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The 10 Best And 10 Worst Automotive Technologies

The 10 Best And 10 Worst Automotive Technologies
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The Best And Worst Automotive Technology

Automotive technology has evolved significantly over the past decade. While there were plenty of mechanical improvements, such as the use of aluminum and high-tensile-strength steel, better suspension layouts, and sustainability-oriented manufacturing changes, the most eye-grabbing features rely heavily on electronics technology. This goes beyond knick-knacks in the center stack. We're talking about fundamental alterations to the powertrain, suspension, safety subsystem, and even steering. No matter how mechanical the automotive space remains, technology is what determines how you and your next vehicle interact with each other. 

We've been covering the tech in cars, trucks, and SUVs for a couple of years now, driving everything from entry-level sedans to brutally-fast sports cars. At this point, I'm pretty familiar with each vendor's approach to technology, inside and out. A lot of companies already embrace next-gen features and successfully deploy them in ways that complement their products. Some still don't "get it", complicating simple tasks.

So follow along as we highlight the ten best and ten worst automotive technologies encountered since we began our coverage.

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  • -1 Hide
    jacobdrj , April 25, 2014 6:19 AM
    Does MyLink work with Windows Phone?
  • 0 Hide
    g-unit1111 , April 25, 2014 9:18 AM
    How could Land Rover's 19 speaker sound system not get a mention? I test drove one while looking for a new car for my dad and the sound system completely blew me away. I just wanted to sit in the car and listen to music on my phone all day. :lol: 
  • 0 Hide
    tuanies , April 25, 2014 9:21 AM
    The Jag / Land Rover Meridian system is actually quite good. Very balanced and neutral, but every time I had a Land Rover or Jaguar, there was a rattle in the passenger door panel. Which annoyed me to hell. The Krell is just better than it by a little bit.
  • -2 Hide
    Mike Honcho , April 25, 2014 11:31 AM
    I would like to add the BMW auto stop/start feature to the worst list. Not only does this feature do the exact opposite of what is intended (it actually uses more gas than saves), it adds extra wear and tear on the engine. The biggest annoyance is I have to turn it off every time I start my car.
  • 1 Hide
    Nintendo Maniac 64 , April 25, 2014 12:04 PM
    Should the Tesla Model S or the Model X get a special mention as best tech for "the entire car"? I mean, the whole thing is car tech...
  • 0 Hide
    tuanies , April 25, 2014 12:24 PM
    Quote:
    I would like to add the BMW auto stop/start feature to the worst list. Not only does this feature do the exact opposite of what is intended (it actually uses more gas than saves), it adds extra wear and tear on the engine. The biggest annoyance is I have to turn it off every time I start my car.


    At least BMW disables it automatically when the car is in Sport mode. The Jaguar you have to disable every time. But yes I agree its obnoxious unless its completely transparent, which most of the time it isn't. Seems harsh most of the time which is not something I'd tolerate in a luxury vehicle.

    Quote:
    Should the Tesla Model S or the Model X get a special mention as best tech for "the entire car"? I mean, the whole thing is car tech...


    We've yet to spend seat time in a Tesla. The times I've seen them, I wouldn't say its the best. The interior just overwhelms you with touch screen LCDs, and overwhelming you doesn't make it the best. The drivetrain is impressive though.
  • 0 Hide
    spookyman , April 25, 2014 12:47 PM
    What I hate is ESC on cars now. Electronic Stability Control on some cars does not work that great.
  • 0 Hide
    JQB45 , April 26, 2014 5:18 AM
    93°C - OUCH!!! (checkout the image 9 / 23)
  • 0 Hide
    USAFRet , April 26, 2014 12:01 PM
    Touchscreen interface instead of knobs, buttons, and dials.
  • 0 Hide
    danwat1234 , April 26, 2014 3:32 PM
    @Mike Honcho, how does BMW's auto start/stop use more gas than when it is disabled?? With fuel injection if the engine is off for more than 10 seconds you are saving gas. Too bad it isn't smooth operation in the BMW (from what you said). Auto start/stop should be standard in all new cars in a few years once the EPA puts it on their tests.
  • 0 Hide
    tuanies , April 26, 2014 11:26 PM
    Quote:
    @Mike Honcho, how does BMW's auto start/stop use more gas than when it is disabled?? With fuel injection if the engine is off for more than 10 seconds you are saving gas. Too bad it isn't smooth operation in the BMW (from what you said). Auto start/stop should be standard in all new cars in a few years once the EPA puts it on their tests.


