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New Car Technology Options

Choosing the right car has become more complicated than just considering a vehicle's handling, legroom and fuel-economy. With most manufacturers incorporating "smart" technology into newer models, it's important to know which features can benefit your driving experience and cost of ownership.

With the high cost of gas, and increasing federal standards for vehicle fuel-economy, automakers are using a variety of technology to maximize gas mileage without sacrificing power. Take for example vehicles like the 2013 Nissan Versa and Honda Accord which feature a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Unlike a traditional car engine, a CVT is tuned to run continuously at the vehicle's highest level of efficiency at a range of speeds. A CVT typically produces great gas mileage and good power in smaller engines but some cars featuring this transmission may suffer from acceleration lag at higher speeds.

Another fuel saving feature that can be found in a number of newer cars is automatic stop/start engine technology. Available as an option in the 2013 Ford Fusion, this feature automatically turns off the car engine when coming to a complete stop and restarts the engine once you take your foot off the brake. All electrical systems inside the car including the radio and air conditioning typically stay on while the engine is off, but you may notice some diminished output from the AC. Depending on the vehicle implementing this technology, the driving experience can vary from a completely smooth transition once the engine restarts to a slight jolt when taking your foot off the brake.

Driver assistance technology features like blind-spot monitoring and lane departure warning are also available in many new vehicles. Blind-spot monitoring can assist you in making safe lane changes by indicating in the driver's side mirror when another vehicle is in your car's blind-spot area. Some vehicles like the 2013 Cadillac ATS also feature a lane departure warning system that recognizes the lane in which you're traveling and it will alert you when the car begins to drift into an adjacent lane. The 2013 Ford Fusion goes one step further with lane correction technology that will physically steer the car back into its respective lane if it begins to drift. Adaptive cruise-control is another great feature that automatically adjusts your car's rate of speed for safer driving. Once engaged, adaptive cruise-control monitors the flow of surrounding traffic and adjusts the car's speed accordingly. As traffic lessens, the system will accelerate the car back to the desired pre-set speed.

While great technology is now available on more vehicles than ever before, it still comes at a premium. Most worthwhile features to increase fuel economy and driving safety can't be had on entry-level models without the purchase of an additional option package. There are exceptions - models like the new Honda Accord and Nissan Altima come standard with a CVT transmission, rear-view backup camera and wireless Bluetooth connectivity for your mobile devices. For expert advice on all new car technology features and options, contact Autoland, the premier auto buying service for members at 800.234.6999.

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