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Technology in a car can do one of two things. Technological innovations that improve a car’s safety, maneuverability, and ability to predict and react to danger decrease the likelihood that the car will be in an accident and minimize the threat to its passengers if it is. Technological innovations that can distract the driver – such as social media plugins and entertainment features – increase the risk of a crash.
Mechanical safety features are already figured into the math that insurers use to define premiums, since those features influence the risk associated with insuring a particular vehicle. Insurers are not yet figuring technological distractions as a negative, but odds are that they will begin to, in the same way that they charge higher premiums for younger drivers, in part because they are more likely to text or talk on the phone while driving.
Those who want cheap car insurance without sacrificing coverage to get it should focus on safety technologies over entertainment and social features when car shopping. Which cars provide a model for what buyers (and insurers) should look for? Here are five.
Granted, this Lexus isn’t for those who want to save money on their car insurance – or anything else. But the inside workings of the car are a technical marvel and a harbinger of the automotive future. This car is loaded with features like brake assist, pedestrian detection, and parking guidance that make the car very difficult to crash.
2. Dodge Dart
A down-market alternative to the Lexus is the Dodge Dart, which has been completely redesigned to contend with the most competitive segment of the auto industry – the compact sedan market. The Dart is also loaded with safety and efficiency features, but buyers should beware. The market for performance compacts is made up of young people, and higher trims of the Dart include a socially adept touch screen that could become a distraction and a safety liability.
3. Cadillac ATS
The ATS is Cadillac’s smallest car. It’s also on the cutting edge of technology, packed with features like quick-change suspension and a responsive engine that delivers efficient power when it’s needed. And although the ATS is equipped with an interactive touch screen the driver can tap, pinch, and slide like a smartphone screen, the control functions can also be operated by voice commands, making it safer to use while in motion.
4. Toyota Prius
The Prius was a technological marvel the day it rolled into its first car show as a concept. Today’s Prius is still the gas-saving pack leader, and with additional features like a backup camera, object detection, and handling assistance, it keeps its Earth-loving passengers safe en route from A to B.
No list of technically advanced cars can be complete without including Google’s driverless car. It isn’t actually a car design of its own yet. Google’s engineers have built their technology into a fleet of Prius hybrids. But the driverless car technology will help to redefine how cars are engineered in the future.