Your next car is going to be something incredible.
1. Built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspots for always staying connected on the road.
Why It’s Cool: A growing number of manufacturers like Buick, GMC, and Chevrolet are including built-in 4G LTE hotspots in their cars, allowing drivers to use their phones, tablets, and laptops without having to use their expensive data or pull over to the nearest Starbucks. Just don’t try to use your tech while driving, please.
2. Cameras that see everything around your car, not just behind it.
Why It’s Cool: While more cars nowadays are coming with rear-view cameras, companies like Ford and Infiniti are including cameras that allow drivers to see everything else around their car when driving. In fact, these futuristic cameras also come with sensors to actually inform you when you’re about to hit something, saving you the confrontation and guilt.
4. Windows that clean themselves and deflect liquid automatically.
Why It’s Cool: Kia and other car makers are actively featuring “hydrophobic” windows for its 2015 and 2016 car models, which is coated glass that stops stuff like rain, dirt, and other debris from even touching your precious windows. It’s like built-in Rain-X for your ride, without the need to apply it yourself.
5. A built-in vacuum for spontaneous spills and cleaning spells.
Why It’s Cool: Car lovers are definitely familiar with Shop-Vac, which makes efficient vacuums for any vehicle out there. The 2014 and 2015 Honda Odyssey capitalizes on that love and actually includes a built-in vacuum with a long range hose for people who are interested in keeping everything clean all the time.
6. NASA-approved car seats that prevent fatigue on long drives.
Why It’s Cool: Road trip-inflicted sore butts can make the best of us cranky. To counter this tragedy, the surprising duo of Nissan and NASA teamed up to develop “zero gravity” seats that keep you in a natural posture, while comforting your muscles and spines with cushioning. That’s true space-age technology.
8. Lighter cars, thanks to the use of military-grade aluminum.
Why It’s Cool: These days, the concept of a “light car” doesn’t just apply to those cute little smart vehicles you see roaming around the mall. Take a truck like the 2015 Ford F-150, which is 700 pounds lighter, or even Honda’s already light Fit hatchback which is 57 pounds lighter. This is thanks to the use of next-generation aluminum, which make cars more durable, more gas efficient, and easier to control.
9. Brakes and cameras that automatically keep you in the center of the lane.
Why It’s Cool: Everyone sometimes finds themself getting a bit too close to that yellow line. Thankfully, new versions of the Ford Fusion, Toyota Prius, and Lincoln MKZ have a feature called “lane centering,” which uses onboard cameras and the brakes to gently nudge your car into the center of a lane.
10. Cars that recognize traffic light changes and count down until the next green light.
Why It’s Cool: We spend at least 38 hours a year stuck in traffic, and that usually involves a lot of time looking at stoplights. Throughout the next few years, Audi is going to roll out a traffic light information system which will tell drivers how long until the next green light and also tell you fast or slow they should go to get to the next green light, all in one system.
11. Heated wiper blades that melt ice and snow to keep everything clear.
Why It’s Cool: Winter drivers know the pain and agony of having to deal with the snow messing their vision up. It’s not a fun thing, but companies like Everblade and Thermalblade make affordable wiper blades that make quick work of ice and snow to make sure you never have to break out the squeegee yourself.
12. Way more gas-efficient engines and motors.
Why It’s Cool: While the price of gas might be going down recently, most of us agree that the less we have to fill up, the better life is. Cars like the 2015 Chrysler 200 sedan and the 2015 Honda Fit are starting to go beyond 30 miles per gallon, while even more beast-y vehicles like the 2015 Ford F-150 have more efficient cylinders to save drivers from heading to the pump too often.
13. Push button shifting for easy adjustments while on the road.
Why It’s Cool: We’ve all been wowed by the push button ignition that has made its way to a number of cars in the past few years, but the 2015 Acura TLX and 2016 Honda Pilot add to the automatic ingenuity by having different buttons for different gears. This frees up more space in the center console, and even allows for different shifting modes for more efficient driving.
14. GPS that automatically analyzes traffic and finds the best way around it.
Why It’s Cool: We can all agree that traffic sucks. Acura’s futuristic Real-Time Traffic feature on the 2016 MDX works with the built-in GPS system to find the best way to get around traffic, while spotting accidents, weather events, and construction on the road. It’s a lot less of a hassle (and safer) than pulling out your phone.
15. A sunfroof that automatically blocks light and lets you see what you want to.
Why It’s Cool: We’ve evolved past the point where sunroofs are only for looking cool and sticking your head out. Mercedes-Benz’s newer SLK models include a new “Magic Sky” sunroof that can be darkened to block out sunroof and UV rays, or lightened to see more of that big, beautiful clear sky.
