Auto show season is all about the latest cars and the newest features.
Visitors to the Philadelphia Auto Show through Feb. 5 will be dazzled as usual by all of the latest high-tech gadgets available in cars these days.
Cars today don’t just move people from place to place; they provide all the comfort and connectivity of your living room, and even more advanced comfort. Really, who has heated and cooled seats in their living room?
So here are some of the newest features – and some of the coolest features that many readers may not have experienced – and some vehicles at the auto show that feature them.
Connectivity: Think satellite radio and USBs connecting your phone is the latest break from the olden days of CD players?
Cars like the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain offer WiFi hotspots, so the kids (and face it, adults too) can play video games, download movies, and surf the web without much concern about dead spots or using up cellphone minutes while traveling.
Another feature in these models – and many others – is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which pretty much enables access to all the features of your smartphone without much adjustment.
Remote services: The new Hyundai spinoff Genesis will go a step further with its 2018 Genesis G80 luxury sedan. Genesis Connected Services takes the usual array of car locator and enhanced roadside assistance services another step.
Genesis owners can use their Amazon Alexa to remotely start and set the cabin temperature, and lock and unlock doors remotely.
Pedestrian safety: The new 2018 Kia Stinger may wow people with good looks and sports-car handling – at least people who were expecting a run-of-the-mill Kia.
But safety is also a key component. Like many other cars on the road, the Stinger will offer forward collision assistance with integrated autonomous emergency braking. Not only will it detect a potential collision with another vehicle or pedestrian, but it will help stop the car.
And pedestrians are not the only ones being spared; large animals get a better shot at living thanks to advances in Volvo’s standard City Safety Technology.
The system in the 2018 Volvo V90 adds another element with Large Animal Detection, designed to help avoid or mitigate collisions with large animals such as moose, says Volvo media information. For Pennsylvania and New Jersey, think deer.
Driver alerts: New car buyers are now treated to a whole host of radar- and camera-based technologies for keeping tabs on things outside the vehicle. Chimes and beeps often accompany these notifications.
But like many General Motors models for the last five or so years, the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox/GMC Terrain crossover cousins feature a safety alert seat. A vibration in the left or right seat bolster directs the driver’s attention to the side of the impending obstacle.
Unlike the other features listed here, General Motors vehicles are the only ones in which I have come across this.
Taking care of the kids: It’s been a long time now that kids have ridden the backseat for their own protection, but a new and potentially deadly problem has developed: kids forgotten in the backseat.
The new Chevrolet Equinox/GMC Terrain offer Rear Seat Reminder, which monitors rear doors. When either rear door is opened and closed within 10 minutes of the vehicle's starting or while it is running, the system will display “Rear Seat Reminder / Look in Rear Seat” with a chime when the vehicle is next shut off.
More gears for gearheads: With all the talk of technology, it can be hard to remember that these machines still have four wheels and get us from place to place. But the underpinnings are getting some new features as well.
Transmissions have evolved far from the old four-on-the-floor (or even three-on-the-tree) of the olden times. Now six-speeds are common and eight is coming into vogue.
The 2018 Toyota Camry will feature among three new powertrains an all-new 2.5-liter inline-4 gasoline engine paired to a new 8-speed Direct-Shift automatic transmission. The 2017 Volvo V90 crossover also features an 8-speed automatic transmission as well.
But the Lexus LC500 takes the automatic to a whole new level. It shows off an automatic transmission with 10 speeds and paddle shifters. If you’re taking the car from 0 to 60 mph in the advertised 4.4 seconds, that’s a whole lotta fast clicking.