If you are like us (like a super duper geek) then when you think of cars these days, all you really care about is how cool the tech is inside – otherwise anything will do. Well luckily for us, cars are insanely tricked out with the latest gadgets that make them seem truly as if they just fell out of the sky from the future.
Gone are the days of “wishing” my car had this, or that – it does.
We’ve gone way past the low hanging fruit too when it comes to car tech – we wanted better gas mileage, we got it a long time ago. We wanted more energy efficient vehicles to protect the environment, we got it. Now we want electric cars that can drive themselves – we got that too!? What more could we ask for? Well today we are going to highlight just a few of the modern marvels that are today’s actual vehicles – these cars have features that you didn’t ask for, and frankly probably didn’t even dream about, but now you got it – so you’re welcome?
TESLA MODEL 3
No one can escape the hype that is Tesla, but honestly these cars are amazing when you consider all of the engineering and science behind this tech. First of all the Model 3 is one of the most affordable (we use that term loosely) Tesla vehicles on the market – and one of the newest.
While $35,000 for the base model could certainly be worse, it could certainly be better too (You do however get to claim a nice $7,500 federal tax credit for electric cars on your taxes, also other Green Vehicle Initiatives could help knock that number down – so be sure to compare car insurance discounts to make sure you get it). You can get a cheaper electric car but it probably won’t go 0-60 in 5.6 seconds, and take you 220 miles on a single charge either – but that isn’t all the Tesla boasts.
In an announcement from Tesla, they are equipping all of their cars with the ability to go into full self driving mode, thanks to eight cameras surrounding the vehicle that provide 360 degree visibility at up to 250 meters of range. Not only is this super safe for the future (which can also save you money on your insurance!) that is pretty awesome. It still isn’t our futuristic present we long for, but it’s right around the corner in terms of consumer availability.
Sounds sweet right? It is, but don’t take our word for it, test drives are starting for the model 3 in late 2017 – so you can get behind the wheel and experience the tech yourself!
2017 VOLVO XC90 T8 PLUG-IN HYBRID
Switching gears completely here (pun intended) we move to a giant luxury beast, the Volvo XC90 SUV. Speaking of test drives, my wife and I recently went to a volvo dealership to test drive the Volvo XC90 and we were instantly overwhelmed with “Options”.
You know what “Options” are, every geeks fantasy growing up – to be able to pick all of the trinkets that make up the inside of a car (most of which were never available in the 90s and 00s). Well now they are available and supremely in your face. The model that we test drove had nearly ever bell and whistle you could think of.
Of course this model has the usual bucket seats that are heated and cooled, it has the automatic moon roof, usual low tech stuff. What about the high tech stuff? It has GPS like most cars, but where it starts to get crazy is the on board android powered computer system. You can do most things you’d expect from a tablet interface, but what you might not expect is it is attached to your SUV. You have access to 360 degree cameras around the car, which actually map a real time aerial view of the car for you – surreal, and amazing to see. You can also look behind you with super clarity with the rear camera, and also in front of the car, and to the sides of course. You have the usual voice commands and spotify access with bluetooth connectivity and all that jazz.
This SUV is plenty powerful too for a hybrid vehicle this large, with the luxury features such as audio, that you would expect from a name like Volvo. Volvo is also one of the worlds safest vehicles, and you can see why, they put a lot of effort into aesthetics but they also make sure the car is safe as well as comfortable. According to Volvo they have the worlds most comfortable seats due to an ergonomics study that they funded a few years back to create “the perfect chair”. It was pretty comfortable. It should be though if you are shelling out a premium, the base cost of the XC90 is around $74,395 but these are also considered to be the best SUV you can buy right now, so it should be worth it.
2017 BMW i8
A car this gorgeous doesn’t need gadgets – but don’t worry, it has those too. However, at a grand total of $147,995 you don’t have to worry about enjoying the fruits of BMW’s labor anytime soon (unless you hit that lotto).
It doesn’t hurt to look though right?
Oh man, that’s nice. While it is quite nice to look at, eye candy can only take you so far – the high tech part of the dash in the center is lacking some critical points, namely the omission of extra USB ports – you do get a CD Player though (lame). The tech in this car is actually under the hood, it’s a hybrid that while fast (zero to 60 in 4.0 seconds) it’s able to produce around 38 MPGe – which for this car is pretty good. Not saving the earth overnight but hey, gotta look good.
2017 Prius Prime
Toyota has a reputation that is less cutting edge tech and more responsible adult, but they are starting to push some pretty trendy boundaries. The Prime is your plain jane model, but for $3625 more the Prime Plus starts at $27,985 and includes tech such as heated door mirrors, automatic grille shutters, a 7.0-inch touchscreen complete w/ navigation, a 4.2-inch driver info display, LED headlights and taillights, automatic climate control, heated front seats, and a proximity key with push-button start. Again, this is where it STARTS. To give you an idea of where this car sits with the Prius hybrid, the Prime Plus is just about $365 more than a similarly equipped hybrid.
Now that’s a beautiful screen, Toyota really gives you a high-tech surprise here and didn’t skimp on the size or features here.
What About Upgrading Your Car Tech?
It’s easy to look at all of this stuff and instantly take what you have for granted, but do we need all of this tech? Probably not. Other than the tech that keeps us safe, or helps the environment, everything else is just for show essentially. Safety on the other hand can save our lives and as we mentioned before, save us money in the long run on insurance and other perks. So what can you do to retrofit your existing car with such pleasantries as a new car? Why not start by replacing those boring halogens with trendy LED headlights? Here are just a few tips for getting a little more life out of your car.
Logitech ZeroTouch (Alexa)
We are getting spoiled in our homes with voice apps such as Alexa, and for good reason – keeping your hands free is not only safe, it’s super convenient. Sure wish you could have it in the car… oh wait! The Logitech ZeroTouch is a really cool gadget – this dock adds Amazon Alexa capability to your car. When your smartphone is snapped into the ZeroTouch, the companion app is automatically installed on your phone with Amazon Alexa, voice commands, hands free music controls, and much more. The ZeroTouch is available now in the US and UK starting at $59 for the vent model and $79 for the dashboard model.
Add Bluetooth To Your Car
You may not need Alexa everywhere you go, but we are more and more dependent on Bluetooth these days, and if your car doesn’t have it – that can be a pain! If you want to add Bluetooth to your car it’s actually pretty easy, all you need these days to add bluetooth to anything is a little bluetooth dongle like the Mpow bluetooth car aux adapter receiver – just plug this bad boy into your headphone jack (most cars have these in the radio) and instantly you can stream your favorite tunes over spotify or whatever your favorite music app is on your smartphone – this works exactly the same as wireless bluetooth headphones do. The bluetooth just projects your tunes wirelessly to another speaker source – aka magic.
DIY Touch Screen Dashboard – Use Your Smartphone!
Hey, your smartphone can be your fancy new dashboard computer! Just get an air vent smartphone holder and attach your phone to your dash, voila – you now have access to GPS (even offline using Google Maps, just look up your destination before leaving home!) and you can even download apps to turn your phone into your own personal dash cam and record your daily commute. The sky is the limit, just get creative and you can fill in the blanks as you go!
We hope that you’ve found some great tech inspiration here for your car, and even upgraded your existing model to be a little more exciting (even if it isn’t an i8). Stick around and subscribe for the latest tech news on infinigeek!