• Top 5 Tech Trends We Love and Hate: Mid-2017 Report

    TFL Tech Trends Report, Summer 2017

    In this episode of TFLNow, Roman and Nathan weigh in on the new technology trends in cars and trucks that’s blowing their minds or driving them absolutely insane. Watch the video to get their full opinions. Here’s how their list shakes out after a spring and summer of testing the latest vehicles.

    LOVE IT!

    #5 Surround view/360-degree view cameras and screen views The Gist: “A game-changer, especially on big cars and trucks. Plus the improved optics on this year’s back-up cameras compared to last year are amazing.”
    #4 Apple CarPlay/Android Auto The Gist: “We’re in different cars every week and plugging our phones in and having everything sync makes the car instantly familiar. And we’re hearing more and more that people won’t buy cars without it.”
    #3 Configurable Instrument Clusters/Dash The Gist: “Being able to program the instrument cluster to see the info. you want to see. It’s just cool.”
    #2 Programmable Performance The Gist: “You can tailor the car to your performance driving desires like “Drift Mode” in the Ford Focus RS or Trans Brake in the Dodge Demon. And via the touchscreen, you can see what you’re programming.”
    #1 Over-the-Air Automatic Software Updates The Gist: “Tesla’s being doing this for years and the new Chevy Bolt is capable of it as well. Since so much of today’s vehicles are driving by computers and are connected to either Wi-Fi or cellular networks, we’d like to see every new car follow suit.”
    Seeing Apple CarPlay/Android Auto in a car brings us joy.

    HATE IT!

    #5 Touchscreen Buttons & No Volume Dial The Gist: “It’s not cool to have to look at the infotainment screen in order to turn down the radio while you’re speeding down the road.”
    #4 Start/Stop Function The Gist: “We get it, it saves gas. But in stop-and-go traffic, it’s a pain and we turn it off. And it resets to “on” every time you turn off the car. Annoying.”
    #3 Manufacturer-Installed Navigation Systems The Gist: “When we have our phones that work 90% of the time and are often more accurate, why would we pay $2,500-$4,000 extra for navigation in a car?”
    #2 Gesture Control/Voice Recognition The Gist: “We’ll make this simple: Neither is ready for prime time.”
    #1 Disappearing Gear Shifters The Gist: “The move to rotary dials? Nor our favorite, but hmm, OK. The push-button set-up? No thanks, especially where the buttons are located in places where spilled coffee is not an ‘if’ question, but a ‘when’ question. The last thing we want to worry about is shorting out our gear shifter.”
    2016 Honda Pilot 9-speed automatic transmission
    Push-button gear shifting; we’re not fans.

    Got your own love/hate list of tech you’ve found in today’s vehicles? Go ahead and share them with us in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you. And so would our readers.

    Grant Davis
    Grant Davis
    Grant Davis is the Marketing Manager for TFLcar. Since 2006, he's found himself in the driver's seat of a more than 200 cars, trucks, SUVs, motorcycles, and the occasional watercraft as a longtime writer for Outside Magazine/Outside online and other adventure-oriented media. He's based in Denver and has a love/hate relationship with his 11-year-old minivan.

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    5 thoughts on “Top 5 Tech Trends We Love and Hate: Mid-2017 Report

    1. #5 is not only a downgrade for volume but the push buttons are also a pain for setting the temperature. Rotary dials are a luxury item we are losing to cheaper touch screens and push buttons you have to repeatidly press and or hold and search for. A rotary dial is superior period.
      #4 Start stop function is just one tactical unit the industry has to use to keep using the Internal cumbustion engine to meet Cafe requirements until they are forced into electric drive or suffer from bankruptcy. They dont care that it bothers the driver so long as they keep selling fuel to their lobbyiests.
      #3 Agreed, I dont need it, how about 4 wheel steering as an option instead of Navigation and glass roofs and 10 cameras.
      #2 Voice recognition, it works sometimes but I have told the btch to f-off several times.
      #1 I believe the police cruisers wont use it because you have to physically look to see if its in park, with a gear shifter its fast and you know its in park in order to get out quickly. I tried to not look one time when I went into reverse and I turned the volume button up and scared the sht out of myself and jolted the truck forward instead of in reverse. Gear shifters are sperior for human integration. The rotary dial does not work as a gear shifter.

      1. Fake noise drive me CRAZY! I have one more for you. Hard to get bench seats! I think only the “lower” end models offer bench seats. I miss bench seats.

        1. Bench seats are a nice thought, love the appeal of them and the old school feel they bring but my body is too old to support itself and is just happier in a lumbar heaven that keeps me in position even in hard corners.

    2. I prefer the mechanical tach & speedometer (& climate control & radio) to digital! If a chip or electrical connection or the software fails & you only have electrical/digital, you’re out of luck. Having digital is great as long as you have the tried & true in addition (plus it’s now Retro Cool, right?’!!).

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