Our smart cars can already do a lot, but that doesn’t mean we can’t augment (or even expand) their functionality and capabilities even more. In this guide, we’ve outlined some of the best smart car gadgets, add-ons, and accessories you can buy while also explaining why they’re such essential upgrades for your driving experience.
Prices and availability of products discussed were accurate at time of publication, but are subject to change.
GPS Systems and Trackers
Chances are, your smart car already has a GPS navigation system built into its interface, but if not you can easily add one using a separate device. Garmin is the unequivocal leader when it comes to separate GPS navigation devices, and it offers a wide range of different models at different price points.
If you only need the basics, you could go with something like the Garmin Drive 50LM 5 or the older (yet still quite capable) 50LMT model. Those wanting a few added bells and whistles can also spring for a slightly pricier model like the Garmin 2689LMT 6 or the DriveSmart 61 LMT-S.
Another important GPS device you should have for your smart car is a GPS tracker. These little gizmos can quickly alert you to your car’s current whereabouts, which is handy if you want to monitor teen drivers, keep tabs when you lend your car to a friend, or if you suspect your car has been stolen.
Again, your smart car likely has a built-in camera for helping you back up or parallel park, but if you don’t have a dash cam which can record and save footage you should consider investing in one. Dash cams not only add safety functionality in the form of the aforementioned parking/backing up assistance, they can also be invaluable if you end up in an accident.
Dash cams provide clear visual evidence of what exactly happened in the event of a collision or other form of accident, so you want to make sure you invest in a reliable model. Some of our top picks include the Ampulla Pluto Dash Cam, the Vantrue X1, and the HP F505G (yep, HP makes dash cams as well as computers).
Some smart cars have USB charging stations built in, but even if that’s the case with your car adding an external charger can at least give you a few additional USB ports and, in some cases, enable additional functionality as well.
For example, this inexpensive Wireless Bluetooth FM Radio Transmitter can charge your device, enable hands-free calling, and broadcast your music over FM radio waves. This BTR-5300 Bluetooth Music Receiver, meanwhile, is handy for adding a charging port, a separate AUX jack, and Bluetooth functionality to your car. If more USB charging ports are all you’re interested in, this TROND CG4E charger can quickly juice up four devices at once.
Phone mounts are a solid investment if you rely on your phone for tasks like navigation or hands-free calling, but for your smart car you’ll want to make sure your phone mount is providing as much additional functionality as possible.
If your phone supports Qi wireless charging, you can combine your phone mount and car charger into a single device by purchasing something like this CHOETECH T536S or this Automatic Clamping Wireless Air Vent Charger. Anker even makes its own wireless charging mount, though it’s a bit on the pricier side when compared to the others.
Wireless Qi charging is pretty slick, but if you just need a modestly-priced and reliable phone mount, this Mpow Grip Pro 2 fits right into your car’s existing CD tray. Chances are you’re not using the CD tray anyways, and it’s more reliable than a suction mount which can detach at inconvenient times.