From 30-way adjustable seats to a pickup bed that can turn itself into a giant audio speaker, here’s a look at the latest high-tech automotive systems coming to dealers’ showrooms for the 2017 model year - Click Here for pictures and descriptions of each system.
If, like the average car buyer, you haven’t set foot in a dealer’s showroom in the last decade or so, you’ll immediately notice that today’s autos are jam-packed with technological wizardry.
Dashboards have become increasingly electronic, with even the least expensive models including sophisticated infotainment systems that can wirelessly stream calls, data, and text messages from mobile phones, with many cars and trucks now offering onboard Internet service. While the fully autonomous driving car is still some distance off into the future, several new vehicles offer advanced safety systems can auto-brake and/or engage the steering to help prevent collisions with other cars, pedestrians – even animals – at both low and high speeds.
The coming crop of new cars, trucks, and crossovers for the 2017 model year brings yet another wave of gizmos and gadgets to the mix that aim to make vehicles safer, more capable, and more entertaining. Since it’s hard enough to tell the players without a scorecard, we’re providing a quick glance into the new-car crystal ball to uncover an eclectic assortment of the hottest new-car features that may well be worth waiting for.
For starters, cameras and sensors are adding several extra sets of electric eyes in the latest models for the sake of both safety and convenience. Last year, Cadillac debuted a new video rearview mirror that replaces the conventional mirrored glass surface with an LED screen that displays a wide-angle rearward view uncluttered by heads or headrests in the back seat. For 2017 its availability expands to both Caddy’s new XT5 crossover SUV and the full-electric Chevrolet Bolt. Other 2017 models with novel approaches to around-car monitoring include the Cadillac CT6 luxury sedan with an onboard 360-degree video recorder (anybody paranoid?), and the Ford Super Duty pickup that locates no fewer than seven video cameras around the truck.
Onboard infotainment/connectivity systems are becoming ever more like full-blown mobile computers with large touch-sensitive displays that recognize swipes and hand gestures to initiate commands, just like a tablet computer. In fact, for 2017, Bentley is including a dual-screen system in its drippingly luxurious Bentayga that features removable twin Android tablets, while the Chrysler Pacifica’s entertainment system includes built-in game apps and Cadillac’s allows users to stream live TV to their back seat of a CT6 sedan via a Google Chromecast or Amazon Fire TV Stick. For its part, Honda is letting its pickup buyers bring the party virtually anywhere by turning the truck bed into one enormous audio speaker.
Among the latest safety gear, last year Nissan introduced a new predictive Forward Collision Warning system on the Maxima midsize sedan that that will not only monitor the speed and proximity of the vehicle ahead of it in traffic, but can also keep tabs on the next car or truck in front of it, with auto-braking ready if necessary to avoid or lessen the effects of a possible crash. Availability expands to the redesigned Nissan Armada full-size SUV this fall. Other new safety systems premiering in the Volvo S90 sedan and V90 station wagon include Run-Off Road Mitigation system that helps keep a car from inadvertently running off the side of the road, and an improved City Safety low-speed auto-braking function that helps prevent collisions with other cars, bicyclists, pedestrians, and – for 2017 – large animals like deer and elk that may wander into the vehicle’s path.