We’re smart buyers when it comes to our ride.
We do our research, scouring over what car, SUV, truck or crossover to buy. The most important factors for car buyers are simple: quality, reliability and cost. Sure, that’s the most sensible things to consider, but with smart technology, more and more buyers are looking for how the car responds to them.
Remember the 2008 Cadillac CTS commercial? Actress Kate Walsh asks, “When you turn your car on, does it return the favor?”
That sentiment, more than ever, applies when we’re choosing our autos. They have become, like our smart devices, an extension of ourselves and our personalities. Most of us want clear, expansive “infotainment” screens, seamless connectivity with our apps and Bluetooth, safety features and we love driver assist. New technology such as “Wet Mode” and “Night Vision Assist” in the Porsche 911 takes driver assist-type technology to a whole new level.
“What we’re really excited about this year from Porsche is the new 911, which is entering its eighth generation,” said James Marino, General Sales Manager at Porsche Charleston. “The design is timeless and modern, in-line with Porsche’s classic sports car DNA. It has flat-six turbo-charged engines, more power than we’ve seen thus far, and an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. New assistance systems such as the standard Porsche Wet Mode for increased driver awareness on wet roads, and the optional Night Vision Assist with a thermal imaging camera, are part of the broadened array of available active driver assistance features. The 911 is truly iconic, and we can’t wait to share this new offering with the Charleston region this summer.”
Both high-end and more budget-friendly models made our list.
- Porsche 911–There is no substitute. The 2019 Porsche 911 will wow the most discerning auto aficionado or car collector, not only in technology but the overall look and feel. The center touchscreen has increased in size—to 10.9 inches and there are five buttons for important vehicle functions. Two slender frameless displays give the driver info. The Wet Mode uses microphone sensors in the fenders and if the car “thinks” there’s a danger of hydroplaning on wet roads, it’ll let you know and prepare itself. The super-cool and optional Night Vison Assist uses thermal imaging to alert you to people or animals on the darkest roads—a full 100 meters than the headlights can detect. How very James Bond of it! Price starts at $91K.
- Tesla Model X—Touted as the “safest SUV ever built,” this electric powerhouse has oh-so-cool Falcon Wing doors that have sensors to detect your surroundings, thus making it easier to get to the back rows of the vehicle and open in the tightest parking spaces. Though, we wouldn’t park this baby anywhere near anything that could cause dings. There are 360 degree rear, side and forward-facing cameras and radar that give the driver a long range view of faraway objects. The ultrasonic sensors have detection to avoid collusions and assist those of us who still cannot parallel park. There’s also an autopilot feature and a 17-inch touchscreen. Plus, “over the air” software updates keep you up to date about new features. Price start at $78.9K.
- Hyundai Genesis G70–This cool sports sedan is getting rave reviews. There’s a Lexicon 15-speaker audio system, navigation, and a 7-color TFT screen and 8-inch infotainment screen compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Auto assist includes forward collision advance, lane assist, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and a backup camera (or, for an extra price, add a surround view camera system, heads-up display and park distance alerts). There's also rain-sensing wipers and wireless phone charging. Price starts at $35.9K.
- Mercedes Benz A Class–Mercedes entry level compact sedan made the list, not only because it’s a great-looking car, but the 2019 offers cutting-edge technology inspiring younger buyers to choose this car as the cool tech car. There are two 7-inch displays (10-inch screens optional for an extra fee) and it’s been reported the screens look like “tablet computers” leaning against the dash. It’s the first A-class to get the Mercedes-Benz User Experience and which can be individualized and creates an “emotional connection” between you and your car. Updates to the system are possible as well. There’s intelligent voice control and natural speech recognition which translates to you saying “Hey Mercedes.” Queen’s “I’m in love with my car” will have to be on your playlist. Prices start at $32.5K
- Honda Accord EX–Honda made our list because it’s Honda. Reliability has to factor into buying decisions and the Honda is known for that. What it’s also known for is their Honda Sensing®. That includes a slew of safety and driver assistance technology such as a collision braking system, road departure migration, adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow, lane keeping assist and traffic sign recognition. A “Head-Up display” shows info on the windshield in the driver’s line of sight such as speed, directions and incoming calls. The hybrid model shows you the energy flow between the engine and the engine motor and the large navigation system has maps with 3-D renderings. Hondas are known for their safety and their features such as a multi-angle camera and cross traffic monitor alerts you to all kinds of possible objects that may get in your blind spot (which is covered with sensors). There is a premium audio system available that has an 8-inch touch screen and 10-speaker system. Compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Of course, there’s wireless charging and cool apps such as Honda Link. Prices start at $27.6K.
Though the age of self-driving cars is in the works, most of us want to control our own destiny when it comes to driving. With all the new technology in autos, we can, even more with a little help from artificial intelligence.