By Mark G. McLaughlin
There are many gadgets and gizmos that trick-out a car, but when it comes to finding technology that really makes a difference for drivers and passengers, the 2017 Chicago Auto Show is the place to go. New hybrid engines, airbag deployment configurations, infotainment options and safety suites designed to prevent accidents from happening are arguably the most game-changing technologies in the automotive world. Here are the best of each of those new technologies to be found in cars at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show.
2017 Chicago Auto Show
2301 South Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60616
Date: February 11—20, 2017
Ford’s SYNC 3 – Uniquely Connecting to Your Car
Most new cars come with at least a rudimentary infotainment package, but the SYNC suite available in Ford models is truly unique. Ford quite correctly touts this option as “a powerful way to connect to your vehicle.” With its 4G LTE system SYNC 3 allows drivers both remote and in-vehicle access from a smart phone or through a Bluetooth. This allows an owner to update systems for their vehicle quite literally from anywhere. It also offers an advanced hands-free in-vehicle communication system that even lets a driver or passenger use voice commands to enable smart phone apps. Ford’s SYNC 3 also offers one of the most customizable entertainment packages available, and one which, as Ford boasts, can help you create the perfect, personalized soundtrack for your drive.
Jeep’s Advanced All-Around Multi-Stage Airbag Safety and Electronic Stability Control Systems
Many new Jeep models, the Compass in particular, come with a brand-new advanced all-around multi-stage airbag system. The new Compass, for example, has six airbags, including front seat side-mounted bags and side-curtain airbags, which offer protection, as Jeep says, “where you need it most.” More and more vehicles are being fitted with side-curtain airbags, but those on the new Jeeps are especially well-designed. They are but part of a 30-plus suite of advanced features available from Jeep that are designed to keep the driver and passengers as safe as possible on the road. Those additional features include an assisted anti-lock braking system, electronic stability control and electronic roll mitigation technology helps correct over- and under-steering actions, and which will engage the brakes if it sense a roll over situation is imminent.
Volvo’s City Safety/IntelliSafe Suite – Stopping Accidents Before They Happen
Volvo has long had a reputation for being among the safest cars on the road, but the company is aiming even higher in its new and upcoming models in that regard. The company is working hard to make good on its promise that “No one will be seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo by 2020.” The new City Safety/IntelliSafe Suite of features available in the 2017 models (such as the XC90, which is already racking up awards across the board) has brought the company several steps closer to that goal. Among its features are radar, sonar and laser detectors that warn of and trigger auto-braking to reduce the likelihood of hitting another vehicle or pedestrian. Multiple cameras, park and driver assist technology and many other features have not only let Volvo maintain its reputation for safety, but also put it far in the lead among other auto makers in that regard.
KIA Niro’s 52 MPG Hybrid Engine Goes 600 miles Between Fill-ups
The KIA Niro is one of the most talked-about and highly-anticipated new vehicles at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show, and for a good reason. Its hybrid system, which pairs a clever gasoline-powered 1.6 Liter GDI engine with an electric motor, offers an astounding 52 mpg. It promises drivers can go 600 miles between fill-ups. The six-speed Dual-Clutch Transmission offers a much more personalized level of control than the Continuous Variable Transmission found on most other hybrids.