Smart phones and tablet computers mean there is no such thing as an offline life today. People are always connected.
The same thing applies to new vehicles, too, as many 2013 models are rolling out new connectivity features that let you use your phone or other devices to stay informed and entertained while on the go.
And, while technology like this used to be unveiled for only the most expensive luxury cars, many of today’s carmakers are reaching out to younger, more tech-savvy buyers by offering their best connectivity features across their full lineup of vehicles — including their least expensive compact cars that young people can most easily afford.
The vast majority of today’s cars, including many compact cars, offer some way to connect your phone to the car wirelessly.
The advantages are obvious: Instead of having to pull your phone out of your pocket and fumble with the small keys or touch screen on it, you can keep your hands on the steering wheel and eyes on the road by letting your car do the work.
When you get a phone call, for example, many cars will just let you press a button on the steering wheel to take the call. You’ll talk naturally, using the car’s built-in speakers and microphone, without having to even pick up your cell phone.
Most of today’s cars offer some type of voice command, too. Depending on the particular car and phone you’re using, you might be able to say, “Call Mom” and have the phone call go straight through.
The same thing applies to your music collection. If you’ve got thousands of MP3s on your phone, many new cars will let you access them — and often control them by voice — wirelessly using a Bluetooth connection. Some offer a USB port to let you download your entire music collection onto a hard drive in the vehicle.
DATA ON THE GO
Finally, a few 2013 models are connecting to the internet like never before. One new option is using an in-car Pandora app to stream music wirelessly through your car’s stereo system.
Other systems use data from satellite radio to give you traffic and weather updates. Some will even let you post Facebook or Twitter updates from your car or display reviews of nearby restaurants through your navigation system.
The bottom line is that carmakers are staying on the cutting edge of digital technology to remain competitive. If you want your vehicle to seamlessly integrate with your digital life, take a look at the latest 2013 models to see how far they’ve come in terms of integrating with consumer technology.