As 2009 rolls to a close, we look back at the cars we've reviewed over the last year to see which one should earn our Tech Car of the Year award. From our survey of the 100 or so cars we've reviewed, we're pleased to see that the adoption of cabin tech by automakers is becoming more prevalent and ever more sophisticated, with features such as hard-drive-based navigation with traffic reporting becoming common.
Among the cars we've seen, we picked out five that show the most innovative technology. These cars use technology to enhance the cabin and driving experience, and push the automotive technology envelope. Please vote for the car you think should be the 2009 Tech Car of the Year, and discuss it in the comments. The Car Tech staff jury members will place their own votes, and we will announce the winner on January 11, just before the Detroit auto show. Voting closes on January 4, 2010.
Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system, along with an active suspension system, makes the Q5 handle like a car, maintaining grip and composure during high-speed cornering. A new navigation system, powered by a Nvidia graphics chip, extensively renders urban areas in 3D.
BMW spared no technology in its effort to make the X5 SUV worthy of an M badge. The result? The heaviest vehicle we've ever rotated through a turn. Throw in a navigation system with satellite imagery in the maps, and we've got a tech leader.
Toyota may have turned the Prius into the iconic hybrid, but Ford's Fusion Hybrid is just a better all-around car. The hybrid system gives this midsize sedan excellent mileage, while letting it run under electric power at speeds up to 47 mph. Ford's cabin tech is anchored by Sync and Sirius Travel Link, and gets pushed up a step further with the driver-configurable ecology-oriented instrument cluster.
The new Prius might have made this list of nominees, if it weren't for the all-new Lexus HS250h. This car uses Toyota's hybrid system to get excellent mileage while showing that a luxury car doesn't have to be a full-size sedan. It makes use of a number of driver aid technologies, and incorporates Lexus' newest cabin tech suite.
Lincoln's new flagship sedan was a contender last year, and makes the list this year because of significant improvements. Along with its excellent Sync, Sirius Travel Link, and THX audio features, Lincoln gave it a high-tech engine in the form of the twin turbo direct injection V-6. Add to this adaptive cruise control and an automatic parking system that actually works, and the MKS shows up as a tech heavyweight.
Voting is now closed for the 2009 Tech Car of the Year.