This Week in The World of Cars: Sept 23 – 29

This week’s top stories picked by our editors feature a Mercedes hot hatch, Ikea-designed car interiors, and a Jetsons-style flying car. 

  • Long live the hatchback: Mercedes will showcase a new A-Class hatchback at the Paris Motor Show next week. Sadly, U.S. drivers won’t see this on dealer lots anytime soon. Perhaps it’s because the Volkswagen Golf has a cult-like following here. One of the appeals of the standard Golf is its price: Drivers can get a base Golf with a manual transmission for about $20,000. The Mercedes could be double the price — and it wouldn’t come with a manual. U.S. drivers will have to make do with the sedan version of the A-Class, which is set to come to the U.S. in early 2019.
  • Ikea wants to design your autonomous car’s interior: Ikea, following recent announcements by BMW and Volvo, is the latest company to reveal its designs for the interior of autonomous cars. But unlike BMW and Volvo, which imagine interiors that would serve business travelers, Ikea offers seven designs — including Pharmacy and Cafe — that transform the interior of a car into a functional space, complete with sofas and chairs.
  • Arity is looking to change how we buy insurance. Arity, a subsidiary of Allstate, is investigating how it could create an insurance plan for an individual, not a car. It plans to create customized policies by measuring driving behavior — like the number of times you run a red light — as opposed to traditional markers like gender or zip code. In order for drivers to get a better insurance deal, they would need to provide access to their personal data, via either a smartphone app or an OBD-II port. We love the pioneering spirit, Arity.
  • Drivers are still baffled by their car’s safety features: Blind-spot monitoring is just one of the many safety features now available in new cars. A study released by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reviewed safety features in 2016 and 2017 cars and found that, when used correctly, they can prevent 40 percent of crashes. But that efficacy is based on drivers understanding the limits of these safety features — and 80 percent of drivers surveyed overestimated the capability of blind-spot monitoring.
  • “The Jetsons” premiered this week in 1962 — and even though the show ran for only one season, it gave viewers iconic examples of what the future would look like, including flying cars. Now, 56 years later, flying cars, along with four other futuristic concepts, are on their way to becoming a reality.

We’ll be back next week with more stories curated for our readers.

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