Best Car Tech Features for Geeks

A new Geek Squad Prius c

Geek Squad has bought 1,100 new Toyota Prius c models. Best Buy’s Geek Squad made the switch because it wants to improve its carbon footprint. It also wants to disassociate itself from Volkswagen, according to Automotive News, in part because of the ongoing emissions scandal.

That got us to wondering what’s the best geeky technology available in modern cars. Well, the answer depends on your definition of geekiness, but here are my four top choices.

Hyundai BlueLink
What would your ultimate Geek car include if you could choose (and money was no object)? Topping the list would have to be Hyundai’s BlueLink technology. Not so much because of all that it can do, but because it can be used in conjunction with an Apple Watch. Am I an owner and user of a smart watch? No, but I would be if I owned a Hyundai Sonata. With the app and the watch (itself a major homage to geekiness), you can remote start your car. Calling Dick Tracy!

In-car WiFi
Sure, it’s expensive and it’s not data friendly, but what is a more geek-tastic mobile hot spot than your automobile? The two best systems by manufacturers (and from personal experience) are GM’s OnStar and FCA’s (or as I like to call it, Chrysler’s) Uconnect systems.

Both are easy to connect to and deliver strong signals wherever you are because of their satellite antennas. During drives in Arizona and Connecticut, I must admit I had problems with good signal strength from Audi’s system.

Audi’s Virtual Cockpit
However, Audi has hit a home run with the virtual cockpit of the 2017 Audi A4 introduced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The car features an available (i.e., optional) large, 12.3-inch display that delivers color at 60 frames per second with Nvidia quad-core processing power. That’s just insane technology for what’s not a high-end car.

The virtual cockpit, Audi says, also helps make viewing and navigating via the large Google Maps images supported with 4G LTE (where available) easier on the driver’s eyes. Are you a navigation geek? The Google Maps integration in the Audi system is stunning.

Volvo’s City Safety system
Recently, I spent a week with the 2016 Honda Civic, and it has one low-tech safety feature. Get too close to the car in front of you, and a dashboard message flashes, “Brake!” Sure, it’s not geeky itself, but I think it could come in handy for those ill-behaved geeks who might get distracted by various devices and gadgets while driving.

However, the true safety geek award has to go to the Volvo City Safe system found in the 2017 Volvo XC90 and other models. Sure, it can do the standard things like automatically brake the vehicle if it senses another car, bicycle, or pedestrian in your path.

What’s more impressive is that it can detect if you’re about to turn in front of another vehicle. If it does, the car’s City Safe system will apply the brakes to help avoid a collision. It’s all part of Volvo’s plan to eliminate fatalities in car crashes by 2020.

What’s your favorite geeky in-car technology? Take a moment and comment below.

-Keith Griffin

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