The differences between new cars and used cars had begun to diminish over the past few years, with seemingly better value available on the used market. However, huge gains have been made in technology and in-car infotainment systems these days are streets ahead of what anyone buying a used car might be able to expect.
From BMW’s iDrive system to the COMAND and MMi systems offered by Mercedes and Audi respectively, these intuitive and intelligent systems can help out the modern driver in any number of ways, from offering navigation systems, entertainment in the form of music (even synchronising with your own music collection) and a number of other funky new forms of technology.
Honda’s HondaLink system, for example, synchronises with almost everything, offering up-to-the-minute weather and traffic reports as well as reading out your text messages by synchronising with your mobile phone. This sort of online-ready technology isn’t unique, though. Audi’s MMi offering comes with 4G connectivity as standard, which even allows your car to be used as a wifi hotspot. The system Lexus employ allows voice commands, so that you can speak your instructions to the car without even needing to use the funky touch-screen.
Picture: The new Jeep Cherokee’s Uconnect 8.4 System
In terms of functionality and usability, Jeep’s UConnect system, which comes available on the new Cherokee, certainly gives the others a run for their money. Its 8.4” touchscreen is one of the biggest on the market, and it also offers voice commands and text message reading, meaning you won’t even need to touch the huge screen if you don’t want to. The high-definition premium instrument cluster just adds to the beauty of the technology, with the wireless charging station for your QI-enabled phone or device being the first offering of this sort of technology in the car market.
The offerings really are astonishing across the board, with pure technology often being outdone by flashing lights and snazzy new ways of doing things. Audi’s A7 Sportback offers a head-up display on the windscreen, including the current speed limit and your distance from the car in front of you, as well as alerting the driver to hazards ahead before you’ve even been able to spot them.
As touched upon earlier, the introduction of cloud technology into cars has been a huge leap forward, and one which looks set to continue. The introduction of downloadable apps to cars as well as mileage and fuel consumption being tracked and logged in the cloud will improve the driving experience for drivers right across the world. Apps are a regular part of life for many people around the world, especially users of smartphones, tablets or smart TVs, which have all used apps for years to accentuate their technology.
It’s Jeep’s wireless charging pad which really looks exciting at the moment, though, being the first time this technology has been offered in a car. Being able to charge your device without wires or cables will be an enormous breakthrough in the portable technology market, and Jeep seem keep to capitalise on that and be seen to be at the forefront of new technology. At the time of writing, 564 QI-enabled devices are available on the market, with more due to be added all the time. It is even rumoured that Apple’s new iPhone device will begin to incorporate the technology, giving Jeep an enormous advantage in the eyes of smartphone-owning drivers.
The offerings right across the market are really quite astonishing, but the real gains are to be had in the SUV market. It’s not just Jeep who are offering great new technology: the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Land Rover Freelander and Volvo XC60 are its closest competitors in this market, and they all offer similarly impressive technology. It seems that almost any new car will be infinitely more technologically advanced than a used car, particularly older used cars, with the technology on offer making drivers’ lives easier and more enjoyable in more ways than one. With the current boom in in-car technology looking set to increase and develop even further over the next few years, it’s certainly an exciting time to be a new car buyer.