An orange 2018 Chevy Equinox is shown driving on a road after visiting multiple used car dealers.

The Future of Used Car Technology

As new cars become more advanced and innovative, so do used cars after a couple of years. Think about it, a fully loaded 2018 or 2019 model year vehicle has technology that is still relevant and useful today. This makes used cars even more desirable because you can get incredible features at an affordable price. Used car dealers all over the country are seeing more and more technology included in the used car inventory, so let’s dive into the future of used car technology. Here are some key technologies you’ll start to see more prevalent in the used car market.

The black and grey interior of a 2018 Chevy Bolt EV is shown.

Safety & Driver Assist Suites

Some of the more exciting features that are rapidly expanding into the used car market are safety and driver assist suites. These features give a lot of convenience but even more peace of mind for drivers of all ages and abilities. Each car brand has its own spin on it, but generally, it’s some combination of features like automatic braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, auto high beams, front pedestrian braking, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot warning, and more. Of course, different trim levels will include more or less, but more new models are releasing with a standard suite of safety features now. This means that we’ll start to see more used cars with advanced safety features included.

Typically the higher trim levels have the driver assist features available. These might include a 360-degree surround vision, adaptive cruise control, and front and rear park assist, among other high-end features. Driver assist features differ from safety features in that they provide more convenience and an extra layer of safety. Even just a few years ago, you would only see safety and driver assist features in luxury vehicles. Now, as each model year releases, more trim levels have more safety and driver assist features, either standard or available.

In 2016 and 2017, we started to see vehicles in North America offer these advanced safety features. Mainly it was luxury vehicles, and most were optional at that point. In 2018 and 2019, the list grows of car brands and models with available advanced safety technology. Popular car brands like Toyota, Nissan, Lexus, and Ford began offering their suite of safety features as standard in several models as well. As these model years enter used car inventories now, it’s possible to purchase a used car with these features included.

Let’s also look into the future of used cars. It’s actually really easy to see what the used market is going to look like a couple of years from now because it is going to be saturated with the new and exciting cars that are just being released. The safety packages available as standard in new models today will bring more demand to newer used vehicles in the coming years. For example, Nissan made their Safety Shield 360 standard on 10 models beginning in 2021. Chevy also offers its Safety Assist package as standard in four 2021 and 2022 models, and it is available as optional in many other Chevy models. These are just a couple of examples of the safety and driver assist technology we’ll see in used cars in the future.

Advanced Infotainment Systems

As the years go on, the center infotainment touchscreens keep increasing in size. Some new vehicles have as large as a 13-inch portrait touchscreen now. It’s more common to see a 7 or 8-inch touchscreen as standard, though. With the NHTSA requiring all vehicles to include a backup camera in 2018, touchscreens with infotainment systems are becoming the norm in used car inventories.

The development of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto makes it easier to connect and access your smartphone’s app in the car. Apple CarPlay technology debuted in vehicles in 2016 and 2017 and continues to increase in popularity. In the last couple of model years, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity have been made standard in many popular models across all major car brands. You’ll likely encounter this connectivity in your used car search now, but over the next couple of years, as 2019-2021 vehicles enter the used car market, it will be much more common.

Every major car brand continues to update and improve its infotainment systems to include more features like voice commands, navigation, phone connectivity, apps, and, of course, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The future of used cars is that technology entertainment like this will be the norm.

A particular improvement in the touchscreens and infotainment systems in newer models is the extra views they provide. We mentioned the 360-degree view available as a driver assist feature, but there are also specialized cameras for certain circumstances. Pickup trucks with towing packages offer more camera views for the trailer while towing, and the Honda Odyssey minivan offers an interior camera view of the rear seats. While this technology is relatively new, the used car market will soon see these vehicles.

A man is shown opening the tailgate of a red 2020 Chevy Blazer.

Convenience Features

The days are gone where you would have to sacrifice convenience to purchase a used car. Used vehicles come packed with premium convenience features these days, both as standard and optional, so you can still have that luxurious experience without a new car price tag. Convenience features like heated seats or a power liftgate that you saw advertised in brand new cars several years ago are now making their appearance as used cars for average budgets.

Heated seats have been around for a long time, but mainly in luxury car brands or top-of-the-line trim levels in the beginning. If you were lucky, you could snag a used car with this feature in the front seats. Now, some popular models like the Honda Pilot, Chevy Tahoe, Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander, and more offer front ventilated seats and second-row heated seats in addition to the favorite front heated seats. The point is, with this type of feature expanding, it will be easier to find a used car with heated seats in the future because more models and trim levels offer varying levels of this convenience feature.

The same applies to other high-demand convenience features like a hands-free power liftgate, automatic climate control, wireless charging, and keyless entry. Some of these features might be hard to come by in certain used car inventories now, but as new models either make them standard or available to more trim levels, they will satisfy the premium cravings that used car drivers have.

For example, a used 2018 Chevy Equinox offers some of the top technology and convenience features that you can find in brand new vehicles. Features like heated seats, hands-free liftgate, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, keyless entry, automatic climate control, plus other infotainment and safety technologies can easily be found. There are countless other used cars, SUVs, pickup trucks, and vans with similar offerings. The convenience features are only going to improve and become more widely available as technology develops.

The Future Is Bright

This is the future of used car technology. It’s safe to raise your expectations without raising your budget when looking for used cars. You can still find top, premium technology in a used vehicle that’s 3-5 years old or even older. A two-year-old used car can feel brand new with its technology options. Bottom line, if you’re considering a used car purchase in the next several years, you are certainly in for a treat with the level of options available to you.