undefinedBest Road Tripper: Honda Odyssey (From $28,675)
Of all the minivans, only the Odyssey features an HDMI port in its available onboard video system. That means a Blu-Ray player or other video-streaming device can be brought aboard and played over the Odyssey's overhead 16.2-inch display. And there's a 115-volt two-prong plug at the third-row seat to actually power such devices, too. One other neat trick: The viewing screen can be split to display video from both the van's DVD player and the outside source. That's almost too much entertainment.
undefinedBest Family Sedan: Toyota Avalon (From $30,990)
The new 2013 Avalon sedan is available with the full-featured version of Toyota's Entune suite of onboard applications that display data retrieved by smartphones on a large screen in the car's dash: from apps that include those for Movietickets.com, Bing, Open Table and Pandora. Yes, all the usual technology connections are also available, but one of the best things the Avalon has going for it is the "eBin" that's forward of the shifter on the center console. It's a nook for a smartphone that includes a grippy rubberized surface. That's something simple that keeps the cupholders open for, like, cups.
undefinedBest Luxury Sedan: Lexus LS 460 (From $71,990)
The LS 460 is Lexus' biggest sedan and it carries the biggest LCD screen, too: a 12.3-inch expanse that can simultaneously display both navigation and entertainment system statuses. Real estate counts and this is a big lot. Among the information that can be displayed on that big screen are elements of the standard "Enform App Suite" that include iHeartRadio, Yelp and Facebook. All those apps pump in their information through a smartphone, and then the LS 460's elegant joystick-style controller makes it easy to use all those apps without distracting the driver excessively.
undefinedBest Value: Scion TC (From $19,480)
As in every Scion, the TC's onboard entertainment system fills a dual-DIN hole in the dashboard. And while the standard Pioneer-branded head unit may not be cutting-edge, it does the simple things well: Bluetooth audio, HD Radio and iPod integration through USB. Plus, since you can rename the unit for Bluetooth reasons, there won't be confusion should there be multiple Toyotas or Scions in the family. But it's that standard dual-DIN rack that can be filled with all sorts of equipment without gouging the dashboard or disentangling a complex factory head unit that makes it best for roll-your-own tech fiends.
undefinedBest Workhorse: Ford Super Duty (From $29,875)
Ford's Super Duty pickups are built to work, and that means they must accept the electronics of a mobile office. There are dozens of different cab configurations in this truck line, but most include center consoles large enough for laptops or hanging files. And any device can be plugged in using a conventional 110-volt/150-watt two-prong plug inside the center console or two 12-volt power-points. On trucks equipped with the Ford Sync media system, there's another two-prong plug on the dash. Also available is a configurable LCD Productivity Screen on the dash that monitors fuel economy, towing performance and drivetrain operation.
undefinedMost Controversial: Cadillac ATS (From $33,095)
Cadillac's new ATS small sedan has virtues beyond its polarizing Cadillac User Experience (CUE) media interface that strives to work like an iPad... and it needs them. CUE is built around a LCD touchscreen in the center of the dashboard that links to a smartphone through Bluetooth. Proximity detection sensors in the CUE system let less frequently used commands fade on screen in the context of how the system is being used at any one time. If you like the iPad, CUE can seem intuitive. Others have found CUE frustrating. But not-for-everybody can mean perfect-for-you.
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