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(StatePoint) -- While make and model are still dominant factors on car lots, today's consumers have a new set of priorities, thanks to increasingly sophisticated in-vehicle technologies being offered in new cars.
From connectivity systems that include voice command controls to technologies that make parking a cinch, today's consumers want more from their rides.
In fact, nearly half of consumers -- 48 percent -- prioritize in-vehicle technology over brand or body style, according to the 2017 Autotrader Car Tech Impact Study. And they know what they want, too. The study found that consumers these days are researching the exact features they'd like to purchase before visiting the dealership.
"What once seemed like something only for 'The Jetsons' is quickly becoming everyday reality in the automotive landscape," says Brian Moody, executive editor for Autotrader. "And it's not just vehicles with a high price-point. Many mainstream family cars are now equipped with technology features only seen on top-of-the-line luxury vehicles just a few short years ago."
Experts say that while consumers should embrace the convenience and enhanced safety offered by new-car technology, they also need to educate themselves so they fully understand what these features can -- and just as importantly, what they cannot --do.
"Understanding your car can help you become a better, safer driver," says Moody.
However, the future may also involve less driving. Self-driving technologies are become more sophisticated, affordable and normalized.
To that end, a growing number of consumers say they are willing to take a hands-off approach to their cars in the future.
Indeed, 49 percent of respondents indicated they'd give up control of their car in exchange for some free time, up from 35 percent in 2016.
To learn more about today's must-have technology, visit autotrader.com/MustHaveTech.