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The best car tech 2024

Do you want the swankiest and most modern car around? Here are some that feature some the best tech around

a man with an orange coat using the large touchscreen inside a Tesla Model 3

If you put a 1923 vintage car next to a brand-new car, there are many differences you’d notice, but the main one would be the technological advances.

From fancy LED headlights to infotainment systems, technology has improved ten-fold in the past century, making the car a second home in terms of onboard tech and clever features.

Here are 10 of the best and coolest most-wanted car features and some of the cars they’re available on.

Apple CarPlay/Android Auto

apple carplay being shown on a car's interior next to a plugged-in iphone

If you own a car from 2014 and beyond then chances are you have access to Apple CarPlay and/or Android Auto.

These two apps make it simple to connect your smartphone to your car to use for navigation, music, voice-activated messaging, phone calls and your calendar.

In many ways, it’s an extension of your phone that’s accessible while driving.

Both pieces of software are constantly being updated and improved, and Apple recently announced the next generation of CarPlay, which sees it take over the entire infotainment system.

Not only is it handy to have access to your digital life while on the go, but it also saves you from having to learn a new infotainment system whenever you hop in a new car.

Simply connect your phone wirelessly or plug it in, and you’re good to go.

Find a used car featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto:

Heated and cooled seats

volkswagen touareg black leather interior

When the first heated seat was introduced into cars by Saab back in 1969, it changed the way people heated their cars.

While it was originally designed to keep drivers alert in colder climates, now its main purpose is to keep us toasty.

Heated and cooled seats are both much more efficient than using the car’s air-con or heater because it focuses on a more concentrated surface area, thus being more energy-efficient.

So, whether you live in cooler climates or somewhere hot and sunny, a cooled or heated seat will be your best friend.

Find a used car with heated and ventilated seats:

Heated steering wheel

A close up shot of hands holding a steering wheel in the front of a car

Have you ever been driving to work on a frosty December morning and have to wear gloves because you can’t feel your fingers? Well, heated steering wheels are such a simple yet effective fix for this.

Much like a heated seat, a heated steering wheel makes a longer drive or early morning trip much more enjoyable.

Back in the day, heated steering wheels were a luxury in some of the world’s most high-end cars, but nowadays it’s an optional (or even sometimes standard) feature.

Find a high-spec used car with a heated steering wheel:

Adaptive cruise control

a black kia interior

For those who do a lot of motorway driving, adaptative cruise control is a game-changer.

Unlike the standard cruise control system many cars come with as standard, this extra feature takes it a step further by altering the speed of the car depending on other cars around you.

So, if the car in front slows down, yours will too. Then, when it speeds up, yours will too until it reaches the limit you set for it.

This means you don’t need to touch the pedals at all during a long drive on a larger A- or M-road.

Find a used car that offers adaptive cruise control as an optional extra:

Automatic high beam assist

an audi's digital matrix headlight

Driving at night comes with its own inherent risks, a bit like scuba diving deep in the ocean – you sometimes never know something is there until it’s too late.

That’s why car manufacturers invented automatic high-beam assist, which controls your car’s high-beam headlights without you doing anything.

This means that when you’re driving on a dark road the car knows to flick them on, and when it sees another car coming the other way, it dips them, allowing you to concentrate on your driving.

Find a used car that features high-beam assist:

Wi-Fi hotspot

someone holding an iPhone 12 completing a wi-fi speed check in front of a car

With the standardised way of working making a shift to remote working, more people are needing to access the internet while on the road, whether you’re the driver parking at a service station or a passenger in the back.

That’s why many cars now have a wireless hotspot feature that provides the entire car with Wi-Fi.

The main reasons you may want to use this over your phone’s data are a) it’s more reliable using the car’s antennae, and b) it saves you from draining your phone’s available mobile data.

It works in the same way as your Wi-Fi at home whereby you pay a monthly subscription fee to the provider to surf the web.

Find a used car that has the option of a Wi-Fi hotspot:

Wireless smartphone charging

a Samsung phone wirelessly charging in a Volvo XC40

Being able to surf the web is one thing, but it’s pretty pointless if you can’t charge up your devices.

Almost every modern car now comes with a form of USB phone charging (some even with three-pin plug sockets for laptops).

But a new trend is wireless charging, which was widely introduced to smartphones around 2017.

This is where you simply place your phone onto a charging mat, minimising the need to faff around trying to plug a cable in – that’s so last decade.

Find a used car that supports wireless charging:

Cabin air purifier

a car's air con system controls

With inherent risks of disease in the world we live in, car manufacturers are working hard to ensure our cars are as clean and pollution-free as possible – especially when driving through big cities or pollinated fields.

Therefore, companies such as Volvo and Range Rover have developed cabin air purifier technology that keeps airborne diseases out of the cabin.

These work through an advanced filter that helps to keep out any bad odours, so you’re still getting fresh air entering the cabin but it’s much fresher and cleaner.

Find a used car that has a cabin air purifier:

360-degree surround parking camera

360-degree surround camera on Volvo XC40 screen

As cars get larger and parking spaces are seemingly shrinking, reversing a car into a tight parking space at your local supermarket or shopping centre can be seriously stressful – especially if it’s a new car to you.

But thankfully, many cars now come with advanced 360-degree surround parking cameras that make it so much easier to park.

These work by using a series of cameras dotted around the car’s exterior that all link up together and create an image on your infotainment screen of what’s around your car – sort of like a bird’s-eye view.

Find a used car that has the option of a surround parking camera:

Vehicle summon feature

a Tesla driving by itself while being summoned via the driver's phone

At the time of writing, it’s exclusively Teslas that have this feature, but more electric cars will begin to adopt this software as rules and regulations ease.

Tesla’s vehicle ‘summon’ feature works via the mobile app and is useful when your car is parked in a tight spot. It's currently available on Model S, Model 3, Model X, and Model Y.

All you need to do is click ‘summon’ when using the app and your Tesla will turn on and begin moving towards you at a slow pace.

The idea is that in the future, it’ll come and pick you up at the shops and drive you home, but we’re nowhere near that just yet. However, it’s a nifty feature to have if it’s raining outside or if someone’s parked too close to the driver’s door.

Find a used Tesla with the vehicle summon feature:

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