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March 21, 2012 9:36 AM   Subscribe

What's a good mid-range car for a person who likes shiny electronic gizmos?

Mr. Llama is in the market for a new car. Mr. Llama likes high-tech gadgetry quite a bit -- smartphones, GPS, music players, hands-free gizmos...etc. What is the most technologically advanced car -- 'technologically advanced' from the driver or user's perspective, not necessarily 'technologically advanced' in the engine or drive train -- on the market today?

We are, unfortunately I guess, not looking for BMW Batmobile Class luxury cars.

Mr. Llama did not ask me to convey this, however I will mention that he is often carting around a little llama in a car seat in the back. I will also mention that Mr. Llama truly loves the cockpit-like dashboard lights in his current car, which make it feel a lot like you're about to land a jet when you're driving at night.
posted by A Terrible Llama to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Check out Hyundai/Kia, they have a lot of tech stuff in the cars, for not too much money. Check out a small Cadillac, too.
posted by gjc at 9:37 AM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

mini cooper or clubman. if you need four full adult sized seating, go with the clubman.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:51 AM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

The new Ford Focus comes with a lot of electronic stuff for the price.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 10:05 AM on March 21, 2012 [4 favorites]

The Prius has a lot of fun and interesting gizmos, and the cockpit is pretty fun as well. We named ours the LEM, because it looks like it should be on the moon. :)
posted by blurker at 10:16 AM on March 21, 2012

The later model Altima/Maximas are pretty tricked out, and so is my friend's new Mazda (39 mpg, too!)
posted by halfbuckaroo at 10:18 AM on March 21, 2012

Any shiny built-in interface will look dated in two years, why not get him an OBDII bluetooth plugin displaying live engine stats on his smartphone as suggested in this thread?
posted by Tom-B at 10:49 AM on March 21, 2012

I was looking for a very similar car recently and decided on the very cool Hyundai Veloster (her name is Clever Girl). It's probably not ideal for a car seat situation (it only has a rear door on the passenger side), but the Elantra and even Accent have similar techy trim packages. My second choice was the Ford Focus.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:55 AM on March 21, 2012

We are, unfortunately I guess, not looking for BMW Batmobile Class luxury cars.

What about the BMW 3 series cars, though? You say you don't care about technologically advanced engines, but once you have to swerve and rapidly accelerate to avoid something that fell off a truck or someone who's obliviously about to cut you off, you will be forever hooked.

Here's the cockpit (yes, it's called a cockpit). There are usb and iphone connections in the center console. Obvs, there's a GPS. It looks sweet at night. The sound is bangin'. I've never heard any complaints about the backseat from adults, so your little llama should be comfy. My only complaint is that there's not enough cupholders.

If the price is scary, look for one that's a few years old. Mine is a 2003 (with an aftermarket iPod hookup) and it's sweeeeeeeet. My husband bought a used one from the dealership and it came with 5 years warranty and free maintenance, which probably saved us a few thousand already.
posted by desjardins at 11:57 AM on March 21, 2012

I was also looking at the Honda Civic, which while possibly the most boring car you can drive, has a pretty cool dual-level spaceshippy display setup.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:03 PM on March 21, 2012

I bought a Focus in 2009 precisely for it's gadgettiness (my car talks!). Well, it wasn't the only factor in the decision, but it did factor in. My wife bought a 2012 Escape, which is very similar in it's dashboard setup to my Focus, only updated. I can tell you that neither one of us have yet regretted the choice.
posted by mysterpigg at 1:39 PM on March 21, 2012

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