Technology you need for your car

Olly Mann

Olly Mann hits the road—with the best gadgets and apps to improve your in-car experience

Smooth connection

If you’re an iPhone user, and you’re about to buy or rent a new motor, may I heartily recommend you choose one with Apple CarPlay on-board. It may seem an unnecessary upgrade—it’s essentially just a fancy-pants Bluetooth connection, after all —but, trust me, it feels like magic! Each time you enter your vehicle, you can continue listening to music, podcasts or audiobooks where you left off, take calls through your radio, and beam a decent navigation app to the dashboard, in place of the shonky GPS included by most carmakers. It does require activating Siri, however; a setting which, due to privacy concerns, you may prefer to keep switched off.

 

Jump for joy

Traditional jump-leads are fine, until you find yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere with nobody to assist you, or your car breaks down on your front drive and there’s no space to manoeuvre another vehicle remotely close to it. The iClever 800A Car Jump Starter (£89.99) is essentially a giant battery that connects up to your car without needing to source its power from elsewhere. It’s robust, weatherproof and well-built, with an attractive carry case and an integrated LED flashlight for those cold dark nights.

 

Fuel without the fuss

Ah, convenience. Why hunt around for a petrol station when you can simply pull off at the nearest services, and get your gas from the same place you have a wee and a cappuccino? Because it’s overpriced, that’s why! Instead, download the free AA app.

The homescreen of this recently overhauled app is just a tap away from a live map of nearby petrol stations, so you can quickly compare prices based on your precise location. It can also direct you to garages, car parks or electric charging points and—if you’re a member—you can report a breakdown in just two minutes. Now, that’s convenience.

 

Juice on the move

Even if your car boasts USB ports, it most likely includes only one or two, and bog-standard speeds of battery-boosting. The committed in-car gadgeteer, therefore, should invest in a Tizi Turbolader 5x Mega (£49.99), which plugs into your cigarette lighter and can charge up to five (FIVE!) devices simultaneously, at more than double the speed of a conventional USB. But, almost as importantly, it looks stunning—with curved edges, a chrome outline and a smooth red finish. It’s cool enough to complement the interior of even the sexiest sportscar. Until you stick five cables into it, I guess, but you can’t have everything.