscreens even on affordable models. The 2022 Honda Civic features a 9-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Hyundai’s Digital Cockpit includes a 10.25-inch touchscreen with multi-device Bluetooth connectivity. Subaru’s 11.6-inch Starlink multimedia system provides cloud apps and services.

As touchscreens grow in size and capability, they are quickly becoming the command center for the modern driving experience.

 

Immersive Audio Options

Audio technology has advanced tremendously in recent years, with more immersive and customizable soundscapes now available even in affordable vehicles. Many mainstream and luxury automakers are including premium multi-speaker surround sound systems to create a more enveloping listening experience.

Top systems utilize 10, 12 or even 19 strategically placed speakers including dedicated tweeters and subwoofers. This allows for faithful reproduction of music with clear highs, dynamic mids and deep punchy bass. Audi’s Bang & Olufsen systems have long been regarded as some of the best. But you’ll also find excellent options from Bose, Harman Kardon and Sony.

Beyond speaker count, it’s the use of digital processing that takes today’s car audio to the next level. Settings like ‘Auditorium’ or ‘Concert Hall’ emulate the acoustics of different venues. Surround formats like Dolby Atmos heighten immersion by adding overhead and 3D effects. All this provides an audio experience similar to being at a live show.

While these upgrades used to be limited to high-end luxury vehicles, they are increasingly found in affordable models too. For example, the Kia Forte offers Harman Kardon audio while the Hyundai Sonata includes QuantumLogic Surround. So those looking for a fully immersive listening experience have more options than ever, at reasonable prices.

 

Rear Seat Entertainment

Rear seat entertainment systems are becoming increasingly popular additions in high-tech vehicles. These allow rear passengers to enjoy movies, TV shows, games, and more during road trips and daily commutes. Many automakers now offer large seatback touchscreens, streaming services, HDMI inputs, wireless headphones, and more to keep those in the backseat engaged.

Some standout models adding exceptional rear entertainment options include the Chrysler Pacifica, which can be equipped with two 10.1-inch touchscreens on the rear of the front seats. It allows wireless device mirroring and has apps and games to keep kids occupied. The all-new 2023 Mercedes-Benz S-Class has optional dual 11.6-inch rear displays with full internet browsing capabilities. And luxury SUVs like the Lincoln Navigator offer a rear seat entertainment system with two 10-inch screens, wireless headphones, HDMI/USB ports, and the ability to stream content from brought-in devices.

As screen time and streaming become bigger parts of everyday life, expect to see more immersive rear seat entertainment systems added to high-end vehicles. This allows the whole family to take advantage of the latest tech during drives.

 

Over-the-Air Updates Keep Your Car’s Software Current

One of the most exciting new technologies in cars is over-the-air (OTA) software updates. OTA updates allow automakers to wirelessly send software upgrades and patches to vehicles remotely. This means you can get new features, apps and improved performance delivered straight to your car just like your smartphone.

Instead of having to visit a dealership, OTA updates are pushed to your vehicle automatically over its embedded cellular connection. All you need to do is schedule a time for the update that’s convenient for you. Some automakers even deploy updates in the background without the need to schedule.

OTA updates allow manufacturers to fix bugs, improve voice controls, refine performance, and add new capabilities over time. This keeps the vehicle feeling fresh and prevents the technology from becoming outdated. Remote updates can enhance safety, fuel economy, infotainment, and overall user experience.

Mainstream brands like Tesla, Ford, GM, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo now offer OTA updates across many of their model lineups. As the technology continues improving, most automakers are expected to adopt OTA updates as a standard feature. This over-the-air connectivity ensures your new car will stay at the leading edge of innovation for years to come.

 

Conclusion

Cars today offer more innovative high-tech features than ever before to enhance safety, convenience and entertainment. This article explored some of the latest must-have tech making vehicles smarter across all price ranges.

Mainstream brands like Hyundai, Kia and Chevrolet now offer advanced safety systems, cutting-edge infotainment, and connectivity that used to be exclusive to luxury vehicles – at much more affordable prices. Systems like automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring, and others are becoming standard even on lower-cost models.

Exciting new convenience upgrades are also increasingly available, from surround view cameras and heads-up displays, to voice controls, automatic parking tech and immersive audio. Electric vehicles are leading the way in many new technologies that are transforming the driving experience.

