The time is now for self-parking cars, all-electric vehicles, keyless ignition.
You arrive in a rush to O’Hare International Airport in Chicago to catch the red-eye to Atlanta.
You grab your bags and tickets from your car and get through security.
You finally make it to your seat but once on the airplane you ask yourself, “Did I lock my car?”
In most cases, you’d just have to cross your fingers and hope for the best that your car is where you parked it once you return. But, if you’re the owner of a 2017 Buick Encore with OnStar RemoteLink, you don’t have to worry.
“You can open and lock your Encore from your cell phone,” says Rocky Faragoi, general manager of Gurley Leep Buick GMC Cadillac in Mishawaka. “You can be on the airplane and be able to lock or unlock your car with the app. We’re in one of the biggest times for people to shake the door handle and take whatever they want from you. With our app, you can lock and unlock the door from anywhere, even inside a building miles away.”
The OnStar RemoteLink app also makes forgetting your keys in the car a thing of the past.
“I have customers who leave their keys in the center console and just open and lock their vehicle using their cell phone,” Faragoi says.
Faragoi says Encore, a compact sports utility vehicle, is a very popular vehicle for 2017 because it features technology than can appeal to almost anyone. “It’s one of our hottest vehicles (for buyers) from 18 to 80 years old,” Faragoi says. “It has something for everybody.”
The 2017 Encore also features an 8-inch diagonal color touch screen; built-in 4G Wi-Fi hotspot; hands-free calling or playing music using voice commands; and QuietTuning and active noise cancellation technologies.
GM models have several safety features. “When it’s sensing the driver is not paying attention, the car will automatically stop,” says Faragoi, who has been in the automotive business since 2007.
Another feature on some GM models is the start-stop feature, where the engine shuts off when the vehicle is at a stop. Faragoi says the start-stop feature can save as much as four miles per gallon. “The car maintains itself with battery power. It’s seamless.”
Faragoi says that training is needed to keep up with the 25 or so different vehicles in the Leep Gurley inventory. “We have a product trainer come in about once a month. We have 25 different cars that we have to learn. Customers only have one, the one they are interested in.”
Brian Schiesser, salesperson at Christenson Chevrolet in Highland, says safety features are actually the main attraction in 2017 vehicles.
He says, “A feature called lane-departure warning can sense the car in front of you. The light pops on when someone is in your blind spot. This option is available in most of our mid-size to full-size vehicles such as the Malibu and Impala.”
Another popular feature is self-park. “I find that most people know how to parallel park. They still enjoy using it. You still have to apply the brakes. It still takes some brain power and you have to use the brake and accelerator to park it,” Schiesser says.
If better mileage is high on your list, Chevrolet has that, too, with its Bolt and Volt vehicles. Chevy’s all-electric Bolt EV will be able to travel 230 to 240 miles on a full-battery. “It’s going to beat the Tesla,” says Schiesser.
The Bolt EV features electronic precision shift; Michelin self-sealing tires; 10.2-inch diagonal color touch-screen; and rear vision camera. According to Chevrolet.com, the Bolt EV offers “DC Fast Charging capability, which provides up to 90 miles of range in about 30 minutes of charge time. DC Fast Charging stations are available for public use and are perfect for topping off your charge anytime while on the go. By the time you finish a cup of coffee, you’ll be powered up and so will your Bolt EV.”
The Chevy Volt is a hybrid electric car that can go more than 50 miles on electricity and up to 420 miles with a full charge and full tank of gas. “Volt allows you to make fewer stops, letting you focus on your commute. Plus, Chevrolet expects owners will drive 1,000 miles between fill-ups with regular charging, making the gas station a distant memory,” according to Chevrolet.com.
Schiesser says after about 30 miles, the Volt switches to gasoline to charge the battery. “They offer this on the Hybrid Malibu. It actually gets better gas mileage in the city than on the highway,” Schiesser says.
Not to be outdone is Ford, which offers a wide range of cars, trucks and SUVs with enhanced safety features and better mileage. According to Ford.com, “The newly designed Fusion is more stunning than ever. With striking features you never even knew you wanted, like the rotary gear shift dial that replaces the traditional gear shifter and makes for a more open cabin–it also makes it easier to reach what’s important to you: your morning coffee, for instance. Or the distinctive newly designed grille with available new LED headlamps. The new Platinum and V6 Sport interiors offer sophisticated style along with impressive performance.”
Another neat feature that is sure to be popular is Fusion’s pothole avoidance technology. Ford engineers have developed an advanced computer-controlled shock absorber system for the 2017 Fusion V6 Sport, which significantly reduces that unpleasant feeling one gets when driving down a pothole-riddled road.
“The new Fusion V6 Sport substantially reduces the harsh impact potholes often deliver,” says Jason Michener, a Ford continuously controlled damping engineering expert, in a written statement. “Our new pothole mitigation technology works by actually detecting potholes and ‘catching’ the car’s wheel before it has a chance to drop all the way into the pothole.”
Tom Roberts, salesman at Sauers Ford Lincoln in Michigan City, says the pothole avoidance technology is a game changer.
“People are asking for it,” Roberts says. Other safety features on Ford vehicles is a driver assistance package that can help drivers slow down even when they are not paying attention.
“If you’re going 75 and the car in front of you slows down to 70, the Ford vehicle will automatically slow down to 70,” Roberts says. “It’s a great safety feature and can even lower your insurance rates.”
Roberts says the start of a new year is always a great time to buy a new vehicle. “There are a lot of incentives out there. Everyone wants to start the New Year off right,” Roberts says.