Top new car trends

September 30, 2013 12:00 AM

Consumers looking to buy a new car within the next year are typically eager to take advantage of the latest trends. A vehicle is a significant investment, so it's important to leverage the latest systems and features to make sure it doesn't quickly become out of date. Most importantly, it's crucial to stay on top of regular vehicle maintenance to preserve the life of a new car. These are just some of the major trends that you should take into account if you're in the market for a vehicle this year:

Smaller models
Bigger isn't always better - particularly when it comes to automobiles. Esquire magazine reported that a multitude of leading auto makers are sizing down their vehicles to make them more attractive to consumers on a budget who desire a sleeker, more energy-efficient option. For example, the source noted that Range Rover introduced the Evoque in 2012, a four-cylinder SUV that was both smaller and used up less gas than other models. While it less expensive than other Range Rovers, it still had a lot of the desirable gadgets and leather detailing that have become synonymous with this brand. The car was immensely successful. Esquire called it "a luxury SUV for people who once couldn't afford one." 

Mercedes-Benz also launched the four-cylinder 2014 CLA250, which looks much like the more expensive CLS will become available later this year. According to the source, it is the most affordable Mercedes at $30,000.

Collision avoidance
Instead of focusing on ensuring that a car survives a crash, many companies are emphasizing the capability to avoid one in the first place. USA Today reported that Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge all provide Rear Cross Path Detection on a multitude of their 2013 models, which uses a radar system to sense another car encroaching from the rear. The system then alerts the driver with a light-up icon and a sound. The 2013 Infiniti JX35 utilizes a feature that works essentially the same, but has the added benefit of being able to trigger the brakes to help prevent a crash.

The Honda Accord, Subaru Legacy, Dodge Durango and Ford Edge are just some examples of cars that offer a forward collision system, the news source reported. The radar system uses visual and auditory signals to let the driver know if he or she is not braking quickly enough. The Volvo CX60 and S60 come to an automatic full stop if the driver isn't braking fast enough to avoid a collision.

?GPS is arguably one of the most commonly known telematics devices, but many automakers are increasingly leveraging this kind of technology for more luxury entertainment purposes. Technology Guide explained that Cadillac's CUE is a hardware and software stack that includes a touchscreen, voice command and a range of apps to allow drivers customization over how they interact with the vehicle. As many as10 smartphones, MP3 players and other devices can be hooked up to the CUE's USB ports. These kinds of systems allow drivers to sync their phone contacts to make voice-dialed calls and send voice-to-text SMS messages. Additionally, they let drivers request certain songs to be played on the stereo and sport a personalized favorites screen where the driver can easily access all of their favorite apps and media.

Wi-Fi connectivity
In an increasingly connected world, it's no surprise that more automakers have been looking to improve the Internet capabilities in their vehicles. Technology Guide reported that the Chrysler 2013 Ram 1500 features a Uconnect Access, which includes a built-in wireless hotspot and free Wi-Fi. Meanwhile, Ford's MyFord Mobile iOS app enables drivers to keep tabs on their electric car's battery, search for local charging stations and even plan a route on their smartphone and transfer it directly to the car's navigation system.

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