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# 250671 21-May-2019 10:21
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I am currently looking at updating my 2012 Toyota and one of the things I have been looking at is the state of the tech being offered by different manufacturers.
In this thread I want to avoid discussion of the driving experience as far as engine, handling and appearance go and just focus on the tech.
Because I have vowed not to buy another petrol-only vehicle my current focus is on hybrids. Would love to go electric, but can't afford a new one. As such my recent test drives have been a little more restricted.

The first thing I have noted is the relatively low quality/resolution of infotainment displays on most of the consumer level vehicles I have looked at (Hyundai, Kia, Ford, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Honda). The only 'luxury' brand I have looked at was Lexus and its display did seem a little better (but now we're getting into Lotto win territory). Even a basic 8" Android tablet has a far better display quality.
I wonder if the displays have prioritised hardiness over resolution because of the harsh conditions a car cabin is subjected to either by sitting in searing sunlight or a foot of snow for a whole day. Still, LCD tech is pretty good these days and maybe the OEMs could achieve this at no virtually no increased cost.
Just about every manufacturer seems to have followed the trend of perching the display on the top of the centre dash like an afterthought. I can see the practicality of having it more in your eyeline, but some applications really do look like the designers have gone "Oh, you want a screen as well? We'll just blue tack one up here then".
Control of the Infotainment and climate is a bit hit and miss as well. I'm a fan of good old fashioned buttons and knobs to achieve the most basic functions of these systems. I find it really distracting to have to find and operate controls on the touchscreen while you are driving. Steering wheel buttons are now so numerous that you have to look down to see which one to press, defeating their main purpose. While many offer voice control, that seems to function about as well as phone voice assistants did 5 years ago. So being able to reach over and quickly adjust volume, temperature, fan speed or display source is an advantage (IMO).
Have tried a couple of systems that have a touchpad on the centre console. I can see the utility of having it under your hand, but I found it quite distracting because you still have to concentrate on the display to achieve tasks.
Being tech inclined, I have usually enquired about Apple Carplay (AC) and Android Auto (AA) in the various different models. Most manufacturers offer them (well AC anyway) on some models in their range. As a long time Android user I was interested to try AA in a Kia Niro recently and I must say I was pretty underwhelmed. I understand there is a new interface for AA coming later this year and it needs it (IMO). I can't comment on AC has I'm not an iPhone user. The advantage of both AC and AA is that you aren't tied to the car manufacturer for updates or features (particularly things like maps). But as Huawei phone owners are currently experiencing, you are at the mercy of a different overlord. And what happens if Google or Apple pull a "Works with Nest" on something that you use all the time?

Safety tech seems to primarily be driven by the need to get a 5 star ANCAP rating. Each year the tech required to achieve that increases. Tech that got you a 5 just a few years ago now only scores a 3. I am a bit disappointed that some OEMs only have these 'features' higher up in the model range.

The RAV4 hybrid I tried recently had "Toyota Safely Sense" across the range. Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keep Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control and Autonomous Emergency Braking, Blindspot Monitoring and Cross Traffic Alert, Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, etc. The top model also had a 360 degree 'birdseye' view, which I know isn't a first, but is a great feature for protecting little ones in driveways.
Toyota doesn't have AC/AA at the moment, but according to reports out of Australia, it is coming by the end of the year.

When I tried the Kia Niro I was disappointed to note that the PHEV version had a crippled Infotainment version when compared to its non plugin sisters (smaller display, no AC/AA).

I would like to know others experience of current car tech, including those models I can only dream of owning and the cutting edge stuff from the likes of Tesla.

Areas of Geek interest: Home Theatre, HTPC, Android Tablets & Phones, iProducts.

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  # 2242122 21-May-2019 10:24
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I don't have an issue with resolution.


They have to have a matte screen to reduce glare, and the information has to be displayed quite large anyway, so putting a full HD 8" screen in there is a bit of a waste.




All I'd say is, CarPlay/Android Auto is a really nice to have feature - using Google Maps is really handy, and having the car read out texts and allow you to dictate replies is much more handy than I thought it would be.



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  # 2242130 21-May-2019 10:38
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Any factory system is going to be out of date within 3 or 4 years of release, AndroidAuto/CarPlay should keep them relevant


For me the search criteria would be must have reverse camera and AA/CP compatibility, and from there you should be relatively futureproof for a good while


As a guide 2015 seems to be the line in the sand when infotainment systems started getting smartish, and those are still relatively current today 






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  # 2242137 21-May-2019 10:47
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It depends where you live and drive, but if you're somewhere with traffic then Google maps with traffic is essential, and the neatest way to achieve this is with AC/AA; I certainly wouldn't buy a new vehicle without it.


I've recently bought a new (used) vehicle with a lot of the features you mention.  The one I really like is adaptive cruise control - it's so good in traffic to just set the speed you'd like to travel at and let the car do the rest, even in slow-moving and stop-start traffic.  It also makes you realise how crazily close a lot of people follow the car in front.

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