Auto 2014
Auto 2014

Car Trends to Watch for in 2014

Every year vehicle manufacturers must think up new and interesting features to help sell more vehicles. Some of the trends for 2014 seem as though they're out of science fiction novels.
1. Automated vehicle functions
A car that steers away from a potential collision is becoming a reality with today's vehicles. Many vehicles already feature automated parallel parking for drivers who never mastered that feat in driver's education classes. New cars will start to offer additional automated driving features very soon. Industry-watchers believe completely automated vehicles will arrive by 2025. Students looking at automotive careers will notice that today's vehicles are complex and computer-filled, which has created a high demand for mechanics who can work with these computerized systems.
2. Hybrids take over the market
Hybrid vehicles are no longer a novelty and are all over the roads. Although fully electric vehicles still evoke a sense of wonder, every major vehicle manufacturer offers a hybrid version of at least one model. Manufacturers are even expanding upon their hybrid offerings by creating different trim levels like wagon and budget options. Experiencing astronomical MPG with a hybrid vehicle will soon be the norm instead of the exception.
3. In-car entertainment goes into overdrive
Partnerships between major computer hardware manufacturers and vehicle makers may herald a new phase of in-car entertainment systems. These technological partnerships could bring much greater computer functionality to vehicles. Drivers may soon experience total connectivity and symbiosis of a driver's cell phone with the vehicle's entertainment and functions. Vehicles will be so advanced that they'll seem like a giant smartphone with wheels.
4. Micro-minis get popular
The world has seen a virtual invasion of micro-mini vehicles that offer tremendous gas mileage through small, efficient engines and diesel technology. Those small vehicles will soon be everywhere as fuel economy rules start to tighten because of federal regulations. Drivers should expect to see luxury car brands start introducing vehicles that are small, luxurious, and efficient.
5. Tiny engines and huge power
One of the striking differences of the engines of tomorrow versus those in use today is that vehicles are going to be able to operate with much smaller engines yet provide more horsepower. In addition to creating engines that are smaller in size, engines that will soon be in use will even use fewer cylinders to create the same level of power. For example, one major luxury car brand is hard at work on a V-6 that will offer more power than a V-8, despite its smaller size.
Although most of these trends are still in developmental phases, advanced technology and computers are certainly one of the most important facets of the career of an automotive technician. The old days of working on a car in a garage without all sorts of calibration equipment are long gone, and computers are definitely one of the most important elements of modern vehicles.

By M. Patrick Quinn