Off The Press

August 10, 2010

By Tim Pfarr

* This story contains corrected information.

Tim Pfarr Press reporter

‘Getaway car’ has the latest technologies

When many people think of car technology, they think of a stereo, a wireless cell phone headset, a GPS and a car alarm. However, sit those people in Car Toys’ “getaway car,” and they will quickly see an entire world of auto technology they have been missing.

The car — a 2010 Honda CR-V donated by Bob Bridge Toyota* — may look ordinary on the outside, but inside it’s equipped with almost $4,000 worth of the latest gadgets that keep the driver, the car and others on the road safe.

“We’re wanting to promote driver safety,” said Kyle Brehm, Car Toys wholesale and commercial district manager, who visited the Issaquah store with the car July 30.

“There are a lot of distractions out there on the road, and there are tools on any budget to help you be a safer driver,” he said.

Among the handy gadgets inside are a $40 Samsung WEP470 Bluetooth headset, a $90 Blue Ant S4 Bluetooth speakerphone that clips to a visor and a $300 Parrot MKI9200 Bluetooth system that links with the car’s audio system and mutes music when a call is received.

Of course, the Bluetooth mac daddy is the $1,800 Kenwood DNX9960 that has all the previously listed features plus a stereo, GPS and DVD player, although the latter only works when the car is stopped.

The car also contains a $350 Kenwood CMOS-300 backup camera system, a $250 Audiovox LCDM42 rearview mirror that includes a built-in monitor for backup cameras, a $90 Audiovox PSD100 sensor that detects when things are near the car’s bumpers, and a yet-to-hit-the-market Mobileye N270 sensor that detects safe driving distances and alerts you if you begin swerving.

Did I mention the $400 Blackline/Escort GPS tracker that monitors the car’s location at all times — not just after it’s reported stolen like other systems — and can send alerts when the car leaves designated areas or reaches set speeds?

Or what about the Directed DSM100 remote-start system that allows you to start the car from as far as a quarter-mile away with a key ring remote or an iPhone? This system, which starts at $300, allows you to heat or cool the car before getting inside.

But don’t even think about breaking into this car. It’s armed with a Directed MATRIXR57 security system, which starts at $650 and does more than intimidate prowlers with its name.

It has all the standard features of a car alarm, plus impact sensors and a feature that sends an alert to a key ring remote when the alarm sounds. The alarm also kills the engine, making it unable to be hotwired.

Most of these items can be installed in any car, and any of them — alone or added together — will keep you and those around you safer. The more you spend, the more “hands-free” your car will be, Brehm said.

Just be sure these devices don’t distract you while driving, as they are intended to prevent such distraction.

“See them as a tool and not a toy,” he said.

The car will travel through the Pacific Northwest through the end of the month, and then most of the devices will be removed, so the car can be given back to Renton Honda.

Tim Pfarr: 392-6434, ext. 239, or newcas@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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