John BrandonTechHive

John Brandon is a technology writer and car enthusiast. After leaving the corporate world in 2001, he embarked on a solo writing career and never looked back (except for that one time). He's tested thousands of products and reported on everything from 50 Cent starting a headphone company to BMW building a data center in Iceland. He lives outside of Minneapolis.

2014 mercedes benz s63 amg 3qtr

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG: An expensive taste of nearly autonomous driving

We borrowed a $163,000 car to try out the tech. Right. Well, it does have amazingly proactive cruise control.

2015 nissan versa note asphalt

Say yes to texting while driving with Nissan's voice-activated system

With Nissan's Hands-Free Text Messaging Assistant, you can manage messages and send canned responses. We test it in the 2015 Nissan Versa Note SR.

2015 chevrolet sonic rs gps app

For cheap car nav, go here: BringGo GPS app guides the 2014 Chevy Sonic

Your phone is the app hub for many low-cost cars. In the 2014 Chevy Sonic, the BringGo app offers basic navigation, though with some notable limitations.

2015 honda fit display 1

Side minder: Erasing blind spots with the 2015 Honda Fit's LaneWatch

A camera mounted under the right-side mirror lets you watch for cars coming up behind from the central display.

2015 cadillac escalade bear intruder 1

Move and I'll scream: Motion alarms freak out intruders in 2015 Cadillac Escalade

In which we sacrifice one three-foot stuffed animal to show why no one should try to mess with this car.

2014 cadillac elr 2

You can have your Caddy and charge it, too: Cruising with the 2014 ELR hybrid

It's a hybrid whose battery can be recharged with gas. And it's a Cadillac.

2014 toyota 4runner entune app and display

Toyota Entune and VW Car-Net do things Android Auto and Apple CarPlay can't touch

Automakers' own apps do things that Apple and Google can't, such as locking and unlocking the car. But are they worth the upcharge? We try two: Toyota's Entune, and Volkswagen's Car-Net.

2014 kia k900 laurence fishburne closeup

Eyes on the road: The head-up display, as experienced in the 2015 Kia K900

The Super Bowl commercial for this car featured Laurence Fishburne using his mirrored sunglasses as no one else can. The head-up display reality isn't nearly as dramatic, but the ability to see basic driving data on your windshield is still useful.

infiniti connection 2014 infiniti q50s wolf

How Infiniti Connection in a 2014 Q50S helped me find a timber wolf in the Black Hills

When your car's connected, the first step with any road trip is not to fill up with gas. It’s to sit down at a computer and fire up your browser. Infiniti Connection service lets you create a detailed itinerary and upload it to your car.

2015 chrysler c200

Lane-keeping made woozy: How the Chrysler 200C's LaneSense veers off course

If you're going to buy the Chrysler 200C, don't buy it for the lane-keeping technology, which isn't precise enough to instill any confidence.

2014 dodge dart

Call me easy: Dodge Dart GT uses huge touchscreen to handle phone tasks

A simple Bluetooth connection and a big, easy 8.4-inch touchscreen show how safer phone features are working their way into more affordable cars like the Dart GT.

2014 acura rlx

Gimme a brake: The 2014 Acura RLX Advance handles stop-and-go traffic with ease

Traffic jam? No problem: The RLX Advance has adaptive cruise control and low-speed follow to handle basic stop-and-go traffic with ease.

2014 chrysler 300 srt gas station may 2014

It's a gas: Chrysler's 300 SRT uses Sirius Travel Link to help plan your pit stops

Go ahead, gun the engine. The Sirius Travel Link app shows you data on nearby gas stations so you can make informed decisions about where to gas up. And the service is surprisingly cheap itself.

2014 fordfusion energi myford mobile app 1

This is your car on an iPhone: An app-driven road trip in the 2014 Ford Fusion Energi SE

It's not quite Candy Crush Saga, but the MyFord Mobile app that comes with this plug-in hybrid car helps you manage your charge, lock and unlock doors, and compete with other do-gooders for the greenest driving habits.

2014 audi s4 remote rings

2014 Audi S4 automates a suburban headache: Setting the garage-door opener

Car tech can get pretty fancy, but really, it's the little things, like programming the garage-door opener, that really make our lives easier. On the 2014 Audi S4, on-screen prompts make this seemingly basic task easier than you could imagine.