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As the nation’s leading collision repair company, it’s our job to stay up-to-speed on all things automotive. But, even for us, keeping up can be no easy task. If this past year has proven one thing about the auto industry, it’s that technology is geared up and going places. So, after you’re done prepping your ride for winter, join us as we cover some of this year’s best and brightest developments in the automotive industry.

QX50 Variable Compression Turbo Engine by Infiniti
Compression ratio—how hard the pistons squeeze the mix of air and fuel in your cylinders—is one of an engine’s defining characteristics. Gearheads like us have dreamed of tweaking compression since internal combustion first roared onto the scene in 1794, and Infiniti’s engineers have finally nailed it. Their method: adjusting the reach of the pistons within the cylinders via linkages on the connecting rods and crankshafts. In short, when the car’s computer calls for performance, the pistons travel farther up the cylinders and create higher compression, resulting in compression ratios that can nearly double when you need extra power. Fired up yet? We are.

E-Tron Virtual Mirrors by Audi
Audi’s new rearview system replaces conventional exterior mirrors with small cameras mounted on angled columns, resulting in a lower drag coefficient that makes their SUV the smoothest on the road. Inside the cabin, vibrant OLED screens tucked into the door show crisp images of the view behind you, and touch controls allow you to aim and zoom the “mirrors” for the optimal view. The cameras even adapt to changing lighting conditions, ensuring consistency and image legibility. After a short, 15-second adjustment period, you’ll never want to go back to squinting at static rearview mirrors again.

2019 Ford Ranger
The reborn Ford Ranger — the first new U.S. model since 2011 — is an affordable, compact pickup that has us revved all the way up. But this pickup’s perks don’t end there. The new Ranger packs a fuel-efficient 4-cylinder engine similar to the one you’ll find in the new Mustang, as well as automatic emergency braking standard on all trim levels. As far as tech goes: On the XLT and Lariat trim packages, blind-spot monitoring can keep tabs on whatever you’re towing, and its lane-departure warning is a welcome addition to truck lovers everywhere. Ford has been on a roll lately, and the Ranger’s return is no exception to the trend.

Echo Auto by Amazon
Amazon’s smart speaker is finally ready to hit the road. It may look simple, bu this small rectangle and its eight microphones will pick out your voice over music and road noise when you ask for news, music, directions, what’s next on your calendar, or any of Alexa’s other 50,000 tricks. Besides Alexa's useful features, it also has plenty that are just plain fun. You can play games like "Jeopardy!" or "20 Questions," have Alexa lead you through a relaxation exercise or even work toward learning a new language. This A.I. gets an A+ in our book.

What a year it’s been for auto enthusiasts, and we didn’t even cover the half of it. We’re always so happy to see our world evolve and change, and with the holidays coming up, every new announcement feels like Christmas day. Whatever the future holds for our vehicles, you can trust that Caliber will always be right there to restore you to the rhythm of your life.

Happy holidays from your friends at Caliber!