Car tech: These 8 gadgets will drive you to the cutting edge of cool
Retrofit your car with the newest tech
It can be very expensive to purchase a new car just to get the latest bells and whistles. Luckily, some hardware companies have taken it upon themselves to add the latest connected technology to your car, letting you mix and match what features you'd like on your older whip.
The Logitech ZeroTouch dock adds Amazon Alexa capability to your car. When a handset is snapped into the ZeroTouch, a companion app is loaded automatically with Amazon Alexa, voice functions, music control, and more. The ZeroTouch is available in the US and UK starting at $59 for the vent model and $79 for the dashboard model.
Start with Bluetooth
iClever is one of the easiest ways to add Bluetooth functionality to your car, letting you connect your smartphone for phone calls, music, directions, and more. The iClever Himbox is available for $29.99 and features a magnetic mounting disk for your smartphone, button to answer calls, and noise cancelling. Your car will just need an AUX port.
Smartphone GPS apps sometimes don't cut it for the super-traveler. CNET recommends the $199 Garmin Nuvi 3597LMTHD, thanks to its user interface and sleek design while mounted on your car's hood. It has the ability to sync with the cloud and connect to the web via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Automatic Labs' Automatic
The Automatic Labs connected car adapter plugs into your car to give information like fuel efficiency, emergency services, audio warnings, and more. There are also features to help new teen drivers stay safe and learn how to operate on the road. The Automatic is available for $99 and plugs into any car's diagnostic (OBD-II) port located under the dash and unlocks the data from the onboard computer.
Add Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
While Apple and Google are still working to rollout CarPlay and Android Auto to new cars, third-party device makers have taken it upon themselves to add the infotainment system to your existing rig. Pioneer makes several options readily available to add CarPlay or Android Auto, while still accessing basic radio features.
Lemur's BlueDriver can help you diagnose engine problems and make sure your car is ready for state-sponsored smog tests. BlueDriver generates repair reports that allow you to interpret error codes to find the right fix. While not for everyone, the BlueDriver can be purchased for $99, and it plugs into the OBD-II port.
Dash cameras have been shown to be the easiest way to protect yourself from big fines or lawsuits. Most dash cameras are always running, and they give you the ability to quickly save video in an event of crash or other accidents. They range from $15 on Amazon up to a few hundred, depending on the type of functionality you desire.