A study by iSuppli Corporation shows that the top 10 cars being bought with Cash for Clunkers vouchers offer tech features such as GPS navigation, Bluetooth phone systems, satellite radio, and iPod integration. However, in iSuppli's automotive tech rating system, the average score for these 10 cars, 14.6, falls below the tech average for all cars available, 17.8 according to iSuppli. The tops the list, and sets the tone for the rest, which are all relatively inexpensive and economical vehicles.
The iSuppli report notes that none of these cars offer driver assistance technologies, such as adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection, and lane departure warning. Automakers are still reserving those options for higher-end cars. The report also notes that three of the cars in the top 10 offer Bluetooth audio streaming, while only two offer a telematics service.
There seem to be a few discrepancies with iSuppli's numbers, such as the Ford Focus only scoring a 10 for its infotainment rating, while the Chevy Cobalt scores a 14. Neither car offers a navigation option, and the Focus includes a USB interface, lacking in the Cobalt. However, the Cobalt's OnStar system gives it a significant edge in the iSuppli rating.
On a positive note for the environmental impact of Cash for Clunkers, iSuppli quotes U.S. Department of Transportation statistics that show cars bought under the program have an average fuel efficiency of 25.3 mpg, while the clunkers traded in had an average of 15.8 mpg. That's a 60 percent improvement in fuel economy, and probably much more, considering that these older cars probably no longer get their EPA mileage.