Car sales are strong so far in 2013, despite higher gas prices. One reason: Many cars on the road are now 7 to 10 years old, with high mileage, and in need of replacing.
So if you haven't sat in a new car in a while, you may be in for a bit of a shock. The interiors are looking more and more like iPads.
High Tech Dashboards Everywhere
You may be amazed by all the technology now staring at you from the dashboard.
Priscilla Archaki of Toyota demonstrated to us the touchscreen in the brand new 2013 Toyota Avalon.
This is not your grandfather's Avalon, a car popular with the over-70 set. The re-design now has voice activated navigation, bluetooth for your phone, and an iPod interface, to turn your car into a mobile smartphone.
Another big change from just a couple of years ago: even sub compact cars, and small crossovers like Honda's CR-V, have a touchscreen, and all sorts of entertainment at your fingertips.
New Cadlllacs feature the CUE system, a large touchscreen for the radio and a/c, with not a button or knob to be found.
Most Ford's now use the My Ford Touch system, which is perhaps the most complex, according to Consumer Reports Magazine.
Whether its Chevy's new $50,0000-plus Corvette, or its $15,000 Sonic, high tech is everywhere.
Drivers we spoke with, who were checking out new cars, told us they have gotten so comfortable with this new technology, that it no longer comes as a surprise. "I like the screen for backing up, and the touchscreen for the navigational system that talks to you," one said.
So if you haven't bought a new car in a few years, what you find this spring may amaze you.
Higher Price, but Better Mileage
Unfortunately, all this new technology --especially safety features -- comes with a price. New car prices are up more than a thousand dollars, on average, the past couple of years.
But you get much better gas mileage than cars a decade ago, which can make up for those higher costs, so you don't waste your money.
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