AAA highlights top technological upgrades

AAA has announced its biennial picks for the best new technologies in the auto industry, highlighting some of the improvements that manufacturers have made over the past two years.

"Every model year, automakers find new ways to employ technology in their vehicles to enhance the driving experience," said John Nielsen, AAA National Director of Auto Repair and Buying Services. "While many of the innovations continue to focus on safety and performance, we're also seeing more new technologies that address the environmental impact of the vehicles we drive, which is evident in this year's list."

Some of the top models that the company highlighted on the environmental front included all-electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and plug-in hybrids like the Chevrolet Volt. Other companies making strides in envrionmental technology included Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz' clean diesel engines and Mazda's start-stop technology.

In terms of safety, the group praised the inflatable rear seatbelts soon to debut on Ford and Mercedes vehicles. It also liked the new "curve control" on the Ford Explorer, which can sense when the SUV is about to rollover and limit the damage.

Although new technology can make driving safer and more enjoyable, it can carry a hefty price tag. Budget-conscious drivers may want to wait till the new features hit the used car market, then snag them for a discount at New Jersey State Auto Auction.