As a car enthusiast, and someone who has tested a plethora of vehicles, I can confidently say that the evolution of car dashboards has been nothing short of revolutionary. The transition from analog to digital dashboards has not only enhanced the driving experience but also added a touch of sophistication to the car interiors.
Let’s get into some of the most affordable cars that boast these digital marvels.
1. Hyundai Sonata
The Hyundai Sonata, with its legacy dating back to 1985, has always been a favorite among mid-size car enthusiasts. Its blend of comfort, efficiency, and tech features makes it a compelling choice for many.
The Hyundai Sonata, now in its eighth generation, has been a consistent performer in the mid-size car segment. Known for its gentle ride, spacious interiors, and efficient fuel consumption, the Sonata has won the hearts of millions globally.
One of its standout features in recent models is the 12.3-inch digital dashboard available in the SEL plus trims or higher. This digital cluster not only displays the speedometer and tachometer but also provides a comprehensive view of fuel levels, trip details, and more.
With a starting price of $26,365, the Sonata offers a digital experience without breaking the bank.
2. Honda Civic
The Honda Civic, a name synonymous with reliability and efficiency, has been a staple in the compact car segment since 1972. Its legacy is backed by impressive sales figures and a reputation for longevity.
The Civic, now in its 11th generation, continues to impress with its fuel efficiency, smooth ride, and a host of standard features. The digital dashboard, available in the Civic Touring and Sport Touring trims, spans 10.2 inches and offers a clear readout of essential metrics like speed, fuel levels, and more.
Priced at about $26,145 for the base trim, the Civic remains an affordable choice for those seeking a digital dashboard experience.
3. Mazda 3
The Mazda 3, a compact car that has been turning heads since 2003, is known for its sleek design, top-tier interiors, and performance that punches above its weight. In its fourth generation, the Mazda 3 continues to be a favorite among compact-car enthusiasts.
Its infotainment system boasts an 8.8-inch display, standard eight-speaker stereo, and a digital dashboard that displays crucial metrics like speed, fuel levels, and engine temperature. With a price range spanning from $23,615 to $35,065 across various trims, the Mazda 3 offers a digital dashboard experience that’s easy on the wallet.
4. Toyota Corolla
The Toyota Corolla, a name that resonates with reliability and durability, has been a cornerstone in the compact car market since 1966. Its consistent performance and adaptability to changing times have made it a global bestseller.
The Corolla, with its legacy spanning over five decades, has always been at the forefront of innovation. Its recent models come equipped with an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and the option of a 7-inch or 12-inch digital dashboard in higher trims.
This digital dashboard offers insights into turbo pressure, gear position, drive mode, and more. With a price range between $21,520 and $29,805, the Corolla ensures that cutting-edge technology is accessible to all.
5. Jeep Grand Cherokee
The Jeep Grand Cherokee, an embodiment of ruggedness and luxury, has been a dominant player in the mid-size SUV segment since 1992. Its off-roading capabilities combined with a plush interior make it a unique proposition.
The Grand Cherokee, in its fifth generation, has seamlessly integrated technology with performance. Its digital dashboard offers a plethora of information, from speed and tire pressure to oil life and outside temperature.
What’s more, it allows drivers to customize the main screen, ensuring that the most relevant information is always at the forefront. Priced starting at $42,830, the Grand Cherokee offers a digital experience that’s both sophisticated and intuitive.
6. Ford Expedition
The Ford Expedition, a name that evokes power and grandeur, has been a stalwart in the full-size SUV segment since 1997. Its spacious interiors, powerful engines, and towing capabilities have made it a favorite among large families and adventurers alike.
The Expedition doesn’t just impress with its size and power; its tech features are equally commendable. The standard infotainment system boasts a 12-inch touchscreen, multiple USB ports, and an 8-inch digital dashboard.
For those seeking an even more immersive experience, there’s an available 12.4-inch digital dashboard that displays everything from speed and fuel levels to tire pressure and engine temperature. With a starting price of $57,020, the Expedition offers a blend of luxury and technology that’s hard to resist.
7. Honda Pilot
The Honda Pilot, a mid-size crossover SUV, has been a symbol of versatility and comfort since its inception in 2002. Its spacious interiors, coupled with Honda’s reliability, make it a top choice for families and long-haul travelers.
The Pilot, known for its roomy cabin and vibrant acceleration, has not shied away from embracing modern technology. Its infotainment system is equipped with a 7.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and a standard 7.0-inch digital dashboard.
For those seeking a more expansive view, there’s a 10.2-inch digital cluster available in the “Elite” trims. This dashboard displays crucial metrics like speed, fuel levels, and engine performance.
With a starting price of about $40,495, the Honda Pilot ensures that luxury and technology go hand in hand without being exorbitantly priced.
8. Honda Passport
The Honda Passport, having made a triumphant return in 2019 after a hiatus, stands as a testament to Honda’s commitment to innovation and adaptability. This mid-size crossover SUV has quickly gained traction for its spacious interiors and robust engine performance.
The Passport, in its third generation, offers a plethora of features even in its base trims. Its infotainment system boasts multiple USB ports, a touchscreen interface, and a digital dashboard that provides insights into speed, fuel consumption, and more.
With a starting price of $42,445, the Passport offers a blend of performance and technology that’s hard to beat in its segment.
9. Hyundai Palisade
The Hyundai Palisade, a relatively new entrant in the mid-size crossover SUV segment, has quickly risen to prominence thanks to its elegant design, powerful engine, and a host of tech features. The Palisade, with its impressive rankings on various automotive lists, offers an infotainment system that’s second to none in its class.
