AutoTrader.com Editors Name the Six Must-Shop In-Car Tech Features for 2015

11/18/2014

Experts reveal which infotainment and safety options are most useful and offer the best value for car shoppers

ATLANTA, Nov. 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- As automakers ramp up their efforts to integrate more and more safety and infotainment technology in their vehicles, consumers are being forced to rethink how they approach the car shopping process.

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According to AutoTrader's recently released In-Vehicle Technology Shopper Influence Study, 40 percent of those surveyed said they would like more time in the vehicle during the test drive to fully evaluate all of the vehicle's technology and safety features.

Consumers are also demanding that in-vehicle technology is easy to understand, with 48 percent of those surveyed saying they would walk away from a car they like if the technology is difficult to use.

"Car shoppers now have a lot more to evaluate at the dealership than they used to. Even as few as five years ago, it was mostly about making sure the vehicle was mechanically sound, that the ride and handling were good and that the vehicle had everything you needed to suit your lifestyle," Brian Moody, AutoTrader.com site editor said. "Now you have the added task of testing all of the different infotainment features and learning about all of the high-tech safety systems the vehicle offers. Then, you have to compare it to the other models you're considering. And since most automakers have proprietary systems for many of these features, it can be overwhelming to try and understand everything to the point where you feel like you're making an informed decision."    

To help make the evaluation process a little easier, AutoTrader's experts have identified the six in-car tech features that help make the drive safer and more enjoyable. They also identified the specific brands and vehicles that offer car shoppers these features for the best value and are easy to operate.

"The features we've picked are things that aren't just cool – they're things that both the most and least tech-savvy drivers can use and appreciate," Moody said.

  • Adaptive Cruise Control: Using a radar system embedded in the front fascia or grille, adaptive cruise control maintains a preset distance between you and the car in front of you. In some cases, it's capable of bringing the car to a full stop in order to maintain that distance.
    • AutoTrader's Top Pick: 2015 Hyundai Genesis
    • Editors say: "The 2015 Hyundai Genesis sedan's adaptive cruise control is nicely executed. It adapts to slower traffic seamlessly, then gets back up to speed without any of the jerkiness typical of other adaptive systems"
  • Forward Collision Mitigation: Typically employing the adaptive cruise control system's radar, forward collision mitigation systems monitor objects on the road ahead and measure the data against your own car's speed and heading. If a collision is deemed likely or imminent, the system springs into action. The simplest type merely sounds an alarm, perhaps vibrating the steering wheel or seat as well, but there are also more advanced systems that can automatically brake the car to a full stop.
    • AutoTrader's Top Pick: (tie) 2015 Honda Accord and 2015 Subaru Outback
    • Editors say: "The 2015 Honda Accord offers a reassuring warning system, while the new 2015 Subaru Outback's EyeSight safety suite boasts an enhanced system with automatic braking -- a rarity in its segment."
  • Touch-Screen Infotainment: A central touch-sensitive screen that controls audio functions and generally others as well, including phone, climate control, navigation and vehicle settings.
    • AutoTrader's Top Pick: Chrysler's 8.4-inch screen and Uconnect system
    • Editors say: "Chrysler's 8.4-inch Uconnect screen is one of the best at any price, providing iPad-like elegance and quick, reliable responses."
  • Park Assist: The most basic form of parking assist is a set of proximity sensors (either rear or front and rear) that beep when you're about to hit something. Increasingly, though, automakers are offering self-parking systems that can find a suitable space and park the car automatically.
    • AutoTrader's Top Pick: Ford Park Assist
    • Editors say: "Ford more or less pioneered the self-parking system with its Active Park Assist, and it's still our pick for value-oriented shoppers."
  • In-Car WiFi: A data connection in your dash that powers Wi-Fi access for compatible devices.
    • AutoTrader's Top Pick: OnStar 4G LTE on GM vehicles
    • Editors say: "OnStar's 4G LTE connectivity is now widely available across GM's brands, and we like it for two reasons: 4G means faster Internet (many rivals are stuck on 3G), and its flexible payment plans let you tailor the service to your needs."
  • Automatic Start-Stop Engine: A system that automatically turns the engine off when you brake to a stop, and turns it back on again when you take your foot off the brake.
    • AutoTrader's Top Pick: 2015 Chevrolet Malibu
    • Editors say: "The 2015 Chevrolet Malibu's auto stop/start is pretty smooth with its transitions, and we like that Chevy offers the feature on a mainstream family sedan."

To learn more about these features and to browse listings of more than 4 million new, used and certified pre-owned vehicles for sale, visit AutoTrader.com.

About AutoTrader.com 
Created in 1997, Atlanta-based AutoTrader.com is the Internet's ultimate automotive marketplace. As a leading resource for car shoppers and sellers, AutoTrader.com aggregates millions of new, used and certified pre-owned cars from thousands of dealers and private sellers and provides expert articles and reviews. AutoTrader.com, which also operates the AutoTraderClassics.com auto marketing brand, is wholly owned by Cox Automotive. Additionally, Cox Automotive owns Kelley Blue Book (KBB.com®), Manheim Auctions as well as companies that provide a full suite of software tools that help dealers and manufacturers manage their inventory and advertising online: vAuto®, HomeNet Automotive®, VinSolutions®, AIS Rebates™, Genius Labs® and Haystak™. Cox Automotive is a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises. For more information, please visit http://press.autotrader.com.

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SOURCE AutoTrader.com

For further information: Kristin Ballard, 404-568-7953, Kristin.Ballard@AutoTrader.com, Nicole Twork, 770-547-7950, Nicole.Twork@AutoTrader.com

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