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Fancy That

Exercise your options with the latest high-tech features.

New business vehicles are so well-equipped, is there anything left to add? You bet. Options can transform a so-so vehicle into a rolling high-tech machine to make your road warrior life easier.

The biggest buzz surrounds the parallel parking guidance system found on upscale cars such as the Lexus LS460. Automatically backing up and sliding the sedan into a space, the system judges distances back, front and sideways. Other automakers offer parking assistance options with backup cameras and GPS rearview video to help drivers avoid obstacles.

GM's 2008 Cadillac CTS, on sale this fall, adds a USB port and auxiliary audio jacks to its console for integrated iPod capability, as well as DVD-based navigation with a telescoping 8-inch touchscreen that is hidden until activated.

OnStar's newest generation of systems supplies turn-by-turn onscreen navigation with voice-guided directions. Conversely, the Hummer's backup viewing screen pops up from the rearview mirror. Mercedes-Benz offers a lighting package with curve-illuminating headlights.

Living on the road is easier with the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu's optional household-style 110-volt outlet, and working is more comfortable in Lexus' new long-wheelbase sedan when it's equipped with a retractable table, cool box, ottoman for the reclining rear seat and multifunction massage.

Many options are bundled into packages. Among the Lexus packages is the Ultra-Luxury, which includes a panorama glass roof, power rear sunshade, leather interiors, navigation and a backup camera, rear seat air bags and driver's seat power cushion extenders.

Options in various Toyota models include the Plasmacluster, which reduces odors, germs and bacteria; special sensitive-skin seat fabric; and the Inclinometer, which shows how many degrees your vehicle is tilted.

Jill Amadio is an award-winning automotive journalist and author.

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This article was originally published in the June 2007 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Fancy That.

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