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CNET users expect cars to be connected

Responses from more than 2,300 CNET users make it clear that 2011 will be the year of the connected car.

BMW has captured top consumer awareness for high tech cars.
BMW has captured top consumer awareness for high-tech cars. BMW N.A.

The connected car is the next big thing in technology on the road. The latest survey of CNET users makes that clear: when asked which car tech features interest them most when buying a new car, 71 percent chose iPod connectivity, followed closely by in-car Wi-Fi (67 percent) and trailed substantially by satellite radio (49 percent). And there was little difference of opinion between rear-seat video entertainment (33 percent) and AM radio (28 percent).

Fifty-eight percent said having an in-car Wi-Fi hot spot would influence their decision on which car to buy. Users mentioned BMW (14 percent), Mercedes (11 percent), Lexus (10 percent), Ford (8 percent), and Toyota (7 percent) as the carmakers that do high tech the best, though Ford came out on top when in-car Wi-Fi was specifically targeted.

Seventy-four percent of our users said they have no plans to upgrade their car stereo in the next 12 months, which reinforces the idea that consumers today expect cars to come with the tech they need.

Finally, 15 percent of CNET users carry an iPad or other tablet in the car, compared with just 4 percent national average (per Nielsen research).

Full details here.