Which 2012 Cars Have the Best Tech?
You can call Kia's Uvo system "Sync lite," since it mimics many of the features of Ford's successful portable-device connectivity platform — and that would be a compliment. It includes the kind of voice activation that doesn't make you say things twice and an intuitive touch-screen interface that doesn't give you fits trying to figure it out. The Optima is also available with one of the best-sounding, low-cost premium audio systems around (from Infinity), and it has Bluetooth audio streaming in case you lose the proprietary iPod cable that comes with the car or don't own an Apple product. Add to this an optional HD radio and heated and cooled seats, and you have a winning combo wrapped in head-turning sheet metal.
You'd expect a lot of tech in a Mercedes S-Class sedan, and this entry-level turbodiesel model doesn't disappoint. It includes Mercedes' unique SplitView in-dash monitor, which can display two different images depending on the viewing angle, allowing the front-seat passenger to watch a DVD movie and listen to it on wireless headphones while the driver sees only navigation or audio info. The navigation system provides Zagat reviews to help you find good food and topographical maps to help you find your way. Mercedes' Distronic Plus with Pre-Safe Brake automatically slows or even stops the vehicle to avoid a collision, while Night Vision Assist Plus with Pedestrian Detection allows you to see better in the dark.
While the 2012 Camry doesn't radically depart from its predecessor, Toyota's new Entune system represents a new era of Internet-connected content for the car. Pair a phone containing the free Entune app with the system, and MovieTickets.com lets you find out what's playing at the local cinema, at what time, and even offers the option to buy tickets. Or you can check out restaurant reviews from OpenTable.com and make a reservation. Entune also has Bing local search onboard so that you can find what you want while on the road. Cloud-based entertainment options include Pandora and iHeartRadio to tune in a plethora of music and other content.
Classic muscle cars were never considered high-tech back in the day. But that was then, and the impressive electronics in the rejuvenated Dodge Charger are now. A massive 8.5-inch in-dash screen makes accessing music sources, Bluetooth hands-free controls, navigation from Garmin and other onboard gadgets easy and straightforward. A USB port is provided for connecting a portable music player, and the Charger has Bluetooth music streaming if you prefer to go wireless. An SD card slot makes even more digital music files available. And the available Beats by Dr. Dre audio system makes the most out of all these sound sources. You can also add Autonet Mobile's Wi-Fi modem if you want to add Internet access in your muscle car.
Buick's IntelliLink infotainment system sports sharp and clear icons on a 7-inch touch-screen interface, and you can configure the home screen so that it includes the features you use most often. If you have Pandora and Stitcher Internet radio apps on your smartphone, IntelliLink lets you access them through the car's touch-screen controls. Download the free MyBuick app for iPhone and Android devices and you can set parking reminders to help you find your way back to your car using Google Maps, locate nearby auto dealers, access a digital copy of the owner's manual and schedule dealer service.
Doug Newcomb has been writing about automotive-related topics since 1988. His work has appeared in Consumers Digest, Road & Track, Rolling Stone, Men's Journal and many other publications. His book, Car Audio for Dummies, is available from Wiley Publishing.
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You hit the nail on the head ! Tech. has done more than it's share to ruin life as we once knew it. I am 83 years young
and I see the world going to pot with each passing day. Glad you said what you dif. God Bless.
me?... just give me the cheapest ( with a sunroof, its a must) and a mannual tranny.
the rest like sound system seat and outher crap i can install my self.