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The Top Five 2017 Model Connected Cars

The five most connected cars in the 2017 model year range were determined by not only connected hardware but also how modern connectivity makes the lives of drivers less stressful and provides a smoother car experience.

The automotive market is being transformed by connected car innovations. There are nowadays numerous forms of technology that connect cars to smart devices, including sensors, in-vehicle computers, GPS and automotive systems, and the cloud. To discover the most connected cars for the 2017 model year, we looked at some of the advanced driving features, such as autonomous driving, selfparking/summoning from outside the vehicle and smart-device connectivity*. The five most connected cars in the 2017 model year range were determined by not only connected hardware but also how modern connectivity makes the lives of drivers less stressful and provides a smoother car experience. Most of the models are made by luxury automakers with the exception of Hyundai, which is aggressively marketing connected features at an affordable price.

1. Tesla Model S

The Tesla Model S is outselling other models in its class due to its high-battery mileage range and technology features. It receives regular over-the-air updates and comes with the hardware needed for full self-driving capability, collision avoidance and automatic emergency braking. The 17“ touchscreen display with media, communication, cabin and vehicle controls is a technology centerpiece for 4G LTE connectivity. It has calendar synchronization and tap to navigate, and Google Maps gives real-time traffic information, while Navigation has real-time traffic routing. The Tesla Motors app controls doors, shows charging status, warms/cools the cabin, locates vehicles or can summon the Tesla out of the garage (with key fob present). The Tesla S is Autopark Ready and will reverse into parking spots (owners must additionally buy the Autopilot software).

2. Mercedes-Benz E-Class

The intelligent E-Class features technology that does some of the driving and monitors the driver. Active Brake Assist and Attention Assist are standard, warning inattentive or drowsy drivers. Its Drive pilot system is the next step towards autonomous driving, with Speed Limit Pilot and Active Lane-change Assistant. Car-to-X connects vehicles to vehicles and the traffic infrastructure. Near Field Communication (NFC) and Bluetooth provide hands-free control, enabling Digital Vehicle Key via smartphones. The mbrace app gives remote access from a smartphone or computer and Mercedes me provides vehicle location, local search and remote diagnostics. The Remote Parking Pilot app gives external control via Bluetooth and smartphone. Live Traffic Information is optional in Comand Online and most models are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto enabled.

3. Volvo 90 Series

The Volvo 90 Series combines the usual Volvo safety advantages and adds the latest connected technology. Pilot Assist automatically maintains set speeds or safe distances. It assists with steering, acceleration, deceleration and braking. Park Assist offers automatic reversing, entering and exiting when parking. City Safety and Large Animal Detection detects obstacles and brakes if needed. The Sensus Connect touch screen interface offers navigation, connected services and in-car entertainment applications. Real-time traffic is available, while infotainment includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There is cloud connection and Wi-Fi hotspots. The Volvo OnCall app enables subscribers to remotely lock/unlock doors or start/stop and set climate control. Drivers can locate their vehicle on a map, check window status, get alarm notifications, and check the dashboard status and trip information.

4. Hyundai Ioniq Lineup (USA Models)

Hyundai is bringing high-end connected technology features to mainstream vehicles in the US with its Ioniq line of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric cars. The Ioniq line has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus wireless smartphone charging. Ioniq also offers advanced safety, including automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, blind-spot detection and smart cruise control. The Hyundai Blue Link connected car system includes enhanced safety, diagnostic, remote and guidance services. It also features remote start with climate control, Google-powered destination search, remote door lock/unlock, car finder, enhanced roadside assistance and stolen vehicle recovery. Blue Link features can be accessed via buttons on the rear-view mirror, the MyHyundai.com web portal or via the MyHyundai smartphone app.

5. BMW 5 Series

The 2017 BMW 5 Series is endowed with many advanced connected features that premiered on the 2016 BMW 7 series. Dynamic Cruise Control maintains any selected speed between 19 and 130 mph. Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go uses radar to adjust the pre-selected speed to the traffic situation. Remote Control Parking enables drivers to park in narrow spaces using the Display Key. The car is maneuvered into the parking spot when the driver positions the vehicle in front of the desired parking space. On-street parking spaces and garages can be easily located, reserved and paid for with the ParkNow service.

BMW Connected seamlessly integrates the vehicle into the user’s digital life via multiple touchpoints, such as an iPhone, Apple Watch, and Android smartphone, providing driving routes and times to leave for appointments. Remote 3D View allows drivers to call up three-dimensional views of the car’s surrounding area on smartphones. Smartphone integration is enhanced with wireless Apple CarPlay, inductive phone charging and Wi-Fi hotspots for up to ten devices. RTTI (Advanced Real Time Traffic Information) provides traffic information virtually in real time.

BMW Connected Onboard provides personalized start screens for every driver, and imports smartphone contacts and appointments. BMW is the first automaker to announce Amazon Alexa integration and WiFi connected Apple CarPlay. The BMW EnLighten app connects BMW to traffic signals via iPhones in a limited number of cities.

Lynn Walford