Car News

Luxury Trends Call Drivers to the Road

RELATED READING
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon

author photo by Autotrader February 2009

Sleek. Sophisticated. Powerful. Auto manufacturers have moved beyond the practicality of the Flintstones' foot-powered vehicles and are focusing on the space-age amenities enjoyed by the Jetsons. Cars that drive themselves, report real-time traffic conditions and offer the latest high-tech gadgets are already on the market. If you're a trendsetter who likes to ride in comfort with all the latest luxury features, there's no time like the present.

Entertainment
Thanks to in-car entertainment systems that deliver what you want when you want it, drivers can turn their cars into integrated media hubs. Now music lovers can download CDs directly to their cars with a hard disc drive audio system or play their tunes from a flash drive plugged into a USB port. If you prefer to bring your MP3 player, look for a car with an auxiliary input jack. Other options that might appeal to the discriminating listener are satellite radio, which offers at least 120 commercial-free stations, or HD radio, which offers near-CD quality sound on an FM station. If your passengers would rather watch movies or play video games, they can enjoy the latest entertainment on their own flat screen televisions.

Safety
Safety has moved to the forefront of the technology revolution. With tire pressure warning gauges and "smart airbags" that detect front seat passengers, you have more safety options than ever. Radar has moved out of the cockpit and into the driver's seat. Collision mitigation, also called anticipatory braking, uses radar to help drivers brake before an accident happens. A combination of radar and cameras can help you avoid blind spots. And those long road trips just got easier with adaptive cruise control systems that maintain a safe distance from the car ahead of you using forward-looking radar.

Auto manufacturers are also taking their cues from electronics wizards and the military. Night vision technology, first introduced in 1999, hasn't caught on — yet. But some experts predict its potentially life-saving features will soon be in demand; using infrared sensors, night vision helps drivers see in fog, snowstorms, heavy rain and avoid night collisions.

Many drivers are already familiar with hands-free Bluetooth technology that allows you to dial your cell phone through voice commands spoken into a car microphone. If your car has skid control, it can electronically brake if it senses you're in danger. There are even cars with lane departure warning that can alert tired drivers from drifting out of their lane.

Global Positioning Systems (GPS)
People who hate to ask for directions have flocked to Global Positioning Systems. But now GPS can do a lot more than get you home. With help from satellite communication, on-board navigation systems can find local restaurants and businesses, report real time traffic, look up phone numbers, recognize voice commands and track a stolen car. You can save frequently used routes on most GPS navigators to get you to your favorite places with ease. GPS units are also integrating features into one package; various in-car models allow you to play MP3s and audio books through your car speakers, store JPEGs, watch DVDs, check currency rates and listen to directions in multiple languages. Integrated GPS and phone systems allow emergency services to easily contact and locate you.

Performance
The latest car trends haven't left performance in the dust. Hate to parallel park? There are cars that will do it for you. If you're more interested in speed, compact and mid-size cars have more power thanks to redesigned engines. And environmentally friendly cars that can help you save on gas are no longer "econoboxes." Already a fixture in Europe, stylish smaller cars are hitting the American market with features like personalized wheels, paint, and entertainment systems. Hybrid cars with more options are also rolling off the assembly line.

Luxury
Fortunately, luxury and comfort are also on the rise with savvy buyers seeking cars with personality. Beyond leather trim and massage seats, designers are focusing on interior lighting that provides theatrical effects. And while heated seats are still popular, the latest climate control systems can adjust temperature with help from the position of the sun and the car's GPS unit. Other luxury models measure passengers' body surface temperatures to adjust the interior climate. If you would prefer to cool off with a cold drink, look for a hot/cold cup holder or a cool box that will keep your food and beverages chilled.

So, what about the car's exterior? You can expect to find dramatic headlights, larger front grills, elaborate sunroofs, larger wheels and sharper angles. Paint jobs just got a makeover on some models with a "self-healing" clear coat of paint that makes minor scratches disappear. While silver is still the most popular paint color, consumers are increasingly interested in neutral tones with hints of color and bright colors for small, sporty vehicles. Green is expected to make a comeback with the rise of environmentally friendly green products. And although consumers appreciate light, car windows are shrinking. Designers say that the rising beltline, the line that splits the lower body of the car and its windows, provides drivers with a sense of security and the impression of height in lower model cars.

Whether your passion is music, style or power, there's a trend to satisfy your desires. With so many options for luxury, performance, safety and entertainment, you may never want to leave the road.

© 2009 AutoTrader.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Luxury Trends Call Drivers to the Road - Autotrader