In summary, with the rapid pace of innovation, high-tech features that enhance safety, entertainment and ease of use are more accessible than ever. Savvy car buyers can find excellent technology packages to fit their needs and budget, no matter the price range.

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Questions About The Best Car Technology

The top cars in Canada with the best technology include the 2023 Genesis G90, 2023 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, 2023 BMW 7 Series, 2023 Lucid Air, and 2023 Cadillac Escalade. These luxury vehicles come packed with advanced infotainment systems, digital dashboards, heads-up displays, advanced driver assistance features, and more.

 

For example, the 2023 Genesis G90 has a 12.3-inch touchscreen, fingerprint authentication, facial recognition, and a 23-speaker Lexicon audio system. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class features augmented reality navigation, heated and cooled massaging front seats, and an air quality package with an air ionizer and fragrance system.



Some top Canadian car brands known for good technology include Genesis Canada, Tesla Canada, and Polestar Canada.

 

Genesis Canada vehicles like the GV70 and G80 have large touchscreens, digital keys accessed by phones, fingerprint authentication, and extensive advanced driver aids.

 

Tesla’s Canadian models boast industry-leading range, performance, infotainment, and full self-driving capability powered by thousands of onboard sensors and computing power.

 

Polestar Canada also has great tech like Google built-in infotainment, phone-as-key functionality, and advanced driver assistance features across its lineup of electric performance cars.

Some of the most affordable cars in Canada with impressive tech features include the 2023 Hyundai Elantra, 2023 Kia Forte, 2023 Nissan Sentra, and 2023 Honda Civic.

 

These compact cars offer features like wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, WiFi hotspots, wireless phone charging, multi-angle backup cameras, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, and more. They provide the latest tech that just a few years ago was only found in luxury cars, but at very affordable pricing.

 

For example, the 2023 Hyundai Elantra starts at just $19,999 CAD but still has an 8-inch display, wireless smartphone integration, a robust safety suite, and Blue Link connected features. This makes it one of the best tech bargains for Canadian car shoppers on a budget.

Some of the best used cars with impressive tech in Canada are:

 

– 2019-2022 Tesla Model 3: Over-the-air updates, huge touchscreen, Autopilot

– 2018-2022 Audi A4: Virtual Cockpit, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto

– 2017-2022 Volvo XC90: Large tablet-like Sensus Touchscreen, 4G WiFi hotspot, Bowers & Wilkins sound system option

– 2019-2022 Mercedes Benz A-Class: MBUX dual screen infotainment, augmented reality navigation

– 2020-2022 Genesis G70: Fingerprint scanner, facial recognition, wireless charging

 

These models offer great tech like huge touchscreens, WiFi hotspots, phone integration, advanced safety systems, digital dashboards, and more – all for an affordable used car price point. The Tesla Model 3 and Genesis G70, in particular, have tech that rivals or beats most new luxury vehicles.

The best way to find a car dealership in Canada focused on technology is to search for ones that specialize in electric vehicles and tech-forward brands.

 

Some dealers to check out include:

 

– Tesla Canada showrooms and galleries

– Polestar Space locations

– Genesis Studio stores

– Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and Cadillac dealers in major cities

– Dealers advertising things like “largest EV inventory” or “technology specialists”

 

You can then visit their websites to see tech details on vehicles, use online chat tools to ask questions, or visit in-person and test the latest infotainment displays, digital dashboards, phone integration, charging solutions, and advanced driving aids on models that interest you. Those focused on EVs and tech will have staff well-versed in these areas.



Some exciting vehicle technologies coming soon to Canada include:

 

– Enhanced vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication systems: Better connect cars to infrastructure like traffic lights and other vehicles for safety alerts and traffic efficiency

– More advanced driver monitoring systems: Cameras and sensors track driver attention and engagement, especially important for semi-autonomous vehicles

– Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capabilities: Allow electric vehicles to send stored energy back to the grid to help balance supply and demand

– Next-generation infotainment powered by Unreal Engine, Unity and Nvidia tech: Deliver stunning visuals, 3D graphics and augmented reality features

– Lightning-fast 5G connectivity built into cars

– Fully self-driving ride-hailing robotaxis: Companies like Cruise and Waymo plan to launch fully driverless taxi services

 

Many of these technologies are slated to arrive in Canada over the next 5 years, with self-driving vehicles and advanced connectivity solutions expected by the late 2020s pending regulatory approvals.



