Manufacturers S Through V
The Scions we've tested lack sophisticated infotainment systems. We're looking forward to trying out Scion's new-for-2013 BeSpoke system, which will run navigation, internet radio, Facebook, and Twitter off any iPhone that's running iOS 5 or 6—as long as it isn't an iPhone 5.
Subaru has updated their infotainment systems for 2013, scrapping a tiny TomTom system for a full-featured touchscreen setup. There's no smartphone connectivity other than audio Bluetooth streaming.
High trim level Legacys and Outbacks have active safety features including EyeSight adaptive cruise control, which will follow a vehicle at a safe distance, slowing and speeding up automatically.
We have yet to try out the massive touchscreen on the Tesla Model S. It controls nearly every vehicle and infotainment function.
In addition to optional navigation and infotainment systems, Toyota offers Entune, a series of apps that run on your car's infotainment system using your phone's data plan.
The setup differs a bit among Toyota's many cars, but the basic premise is the same: Connect your smartphone, run the Entune app, and access a few tailored apps on your car's touchscreen including Bing, OpenTable, MovieTickets.com, Yelp, and Pandora.
Though our first try with connecting Entune proved a bit buggy, we were impressed with it once our phone was properly paired. Using Bing to search for an address or point of interest is exceptionally fast, and we successfully made restaurant reservations through voice recognition.
VW's lineup has the option of basic infotainment systems, including touchscreen navigation. At the moment, there is no smartphone data connectivity and you can't get active safety systems such as blind spot detectors.
There's about to be a technological revolution at Volvo. Every 2014 car will come standard with Volvo's Sensus Connected Touch Android-based infotainment system, which we previewed at the New York Auto Show.
Every 2011+ car with a 7-inch touchscreen can be retrofitted with the setup, which impressed us in our first short look. Instead of capacitive touch, Volvo uses a "beam-scanned" screen, which uses infrared sensors to find your fingers. That allows drivers to keep their gloves on and still get the most out of the infotainment setup.
In addition, many Volvo cars come standard with City Safety, a radar-based automatic braking system that detects potential collisions and slams on the brakes to prevent them. Adaptive cruise control and pedestrian detection are also available.