When we’re not busy revolutionizing the digital car-buying experience, our team at RepairSmith keeps current with the latest trends, crazes and technological advances that keep the auto industry fresh and relevant each year. In 2018, automakers have again loaded up their latest models with features to keep driver and passengers safe and comfortable. Here are five particular car features that caught our attention.
1. Just Cruisin’ Along
If your workplace and home are separated by miles of highway, then your daily commute is hardly a Sunday drive. Fortunately, adaptive cruise-control systems, such as Cadillac’s semi-autonomous-driving “Super Cruise,” has arrived to smooth out your ride. Available on their 2018 CT6 sedan, the technology leverages safety sensors that monitor the speed of the car ahead. While the driver settles in to contemplate the day ahead, the car maintains a consistent rolling distance; there’s no need to constantly accelerate and stop in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Similar systems on the market even bring the vehicle to a complete stop before automatically forging ahead, when safe, which makes traffic much more tolerable.
2. Ports O’ Call
When the personal-electronics industry skyrocketed more than a decade ago, which gave rise to everything from MP3 players to smartphones, the need for USB ports hadn’t been a “thing.” In fact, consumers, carmakers, even companies such as Apple hadn’t fully grasped the need for on-the-move charging. Luckily, USB plug-in adapter s found their way into cigarette-lighters and those enigmatic 12-Volt sockets. Fortunately, today’s automakers have caught up in a big way, with some vehicles boasting multiple built-in USB ports. Most of 2018’s models feature at least one or two USB outlets to meet our portable-electronics needs. And sometimes, like in the case of the Chrysler Pacifica minivan, there are multiple ports to get nine people hooked up.
3. Hush Hush, Sweet Tailpipe
Owning a high-performance vehicle can be worth its weight in thrills. The guttural roar that emanates up from the drivetrain and into the driver’s soul is often worth the price of admission. Unfortunately, it can also be a little hard on the auditory nerves; not just yours, but those of your neighbors. So, to help preserve peace and quiet in communities where the symphony of a Saturn-V rocket is not appreciated, Ford has taken its iconic Mustang and, for lack of a better description, rigged it with a volume control. Its new “Quiet Mode” function for the 2018 Mustang GT essentially muffles the muffler when activated. And while silence may be golden, you can still hear the thundering hooves of its 460-horsepower 5.0-liter V-8 engine by simply moving the active exhaust system setting back from “Quiet” to “Normal,” “Sport” or “Track” modes.
4. Just Park It, Baby
If that car happens to be a BMW featuring their iDrive infotainment system, you’re definitely in for the ultimate parking experience. For 2018, BMW has incorporated technology from the smartphone app company Parkmobile that helps drivers reserve and pay for parking in 250 cities across the U.S. and Canada. This includes parking locations on selected streets, at airports, and for event venues. Users are given a choice of parking locations based on current GPS coordinates and can preselect parking times with the ability to extend sessions remotely via the companion ParkNow app.
5. Technology Fit For A Teen
Placing your car in the hands of a teenager can be a little unnerving, but technology has become the new chaperone for keeping both teen and auto safe and free from trouble. Many car models have teen driver parameters built in that inform the car owner if the vehicle exceeds a certain speed; if the seatbelts aren’t buckled properly; and even if the stereo is cranked up to woofer-blowing proportions! Chevrolet’s Teen Driver Technology feature offers a report card that will tell parents if safety systems like ABS or forward collision alert have been triggered while Junior was behind the wheel.