According to new reports from Ford, the domestic auto company is looking to do Knight Rider one better: beta testing is underway for a new feature of Ford’s proprietary SYNC service that will help drivers connect with a “live operator.” Instead of Kitt’s robotic voice, Ford drivers get a real human voice coming out of the dash to help find phone numbers and other information. Part of Ford’s development of this additional service is based on evaluation of what vehicle owners most commonly use SYNC for: a press release Monday from Dearborn indicates that 70% of SYNC searches are for addresses or directions for businesses. Adding the live operator service helps to streamline this search, as anyone who has used conventional automated lines can tell you. But is this kind of new feature going to be worth it for drivers? A lot of that depends on whether you’re the type who likes a big on-board computer, or someone who prints out your directions before you leave the house.
As today’s vehicles get more and more high-tech, Ford is obviously trying to bulk up the appeal of its cloud-based system. From navigation to new options for music and entertainment, buying cars in the twenty-first century means looking carefully at advanced features packages that can make a big difference in your final purchase. The key is to make sure that all of this gee-whiz gadgetry doesn’t pump up your sale price beyond what you can comfortably pay.
One way to limit auto loan debt with these kinds of vehicles is to consider buying a base model or a more modest car, whether you’re buying new or pre-owned. Look at how doing without a few features that might not add a lot to the experience can bring down the actual transaction price, especially if you are financing your new or used car. Remember that extra interest will add to your overall auto loan debt, and make sure to do the numbers on those monthly payments that you sign on for at the dealership. Lots of us want some new technology in our cars and trucks, but not at the expense of a good deal, where dealers can be anxious to sell additional bells and whistles. Good vehicle research can help you figure out which on-board devices are “mission-critical” and which are just window dressing.