The main Canadian provinces that offer rebates for buying an electric or high-tech vehicle are:

 

British Columbia: Up to $8,000 off

Quebec: Up to $8,000 off

Nova Scotia: Up to $3,000 off

New Brunswick: Up to $5,000 off

P.E.I.: Up to $5,000 off

 

There are also many municipal and utility incentives across Canada. For example, BC Hydro offers discounted charging stations and Hydro One has rebates on smart home tech when you buy an EV. Check databases like electricmobilitycanada.ca for all current federal and provincial incentives.



Some of the top vehicle technologies that help deal with Canada’s harsh winters include:

 

– Heated seats, wheel, wiper blades, washer fluid and more

– Remote start: Warm up or cool down a vehicle from an app

– Heat pump systems: More efficient EV battery heating and cooling

– Preconditioning: Get ideal cabin temperature before entering a vehicle

– Advanced AWD, traction and stability control tech

– Headlight washers and heated/auto-folding side mirrors

– Rain/light sensing wipers and auto high-beam headlights

– Panoramic cameras: See all around the vehicle on touchscreens

– Vehicle-to-infrastructure connectivity: Get real-time road condition and hazard alerts

 

Brands like Genesis Canada, Volvo, and Mercedes-Benz also offer vehicle tech specifically designed for cold environments – from battery thermal management tech to cabin air purification systems.

Some of the top family vehicles in Canada to consider for great technology include:

 

– Chrysler Pacifica: Uconnect 5 super-fast touchscreen, rear seat entertainment with games and apps, wireless charging

– Kia Sorento: Curved digital dashboard, smart park assist, multi-Bluetooth streaming

– Toyota Highlander Hybrid: WiFi hotspot, digital rearview mirror, kick-open hands-free power tailgate

– Subaru Ascent: Facial recognition, driver monitoring systems, WiFi hotspot

– Volkswagen ID.4: AR navigation, ambient interior lighting, wireless Apple/Android Auto

 

Minivans like the Pacifica along with large SUVs like the Highlander have ample space for multiple passengers while offering the latest infotainment, connectivity, driver aids, and family-friendly conveniences through technology.

There are a few key vehicle safety technologies that are now mandatory in all new vehicles sold in Canada:

 

– Forward collision warning

– Automatic emergency braking

– Blind spot monitoring

– Rearview cameras

– Rear seat reminder alerts

– Tire pressure monitoring systems

 

Transport Canada has phased in regulations making these advanced driver assistance and warning systems compulsory in an effort to reduce accidents. By 2025, rear seat occupant alert systems will also be mandatory in Canada as another way technology can help save lives.



Tips for assessing if a used car has had its software updated:

 

  1. Check service records for mention of completed software updates

 

  1. Connect vehicles to WiFi hotspots to trigger over-the-air updates

 

  1. Ask sellers if any updates have been installed from USB drives

 

  1. Review software version numbers in the infotainment system menus

 

  1. Use the VIN to call the automaker and inquire about completed updates

 

  1. Test new features only available via updates like SiriusXM with 360L

 

  1. Look for signs of possible hardware upgrades needed for certain updates

 

Keeping software and firmware updated is crucial to get the latest tech features, security patches, and bug fixes. Make sure used vehicles you’re considering have stayed on top of new capabilities unlocked via updates.



The Canadian cities and provinces with the most electric vehicle charging ports include:

 

– Quebec: Over 7,000 public charging ports

– Ontario: Over 5,000 charging ports

– British Columbia: Nearly 3,000 charging stations

– Montreal: Over 1,300 public charging plugs

– Toronto: Around 1,000 charging ports

– Vancouver: Nearly 1,000 charging outlets

 

Quebec offers robust public charging infrastructure and also boasts the most EVs in the country. Ontario and B.C. follow next for top provinces, while Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver lead for charging access and electric vehicle adoption rates if looking specifically at Canadian cities and metro regions.

 

One vehicle connectivity technology unique to Canada is OnStar vehicle insights – a General Motors innovation that uses machine learning to monitor a vehicle’s status. It can then make service recommendations tailored to that specific vehicle’s real-world operation.

 

OnStar insights in Canada can track things like oil life, detect potential issues, and confirm warranty coverage to take the guesswork out of service needs. Drivers then get personalized maintenance alerts informed by how that individual vehicle is driven instead of fixed schedules.

 

This technology is currently exclusive to brands like Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac in Canada, giving owners an extra level of connectivity and insight into their vehicle’s mechanical health.

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