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  • Leading Edge Automotive Infotainment Features

    Leading Edge Automotive Infotainment Features

    Not all that long ago, your author owned a car that had no working electronics. The engine had a carburetor and a mechanical ignition. What electronics it did have were broken ... another way of saying the radio didn't work. Unlike some of today's cars that will provide a complete weather forecast, then if I wanted to know the temperature, I rolled down the window.
  • Leading Edge Automotive Infotainment Features

    Leading Edge Automotive Infotainment Features

    Today, cars offer a dizzying array of features that can do almost anything a 21st century driver wishes. Most of these features are classified as "Infotainment", that modern intersection of Information and Entertainment. Currently, no one manufacturer offers everything, but read on to see who offers what today and if it's worth spending your money.
  • OnStar: Turn-By-Turn Navigation and MapQuest

    OnStar: Turn-By-Turn Navigation and MapQuest

    One of OnStar's newest features is eNav, an enhancement of their Turn-By-Turn Navigation service. If your GM vehicle has OnStar and you're a subscriber, you can use your computer to find your destination, and then MapQuest sends the route directly to your vehicle. Simple voice commands let you access the route. See more at OnStar.com. Ease of Use = Easy | You'll Be Using It = Right Away
  • SYNC: Setting it up

    SYNC: Setting it up

    Once you've wirelessly linked to your Bluetooth phone and MP3 player (via USB), these devices can be voice controlled; it takes practice. Unlike GM's On-Star that uses built-into-the-car cellular hardware, SYNC provides services like emergency response and traffic routing using a paired cell phone. Learn more about SYNC at syncmyride.com.

    Ease of Use = Easy | You'll Be Using It = Right Away
  • Acura: Real Time Traffic & Weather

    Acura: Real Time Traffic & Weather

  • Lexus: Plain Talk

    Lexus: Plain Talk

    New Lexus vehicles equipped with NAV feature casual-speech recognition. Systems like OnStar and SYNC require specific verbal commands, but Lexus eases things up. You can say, "Call Bob at home," or "Gimme a Japanese restaurant," instead of regimented verbal cues. More details at Lexus.com.

    Cost: Technology package, approximately $6000 | Ease of Use: Easy | You'll Be Using It: Right Away
  • Chrysler: Kid-TV on the Road

    Chrysler: Kid-TV on the Road

    If you're shopping for a new family hauler and want a simple-to-use, kid-quieting A/V system, consider the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Caravan with the 2-screen option. It pipes 3 channels of kid's shows into twin overhead monitors. Kids listen over wireless headphones. See more at Chrysler.com.
    Cost: $2000 | Ease of Use: Easy | You'll Be Using It: Right Away
  • Chrysler 200C: Car Meets iPhone

    Chrysler 200C: Car Meets iPhone

    The Chrysler 200C easily ranked as one of the most significant concept cars at this past January's 2009 Detroit Auto Show. If the striking shape didn't stop you, news of its electric powertrain would. However, the most innovative feature of the show car was its gesture-based instrument panel. The technology provides a glimpse of our driving future.

    Cost: Not for sale.
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