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We Bought a Newer Car With Lots of Technology

April 9, 2018 Featured, Transportation No Comments
The 2007 Honda Civic EX we bought in April 2014.

Last month my husband David and I bought a newer used car to replace the 2007 Civic EX we bought four years ago, see No Longer Car-Free.  This is my 15th car in the 35 years I’ve been driving. I’ve seen a lot of new automotive technology be introduced end become mainstream.

I took my drivers exam in 1983 in my mom’s 1974 Dodge Dart. It had manual windows, door locks. I don’t think it even had a right side mirror. It was 9 years old but it seemed ancient. At 15 I bought a 1974 Mustang II  — sold it before I turned 16. After I got my license I began driving my brother’s 1971 Dodge Demon — nothing like today’s Demon.

Here’s a summary of when I got new automotive technology

  • 1983: power seat & moonroof in a 1975 Mercury Monarch
  • 1984: power windows, flip up sunroof in a 1979 Ford Fairmont Futura
  • 1986: manual transmission, front wheel drive in a 1984 Dodge Colt (Mitsubishi)
  • 1993: central locking, manual steel sunroof, turbo, 4 wheel disc brakes, fuel injection in a 1987 Volvo 740 Turbo
  • 1998: Side marker  turn signals on two 1986 Saab 900S — one S 4-door and one Turbo 3-door
  • 2000: ABS brakes, airbags, remote locks in a 2000 VW Golf
  • 2004: All wheel drive in a 1999 Audi A4 Avant

There were many more cars, but they didn’t offer any new technology that I hadn’t had before. Basically new cars have added one or two new things. Last month we got lots of new tech all at once.

Our newish car in front of Broadway Oyster Bar

Our 2015 Sonata is the top trim level — Limited — with both optional packages: tech & ultimate. The only option ours doesn’t have is a more powerful turbo engine.

We first saw this car at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. The primary feature we wanted was memory seat & mirrors.  Since we share one car we’ve spent the last 4 years adjusting the driver’s seat and both mirrors each time we get into the car after the other drove it.  Competition like the top level Accord has had a memory seat since 2013, but no memory mirrors even in 2018 models.  The Camry still doesn’t have either.

David has experienced many of these before via Enterprise CarShare and rental cars. For me, these are very new:

  • Proximity “key” allows me to open car doors without removing the fob from my pocket. Approaching the locked trunk and waiting a few seconds will open the trunk lid. Some cars require you to wave a foot under the back of the car — I couldn’t physically do that. Inside the fob stays in my pocket. This lets me use my one good hand to worry about my cane.
  • On a related note, when you press the off button the seat moves back to give you more room to exit — very helpful for me.
  • Still adjusting to the back up camera and how the rear view mirrors tilt down while in reverse.
  • The rear cross traffic alert is helpful when backing out of parking spaces. It detects vehicles and pedestrians.
  • The blind spot detection warning is amazing. Whenever a vehicle is in a blind spot an orange light displays on the appropriate side mirror. If you signal to get into a lane with someone in the blind spot the car beeps at you. Last year we test drove a 2013 Honda Accord EX-L with Lane Watch. We weren’t impressed with Honda’s blind spot system — nothing on the left and for the right you don’t look at the right mirror — you look at the center screen to see if there’s a car. Huh?
  • Lane departure warning is good on well marked roads when it’s dry out.
  • Front collision warning will beep at you to stop before hitting something in front of you. David says it went off when a car changed lanes right in front of the car in front of him. Impressive. What baffles mw is Hyundai didn’t include emergency braking in case the driver doesn’t hit the brakes in time — this was added the next year.
  • I used the adaptive cruise control for the first time yesterday — driving to/from St. Charles, Remarkable.  While using the cruise control it van automatically stop the car, so I’m told.

For more on my first time driving this car see a feature on Curbed.

The amount of new tech is a bit overwhelming. The list above isn’t complete, there is more. As I get more miles behind the wheel I’ll post addition thoughts. I’ll also compare the car to competition and tech offered from other manufacturers. In addition to lacking emergency braking, I wish it had start/stop technology. The hybrid version of the current generation Sonata didn’t come out until the next year, 2016. When we replace this car in about 5 years I hope to get a plug-in hybrid.

— Steve Patterson

 

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