16. Sensors that learn your driving style and can detect when you’re too tired to drive.
Why It’s Cool: After a long, tiring night, one of the worst decisions you can make is to drive and risk getting into a serious accident. To solve this, car companies like BMW and Mercedes-Benz have developed sensors and systems that learn how you drive and alert you to pull over and take a rest when you start swaying or being reckless.
17. An alternator that recycles energy for your car and saves gas.
Why It’s Cool: Renewable energy is awesome, especially when it comes to cars. The 2014 Mazada6 has a technology called i-ELOOP, which stores kinetic energy every time it breaks, converts that energy to electricity, and uses that energy to power headlights, AC systems, and even car audio. That’s less fuel used for a happier you.
18. Access to your Android or iPhone without having to grab them while driving.
Why It’s Cool: Everyone (your dad, your local police officer, Demi Lovato) has told you to never, ever use your phone while driving. However, Google and Apple have recognized that people need to see information on their phones while driving, and created Android Auto and CarPlay for easy, safe access. Both are being built-in by a ton of car makers into a number of dashboards, but you can also buy a hybrid navigation system with both if you so desire.
19. Built-in night vision and radar detection for avoiding objects and wilderness.
Why It’s Cool: We’ve all experienced night drives when even your high beams aren’t enough to make you feel secure. But since we live in the future, car manufacturers like BMW and Audi have taken it upon themselves to develop actual night vision dashboard systems that work with sensors and allow you to see wildlife like deer or objects like trash cans in the complete dark.
20. Interfaces that recognize and automatically respond to your voice.
Why It’s Cool: While we’re not quite there in terms of a fully talkative car like KITT from Knight Rider, the likes of Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, and more have implemented UConnect voice recognition systems in their 2015 models that respond to your voice for a number of tasks. Asking your car things like “Where is the nearest gas station?” or “How do I get home?” are finally possible and very convenient.
21. Car systems that alert you and automatically brake before a potential accident.
Why It’s Cool: Safety has always been the main focus for all car makers with each new technology that comes out. In the present day, some cars like the 2015 Honda Accord automatically vibrate your seat or steering wheel when you’re about to hit something from the front, while others like the 2015 Subaru Outback even take it further and automatically brake to stop a collision.
22. Speakers that provide actual surround sound.
Why It’s Cool: The one thing that drivers can always count on to keep them sane is their music and speakers, but it seems that there’s a never ending chase to have the best sounds and the deepest bass for the sickest drops. More cars are coming with standard speakers that bring the concert to your ride, with an example being the Land Rover’s Meridian sound system with a whopping 13 speakers, 12 channels, and multiple modes to get all your tunes right.
23. Automatic stop and start engines to save gas during those traffic jams.
Why It’s Cool: Your car goes through a lot of fuel when it’s not moving in traffic, and some people even go through the measure of stopping their car when things come to a halt. The 2015 Chevy Malibu gets rid of all the guesswork and automatically stops a car if your foot is on the brake pedal during a jam, and restarts the car when your foot is off, saving your gas and saving the environment.
24. High beams that automatically adjust to not blind everyone else on the road.
Why It’s Cool: Your high beams are necessary when driving in the dark, but you’ve probably made a few people angry by having them on while they drive by in the other lane. BMW and Audi’s laser-powered high beam systems crank the brightness up high when there’s no one in front of you and dim themselves when there’s cars. Now there’s no possible way you can piss someone off with your headlights.
25. Automatic parallel and perpendicular parking systems.
Why It’s Cool: If you live in a big city or an urban area in general, finding parking can get tough and usually leads you to the hassle of having to parallel park. Now, however, every company from Toyota to Lexus and Ford to Volvo includes parking assists which find a space and perform a near perfect parallel park maneuver without screwing up anyone’s bumper. This year, car maker Bosch is even gearing up to allow drivers to get out of a car and have vehicles park themselves with the help of an app.
26. Crash detection sensors that get you the help you need, fast.
Why It’s Cool: A car crash is among the scariest things anyone will go through, and if you’ve ever been in one, trying to signal for help becomes one of the hardest things to do. In the modern age, companies like Ford and GM use cellular connectivity and sensors to dial 911 and send help to where you are. Every second counts.
27. Cars that drive themselves.
Why It’s Cool: The holy grail of futuristic car technology is having cars that drive themselves, and the newest version of Tesla’s Model S is right about there with its Autopilot feature. The system uses a camera, radar, and 360 degree sonar sensors to control speed, change lanes, turns, and park automatically. Self-driving cars are going to be among the hottest things in the automotive industry over the next few years, with GM and even Apple rumored to get in on the action.