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A car that tells us where we want to go, plays the music we love, and lets us communicate with the outside world, all without distracting us from driving is every driver’s dream. That dream may soon become a reality, as many automakers are hoping to deliver truly connected cars next year.

Last week, I combed the floor of the Los Angeles Auto Show with Ron Montoya, Consumer Advice Editor at Edmunds.com, sliding in and out of dozens of vehicles, smearing touchscreens with our fingerprints, and, in some cases, syncing our own phones to the next generation of connected vehicles to decide which of these systems we’d recommend to our readers.

The connected cars of tomorrow

For a certain breed of car customers, these tech-drives will become as important as test-drives. “You certainly want to get a feel for the car itself, but it’s just as important to test the technology,” says Montoya.

For 2015 autos, this technology will either be a customized “infotainment” system or basically a killer app: syncing the car with a drivers’ in-phone system, a la the recently announced Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. Some smart cars will eventually offer both options.

Read the full story here.