Cars are getting smarter by the day. They now can connect with almost every part of your smartphone, other vehicles, the environment around them and the world wide web. If you’re looking for a new car in the near future, the following are just a few of the must-have connected features you want:

Bluetooth and Voice Control

This is pretty much standard in most new cars, but you shouldn’t overlook its convenience. Bluetooth connectivity lets your car connect with your smartphone so you can use your favorite apps to play music, listen to audio books, make calls with voice control and hear text messages. It is a safer way to interact with your phone while you’re driving and to make your long drives more enjoyable.

Infotainment System

Similar to Bluetooth control, an infotainment system makes your drive more entertaining. Apple CarPlay is one of the best infotainment systems because of its simple design, usability and smartphone connection. It connects with your iPhone 7 to use Siri voice control just like you would if you weren’t in the car, or you can use the touchscreen display or knobs and buttons on your steering wheel and dashboard. You can listen to text messages and dictate your reply. You can activate your maps to help you navigate to your next location. You can play iTunes and connect to your other apps. With this type of infotainment system, your iPhone can stay in your purse or pocket, and your eyes can stay focused on the road.

Wi-Fi and 4G Connectivity

What’s the point of having all these apps and options if you can’t connect to the internet? Now you can turn your car into a Wi-Fi hotspot so every person can surf the web, connect to social media and stream music without draining their phone battery. While this feature is great for long road trips and for when you need to double check details about where you’re heading, you do need to be careful with the costs. This isn’t free data; you have to pay for the data you use, just like you would with an external hotspot device. Be sure to check with your cellphone provider so you know the costs upfront.

Over-the-Air Updates

This feature is not as common yet, but it’s critical. If you want a car that runs on software (which you probably do), you need to make sure it receives updates just like your smartphone and computer does. Most current cars require you to go to a dealership to get these necessary updates, but some of the more advanced vehicles are implement over-the-air technology. This means your car will be safe from glitches, bugs and security vulnerabilities without you having to waste time sitting at the dealership, which is a must for your sanity.

Self-Parking

Even though you may not be ready for completely autonomous vehicles, there are some amazing connected features of semi-autonomous cars. One of those is the ability to self-park. In certain situations you car can pull into a spot, back out or even parallel park. This takes the pressure off of you to fit into tight spaces or figure out at exactly what angle to back into a space. An even cooler self-parking feature is the ability to park or back out of a space remotely. So if you’re running late from work or don’t want to get wet in the rain, you can have your connected car come to you.

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Will Hopstetter

Will is an automotive market enthusiast living in the United Kingdom. He holds a diverse background in automotive and enjoys utilizing that to produce insights into the inner workings of the industry.

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