Top technology in affordable cars
The recent advances in technology are making modern cars almost unrecognisable to their ageing equivalents.
Compare a new Ford Focus to the same model from 2004 and you'd be staggered as to the changes and additional features the latest incarnation packs in comparison.
Whether they are to directly assist the driver, to increase safety or to make the person behind the wheel more connected to the vehicle, there is absolutely no way to avoid the future. And that's not such a bad thing.
We take a look at some of the best in-car technologies available on the market today, and the vehicles that you can get them in.
MyKey is a unique innovation for Ford that allows drivers to have more control when others take to the road.
For example, if a customer's teenage son decides he wants to take his parents' new Ford for a drive, they can ensure he doesn't go wild on the roads.
This is achievable by using MyKey, a unique tool that allows the implementation of certain settings depending on who's driving.
The technology allows parents' to set a maximum speed in the car, as well as a maximum volume for the stereo system. Furthermore, if any passenger is not wearing their seatbelt, the entertainment system can be disabled entirely.
It is now available in new Ford Fiesta models and will be made available in the latest edition of the Focus. It is expected the manufacturer will roll-out this technology for other vehicles in the future.
This feature means engines will stop running when the car comes to a halt, but will fire up against once pressure is applied to the accelerator.
It is something that is becoming more and more popular in small, practical cars, instead of just being found in expensive luxury cars.
This is because the system helps to minimise the amount of emissions a car produces, while increasing fuel efficiency.
It is now available in models such as the Nissan Juke, the Suzuki Celerio,
the Citroen C1, the Fiat 500 and the Volkswagen Caddy.
With touchscreen tablet and smartphone technologies becoming more and more popular, the motoring market is keen to ensure it doesn't get left in the dark ages.
Touchscreen infotainment systems allow drivers to access features like satellite navigation, audio and radio channel controls and air conditioning settings through a single platform. This makes it much easier for drivers to control while on the move.
Technology like this is available in the new Peugeot 108, the Citroen C4 Cactus, and the Volkswagen Polo, to name a few.
Manufacturers are now making it easier than ever for drivers to stay safe on the road and to avoid any accidents.
This is achieved through the addition of a number of driver assist technologies, including automatic lighting control, lane departure warning, city-braking, and in-car cameras for help when reversing and parking.
It is hoped these features will limit the chances of you being involved in an accident.
Driver-assist, available in a number of packages unique to manufacturers, can be accessed in models such as the Nissan Qashqai (Nissan Safety Shield), the Hyundai i10, and the Mazda6 (i-ACTIVSENSE).
Using your mobile phone while driving can get you into a whole lot of trouble with the police.
It is unsafe to text or to take calls using your phone while driving. Having a voice activated, hands-free system helps you to take advantage of your smartphone without taking your eyes off the road, or your hands off the wheel.
Furthermore, smartphone connectivity allows you to make the most of your favourite apps on the go, whether this is a music service or internet connectivity.
A form of this technology is available as part of Ford's 'SYNC' system, in the Hyundai Genesis and in many Volvos.
Posted by Louise Clark