Have you noticed the big list of car tech options available to you when car shopping? Many technical advances are now standard—or available, at least—on most vehicles rather than just on fully loaded models. If entertainment is a priority to you, for example, you can rest assured knowing many models offer new entertainment technology as standard equipment.
Here’s a crash course in the newest car tech so you’ll be prepped for when you purchase your next vehicle.
While GPS isn’t standard on all vehicles and trim levels yet, it’s available on more vehicles at the lower trim levels than it used to be. Navigation features may also be listed as “turn-by-turn directions.” Keep in mind, if a vehicle doesn’t have a built-in navigation tool, but has the technology to hook up your smartphone, you can use your smartphone’s navigation system without running down the phone’s battery, notes ZDNet.
Another common car technology feature is a built-in hotspot. This is not yet available on all models, but more of the lower trim levels are offering hotspot technology for the vehicle nowadays, as CBS News explains. This comes in handy when you’re in a dead spot and you don’t have the reception on your phone.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reported each year sees 15,000 injuries and 210 deaths because of people backing into or over someone, notes USA Today. Thirty-one percent of those injured or killed are children under 5 years old. By May 1, 2018, all vehicles will be required to have backup cameras. By allowing you to see if someone or something is behind you, much more easily than by just turning your head, this device prevents you from backing into things.
Nothing is worse than a long trip without radio reception, especially when you’re tired of the same old CDs. Enter satellite radio! Many vehicles now come standard with satellite radio, though you do have to pay for the subscription after the trial period. This feature allows you to choose from hundreds of news, talk, and music stations to entertain you while you’re on the road.
Because cell phones have become such an integral part of our lives, most auto manufacturers have now added hands-free calling as a safety feature. Just plug in your phone and you’re ready to go. Watch which vehicle you get if you plan on using that feature—some models only work with Apple, like the Chevrolet Impala, while others can work with both Apple and Android, like the Chevrolet Spark, Cruze, and Silverado.
With constant competition, auto manufacturers now offer many popular high-end features on all vehicles and trim levels without costing an arm and a leg. Do your research to find the vehicle in your price range with the most standard features.