Cars, the technology that shaped the 20th century, must get along with the personal electronics that are building this century. But it's a titanic struggle, and there are vehicles that make a more valiant effort to cope with the new tech reality than others.
These are those vehicles. We've chosen the 10 that advance the art of in-cabin technology. Some make the list because of their advanced capabilities, while others push the art of the interface to new levels.
undefinedBest Overall: Audi A8 (From $72,200)
Technology is the ultimate luxury for large flagship sedans like Audi's A8 and more powerful S8. Onboard WiFi is the latest, so it's part of the Audi Connect system in Audi's biggest car. Up to eight devices can hook up to the A8's password-protected WiFi network that plumbs into the Internet using a high-speed LTE connection.
So hand each of your kiddies an iPad and waft along serenely while they narcotize themselves with YouTube videos. The media interface is also impressive and includes Google Earth real-world navigation graphics and Google Voice Local Search to help you hunt out travel resources.
undefinedMost Engaging: Ford Focus Electric (From $39,200)
Ford's modified version of its Sync media interface and MyFord Mobile app for the new Focus Electric is structured for the electron hoarder. The "emotive" instrumentation sprouts butterflies when the vehicle is driven virtuously and the regenerative braking system is used efficiently, while communication between the car and smartphone updates the state of the battery charge. It also locates the car and nearby charging stations, aids in route planning, presets interior temperatures so it can warm while hooked to a power source, and generates driving efficiency profiles.
undefinedBest All Electric: Tesla Model S (From $94,000)
Tesla's advantage is that it has so little experience building cars that it didn't know what it couldn't do. So the all-electric Model S sedan features a massive 17-inch central touchscreen in its dash that allows access not only to the car's functions but a direct, full connection to the Internet. That includes video display even while the car is in motion: something never available from established manufacturers. Of course the Tesla Model S system will take media from smartphones or other media players through Bluetooth and two USB connections, but it's that screen that makes everything so usable.
undefinedBest for Mom: Infiniti JX35 (From $41,250)
Infiniti's JX35 crossover vehicle is available with "Infiniti Connection" tech that shoots information about the vehicle to most smartphones through a dedicated app. And beyond that, it syncs with Google calendar so that information (soccer games, piano lessons, Pilates classes and happy hour at Mel's) can be accessed through the vehicle's central information screen. Throw in the optional and spectacular "Around View Monitor" that uses four cameras to generate a 360-degree mosaic of what's surrounding the vehicle and running a family becomes easy. Well, easier.