    The big problem is the smoothness. Even when they try to mask it, you can still feel a shudder. The level of refinement on start/stop isn't good enough for a luxury vehicle. For a Ford Fiesta? Sure, but a $40k+ luxury / sports sedan? Not so much.

  • 0 Hide
    falchard , April 27, 2014 1:44 AM
    Quote:
    Does MyLink work with Windows Phone?

    I know Toyota and Ford use a Microsoft based solution so those probably would, but I don't think it matters too much because if you are buying a Chevy Sonic, you probably don't have the cash to buy their half assed nav system.
  • 0 Hide
    JoBoSo , April 27, 2014 5:02 AM
    I agree with the BMW start / stop as worst. I drove my 5 Series away in the morning without the key (after running back into the house left the key there .. busy getting the kids ready into the car for school ... you know..). Arrived at the school ... shut engine off ... and ... could not lock or drive my car.
  • 0 Hide
    JoBoSo , April 27, 2014 5:03 AM
    I agree with the BMW start / stop as worst. I drove my 5 Series away in the morning without the key (after running back into the house left the key there .. busy getting the kids ready into the car for school ... you know..). Arrived at the school ... shut engine off ... and ... could not lock or drive my car.
  • 0 Hide
    Hello man , April 27, 2014 11:32 AM
    The biggest issue with car audio systems that use SD cards is that they accept NO LOSSLESS AUDIO FORMATS! So you end up stuck using the worst possible sounding file on earth, the MP3. Even at 320, they sound horrible. Better off using your phone with lossless formats and a digital input... but of course, not all cars have that. Bluetooth sounds even worse. It cannot be that hard to get this figured out.
  • 0 Hide
    Nintendo Maniac 64 , April 27, 2014 12:41 PM
    @Hello man

    Actually my sister's Ford Fiesta supports WAV. Also the Tesla Model S supports FLAC up to 48KHz 24bit or 96KHz 16bit.
  • 0 Hide
    Agente Silva , April 28, 2014 4:16 AM
    Start/Stop feature as a "fuel saver" is very arguable. It could be a carbon dioxide saver at the best. Anyway, have you seen the size and price of the battery?! Ridiculous... Now for REAL car technology (not bluetooth or useless gadgets) I would sugget Honda´s VTEC and it´s role on engine reliablity and performance.
  • 0 Hide
    tuanies , April 28, 2014 5:37 AM
    Quote:
    The biggest issue with car audio systems that use SD cards is that they accept NO LOSSLESS AUDIO FORMATS! So you end up stuck using the worst possible sounding file on earth, the MP3. Even at 320, they sound horrible. Better off using your phone with lossless formats and a digital input... but of course, not all cars have that. Bluetooth sounds even worse. It cannot be that hard to get this figured out.


    I keep a folder of FLAC music on my flash drive for car testing hoping that one day a car will work with FLAC. So far it has not happened yet :( .
  • 0 Hide
    Hello man , April 28, 2014 10:36 AM
    Quote:
    @Hello man

    Actually my sister's Ford Fiesta supports WAV. Also the Tesla Model S supports FLAC up to 48KHz 24bit or 96KHz 16bit.


    Yep. FLACK support.... for the low price of $89,000!
  • 0 Hide
    tuanies , April 28, 2014 10:39 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    @Hello man

    Actually my sister's Ford Fiesta supports WAV. Also the Tesla Model S supports FLAC up to 48KHz 24bit or 96KHz 16bit.


    Yep. FLACK support.... for the low price of $89,000!


    Don't forget you have to sign your life over and let them monitor your usage too.
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