About a month ago, I decided to buy a new car. Well, at least I thought I was deciding to buy a new car. What I wound up shopping for, and buying, was new technology.
After thinking about my driving needs and the needs of my typical passengers (two large retrievers), I decided that I was in the market for a SUV. I checked the reviews and picked about six to look at further.
I haven’t been in the new car market for about 6 years. What stuck me most about the experience, is that the focus in vehicles is no longer things like the engine or the safety features, the sales people now spend most of their time talking to you about the onboard technology.
All of the SUVs I looked at have prominent screens that are used to control most features of the car. None use keys (so yesterday!) and all have fobs that give you the ability to push a button to start the car.
Other common features:
- Integration of cell phone
- Ability to save and play MP3
- Onboard USB ports and cables
- Rear view camera/park assist
My requirements list (comfy seat, pleasant ride) quickly expanded to include intuitive user interface. Some of the onboard technology was hard to figure out. Touch screens had a lag, menus were not clear. My car shopping experience quickly became akin to shopping for a computer!
It is clear to me that some car manufacturers have come to realize and embrace the car-computer, while others still have more to learn about user interface. My final choice was the Lexus RX350. This particular car has a joy stick integrated into the center console.
A few days into driving this new vehicle, I have definitely scored on the comfy seat need. I am learning a lot about the onboard technology. Overall, my initial impression about the good user interface stands. I have a much easier time using the joy stick to make selections than using the voice recognition system.
All this makes me wonder how much more cars will become rolling technology in the upcoming years.
I also wonder what is happening with other segments of the vehicle market. Interested to learn about what other types of tech is rolling around out there. Share your finds here!