Car shoppers don’t need to buy a new car to experience modern vehicle technologies, according to car shopping destination Edmunds.com. In fact, Edmunds says that many of the same high-tech features found in new cars — such as Bluetooth, blind-spot monitoring and back-up cameras — are readily found in pre-owned cars that are priced at thousands of dollars less than those that are rolling off assembly lines today.
“Many shoppers will be surprised to learn how many used cars currently available are loaded with advanced technology,” says Edmunds.com Senior Consumer Advice Editor Ron Montoya. “Buyers looking at certified pre-owned cars or those in the two- to three-year-old range, for example, are very likely to find technology that’s comparable with what can be found on a new-car lot.”
The key to zeroing in on high-tech used cars is to identify the years when these technologies hit a critical mass. That way, shoppers can set a baseline model year to better manage their expectations of finding cars equipped with these technologies. Edmunds.com makes this process easier by recommending the following “minimum” model years that are most likely to offer these features:
Bluetooth (2009 or later) — Bluetooth, which wirelessly syncs your mobile device to the car’s audio system, exploded as a feature in 2009, with 81 percent of all models offering the technology as either standard or optional — up from just 47 percent the year before.
Back-Up Cameras (2010 or later) — Back-up cameras have become increasingly standard on a number of vehicles in the past couple of years — they will be required standard equipment beginning with the 2018 model year — and they have been available to shoppers since at least 2005. But it wasn’t until the 2010 model year that the technology became available as standard or optional in at least half (58 percent, to be exact) of all available models.
Blind-Spot Monitoring (2013 or later) — This is an incredibly helpful technology – included as part of a safety package on many midsize sedans and SUVs — that displays a lit icon in your side mirrors to let you know that it is not safe to turn or change lanes. 2015 is the year in which the technology crossed the 50 percent threshold of available models, but used car shoppers interested in the feature are advised to start their shopping lists with 2013 model year vehicles, when more than a third of available models offered it as standard or optional.
Adaptive Cruise Control (2013 or later) — If you like to use cruise control on the highway, you’ll love adaptive cruise control, which automatically detects a vehicle ahead and reduces your car’s speed to keep a safe distance. This feature is still only offered as an option on less than half of all of today’s new cars but, like blind-spot monitoring, the technology was available as a standard or optional feature in about one-third of vehicles in the 2013 model year. Edmunds advises used car shoppers interested in this technology to focus their search on luxury brands and top-of-the-line trims from mainstream brands.
Dual-Zone Climate Control (2006 or later) — This feature doesn’t scream “high-tech” like others on this list, but it’s a must-have solution for any driver who has ever fought with a passenger over the temperature of the car. Shoppers may be surprised by how long this technology has been made available by automakers; in the 2006 model year, more than 50 percent of new cars on the market offered the feature as standard or optional.
While these model year baselines are a helpful start, Edmunds advises all used car shoppers to do their diligence by verifying these or any other options when they test-drive the vehicle. More details on “Used Car Tech that Might Surprise You” can be found at http://www.edmunds.com/car-buying/used-car-tech-that-might-surprise-you.html.
Just because your car isn’t equipped with cutting-edge technology, it doesn’t mean you’re stuck without it. Aftermarket products can be added to just about any used car to give you the technologies you covet the most – and at surprisingly affordable prices. Edmunds lists some of its favorite technology add-ons at http://www.edmunds.com/car-technology/best-new-tech-upgrades-for-used-cars.html.
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