At the end of 2016, I had a 2017 Toyota Corolla loaner car while my own 2011 Toyota Camry was being repaired (a damaged wheel speed sensor from getting stuck in deep snow, which rendered ABS and traction control inoperable).
The 2017 Corolla had a lot more gadgets than my own car. Most significantly, it was equipped with adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, Bluetooth calling and text-to-speech messaging, and voice control.
I didn’t do much highway driving, but I could see that the adaptive cruise control would be useful. In city traffic, or even on Seattle’s congested freeways, it wasn’t that useful: Many times, a car merged in ahead of me, because the distance was relatively large, and then the cruise control slowed down. But at longer distances, in the country, I think it would work well.
Lane departure warning was also interesting. IT could beep at the driver or even steer a little to stay within the lane. In city traffic, again, though, I often found it a little over-reactive. And often it didn’t pick up the lanes in the city, because they were faded, or the curb was a little far away, or there was a raised median. But again, I think on freeways it would probably be useful.
I did like the Bluetooth integration. The car had all my contacts on my phone, the call history, and I could even dial by voice. It also asked me if I wanted text messages read out aloud. One of the possible ring tones included saying the caller name, if it was in the contacts list. Very useful.
Voice control, on the other hand, aside from making calls, seemed pretty useless, though. And the voice recognition was far worse than that of Alexa in Amazon Echo devices.
The Corolla was also much louder, the engine jerkier, and the controls less intuitive than those of my 2011 Camry. I will never understand, for example, why people choose up/down controls for temperature or fan speed, with a numeric display. Knobs you can turn are so much faster and simpler to use while driving, without looking. And that’s important in a car.
All in all, I’m very glad that I have my old car back now.