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New high tech gadgets make driving fun

June 18, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
If you're planning a family road trip this summer, Car Specialist Dave Kunz has found some fun ways to keep your kids entertained.Modern car travel keeps getting more high tech for both short trips and long ones.

How about live TV broadcasts while on the road? On-board video screens have been around for awhile, first playing VHS tapes then DVDs.

Now, a system called FloTV brings live programming right to the car. It's available on many new Chrysler models like the Dodge Grand Caravan, or it can be added to other vehicles.

While kids will certainly enjoy it, all sorts of programming is there for the whole family. Front seat passengers can watch too, as long as the car's in park.

Speaking of parking, here's a new twist on rear-view cameras. Acura is offering it on its ZDX and MDX models -- it's called multi-view.

Still just one camera tucked into the rear hatch, but the driver can select three different views for backing or parking: standard, wide and top down. No excuses now for not getting it right in between the lines.

While we tend to think of new technologies that keep us entertained or perhaps safer inside the car, there are other things that modern engineering is bringing to new cars. Some are up under the hood.

Infiniti has given its M sedans a makeover and some slick engine technology means better fuel economy with greatly increased power. A big change is to direct fuel injection which puts fuel into the engine more precisely.

It pays off in the numbers. The V6 M37 is rated at 18 mpg city and 26 highway, which is an improvement over the much less powerful 2010 model. For the V8 M56, the improvement is even more substantial on the highway at 25 mpg compared to 21 for last year's car.

And here's something really slick. The driver can select "eco" mode which dials back power a little but increases fuel economy. It even physically resists a heavy foot to help you drive more efficiently.

From live entertainment, to saving fuel, driving is being made easier and more enjoyable thanks to new technology.


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