In this economy, when I suggest a Ã¯Â¿Â½high tech carÃ¯Â¿Â½ you probably think of something that
costs as much as a foreclosed house.
But you can actually roll CNET style for a monthly
nut low enough to swing even after youÃ¯Â¿Â½re laid off.
IÃ¯Â¿Â½m B.C. with Top 5 high tech cars that
cost under 20 grand as reviewed and ranked by CNET so far in 2011.
LetÃ¯Â¿Â½s hit the road.
#5 is the Hyundai Accent SE.
We love us some HyundaiÃ¯Â¿Â½s and KiaÃ¯Â¿Â½s these days, so why
the bottom of the list?
Because you canÃ¯Â¿Â½t even option a navigation head unit on any
Accent at any price.
ThatÃ¯Â¿Â½s a throwback to a few years ago when car companies thought
of their small cars as utilitarian transport that offered less.
The term premium
subcompact is all the rage these day, but Hyundai missed that memo on this otherwise
fairly nice car.
#4 is the lovable Fiat 500C, the most stylish car on our list though also unnervingly close
to Fred Flintstones car in some aspects.
Navigation consists of a tack on Tom Tom unit,
and the carÃ¯Â¿Â½s powertrain is, shall we say, modest, but it does offer a cousin of Ford Sync
called Blue & Me and a very trick power ragtop opens upto la dolce vita for under 20
#3 is the Chevy Cruze ECO.
It scored high in CNETÃ¯Â¿Â½s reviews because its little 1.4 liter
turbo four delivers 28/42 MPG while being refined on the road.
You canÃ¯Â¿Â½t get factory nav
on the Cruze, but car it does have OnStar and supports the new OnStar mobile app,
which lets you control various aspects of the car remotely form your phone, While its
sitting still, of course.
#2 is the newcomer in the bunch: The little Scion iQ.
Very small, but not stupidly so like a
Instead, Scion has a smart strategy of offering an array of high tech head
units at good prices, and the iQ has Pandora integrated right out of the box.
Its little 1.3L
engine is best in cities, confidence-killing on the highway and sounds like its grinding
coffee in both situations, but overall this is a an affordable car with interesting tech
options and a style that stands out.
Just donÃ¯Â¿Â½t trip on it.
Before we get to our #1 cheap tech car, check out this survey: Accoridng to Arbitron and
Edison Resarch, the tech we *use* the most in the car is AM/FM Radio...CD player...and
But when you ask people what they *love* to use in their car, its Satellite
Radio, iPod and GPS.
And the mainstreaming of all those technologies and more into
inexpensive cars is a trend weÃ¯Â¿Â½re happy to say is moving fast.
#1 tech car when youÃ¯Â¿Â½re on a budget is pretty easy: The Ford Fiesta.
Two thing stand
out: FordÃ¯Â¿Â½s excellent SYNC system, which I almost think is better on a simple display like
this, does a great job of recognizing contact names and music titles when you call them
out by voice, and Fiesta offers a dual clutch manual gearbox -- nobody else does that at
On the other hand the navigation is an OnStar like system which we found
was hit and miss and only works when you have a cell connection.
Still, if itÃ¯Â¿Â½s our 20
grand, weÃ¯Â¿Â½re gonna buy a Fiesta.
BTW, everyone always asks what I drive.
Sorry to disappoint, but my Ã¯Â¿Â½88 Country Squire
doesnÃ¯Â¿Â½t even have airbags.
And I want you to be safe.
For more Top 5Ã¯Â¿Â½s like this one, head on over top top5.cnet.com.
I am Brian Cooley,
thanks for watching.