It features a 12.3-inch touchscreen, multiple USB ports, Wi-Fi hotspots, and a full LCD 12.3-inch digital dashboard. This dashboard, with its vibrant display, showcases metrics like speed, fuel levels, and engine temperature.
Priced starting at $36,885, the Palisade offers a luxurious driving experience without the hefty price tag.
10. Hyundai Kona
The Hyundai Kona, a subcompact crossover SUV that debuted in 2017, has quickly made a name for itself in the automotive world. Its agile performance, coupled with a plethora of safety features, has made it a favorite among urban drivers and adventurers alike.
The Kona, which holds a prestigious spot on various automotive lists, is a testament to Hyundai’s commitment to innovation. Its infotainment system is equipped with wireless Android Auto/CarPlay, three USB ports, and an available 10.25-inch digital dashboard.
This dashboard provides a comprehensive view of metrics such as speed, fuel levels, and warning lights. With a starting price of $23,475 and the N-line trim with the LCD digital dashboard priced at about $29,185, the Kona offers a digital experience that’s both sophisticated and affordable.
11. Hyundai Santa Fe
The Hyundai Santa Fe, a mid-size crossover SUV, has been a consistent performer since its launch in 2002. Its blend of comfort, safety features, and affordability has made it a top choice for families worldwide.
The Santa Fe, with its impressive ratings and reviews, showcases Hyundai’s prowess in integrating technology with performance. Its infotainment system features an 8-inch touchscreen, four USB ports, and wireless Android Auto/Apple CarPlay.
For those seeking a more immersive experience, a 12.3-inch digital dashboard is available in premium packages for higher trims. This dashboard offers a clear view of metrics like speed, fuel levels, and more.
With a starting price of $29,785 and the premium package with the digital dashboard priced slightly higher, Santa Fe remains a top contender in the affordable cars with digital dashboards category.
12. Kia Sorento
The Kia Sorento, a mid-size SUV offering from Kia since 2002, has been a symbol of luxury and performance. Its plush interiors, excellent fuel economy, and balanced ride make it a favorite among SUV enthusiasts.
The Sorento, with its stellar ratings, offers an infotainment experience that’s hard to match. It features an eight-inch touchscreen, an analog gauge cluster, and a host of other tech features. For those who crave a digital experience, the Sorento also offers a fully digital dashboard, although this is exclusive to select trims.
This dashboard provides insights into speed, fuel consumption, and other essential metrics. With a base trim priced at about $31,415 and the SX trim with the digital dashboard priced slightly higher, the Sorento offers a blend of luxury and technology that’s hard to resist.
13. Subaru Outback
The Subaru Outback, a unique blend of wagon and SUV, has been a symbol of versatility and ruggedness since its debut in 1994. Its all-wheel-drive system, combined with its spacious interiors, has made it a top choice for adventurers and families alike.
The Outback, with its reputation for durability and safety, has not lagged behind in the tech department. Its infotainment system boasts an 11.6-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and a digital dashboard available in the Touring and Limited trims.
This dashboard provides a clear view of metrics such as speed, fuel levels, and engine performance. With a starting price of about $28,070, the Subaru Outback offers a digital experience that’s both functional and affordable.
14. Nissan Altima
The Nissan Altima, a mid-size sedan that has been in production since 1992, has consistently been a favorite for its comfortable ride, fuel efficiency, and sleek design.
The Altima, known for its smooth acceleration and spacious interiors, offers a tech experience that’s hard to beat in its segment. Its infotainment system features an 8-inch touchscreen, multiple USB ports, and a digital dashboard available in the SR and Platinum trims.
This dashboard displays crucial metrics like speed, fuel consumption, and more. With a starting price of $26,295, the Altima ensures that a digital dashboard experience is within reach for many.
15. Volkswagen Tiguan
The Volkswagen Tiguan, a compact crossover SUV, has been turning heads since its introduction in 2007. Its blend of German engineering, sophisticated design, and tech features make it a compelling choice in its segment.
The Tiguan, with its impressive safety ratings and performance metrics, offers an infotainment experience that’s both intuitive and immersive. It features a 6.5-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and a digital dashboard known as the “Volkswagen Digital Cockpit” available in the SE trims and above.
This dashboard provides a comprehensive view of metrics such as speed, navigation, and more. With a starting price of about $27,190, the Tiguan offers a digital experience that’s both sophisticated and accessible.
What is the advantage of a digital dashboard over a traditional one?
Digital dashboards offer clearer visibility, and customizable displays, and can integrate more information, including navigation, music, and more.
Are digital dashboards durable?
Yes, modern digital dashboards are designed to last and are built with high-quality materials to withstand daily use.
Can I upgrade my analog dashboard to a digital one?
While some aftermarket solutions allow for this, it’s essential to consult with a professional to ensure compatibility and proper installation.
Do digital dashboards consume more power?
While they might use a bit more power than traditional dashboards, the difference is negligible and doesn’t significantly impact the car’s battery life.
Are digital dashboards distracting?
Manufacturers design digital dashboards to be intuitive and easy to read, reducing distractions. However, it’s essential always to keep your focus on the road.
The rise of digital dashboards in affordable cars is a testament to the automotive industry’s commitment to blending luxury with accessibility. As technology continues to evolve, drivers can expect even more innovations that enhance the driving experience without stretching their budgets. Here’s to the future of driving – digital, dynamic, and within everyone’s reach.