Best gadgets of the motor show

21 October 2010

They're about what's in the cars themselves: the latest technology to make life easier, more fun and safer. And some of the vehicles at the Australian International Motor Show are carrying some very clever features. Here are Carsguide's picks for the top five.

Toyota solar roof panel

While other cars sit baking in the sun with their interiors hitting oven-like temperatures, the new Prius uses a solar panel on the roof to cool the car. The panel generates enough electricity to power an internal fan that cools the inside of the car while it is parked. And a remote-control button on your key fob activates the airconditioning for up to three minutes before you get back in.

Jaguar and Peugeot active bonnet

To protect pedestrians, the active bonnet system on the Peugeot RCZ automatically raising the bonnet by 55mm upon impact, helping to push the person's body into the air to avoid hard contact with engine components, where most of the damage is done.

Honda Eco Assist

While many green cars let you know whether or not you are driving in an eco-friendly manner, Honda's taken it a bit further with their Eco Assist feature. As you drive along you are rated by a series of trees on the dash as to how economical your right foot is, with more leaves indicating efficient driving. At the end of your journey you're given an average rating, and the car will even report how it's been driven since it was purchased: An eco-odometer, if you will.

Jaguar / Range Rover dual screen

The 8-in touchscreen in the Jaguar XJ and Range Rover Vogue has the clever trick of allowing the front passenger to watch TV or a DVD, while the driver at the same time gets to see only the sat nav mapping. In simple terms, the Dual-View technology is based on blockout angles - much the same as the 'animated' postcards that have been around for years.

Land Rover / Range Rover surround camera system

Some vehicles have reversing cameras, a few more have forward cameras, and a couple carry side cameras. But Range Rover is really raising the bar with a five-camera system, giving a view to every angle around the vehicle. In Park or Neutral, you get to see all those views for help with parking or slow driving up to 18km/h, but when Drive or Reverse is selected, the screen automatically switches to the relevant view.