It takes more than smarts to be named Connected World magazine’s 2015 Connected Car of the Year. It takes sophistication and the promise of delivering something that consumers want in order to capture this year’s designation. The vehicles that made the grade this year are offering the right balance of safety, convenience, and infotainment.

Many traditional automotive awards single out one specific vehicle. However, at Connected World we like to examine a host of different vehicles, based on specific price points, with the idea that the connected car shouldn’t be limited to just the affluent buyer. Today, car buyers are looking for all the best in safety, convenience, and infotainment and are doing so at all price ranges. The Connected Car of the Year automobiles were evaluated at all price levels, ranging from the small and midsize, to the luxury and ultra-luxury sedan-style categories and we also included an EV (electric vehicle) in the green category, since they have gained so much popularity, alongside a connected truck category. SUVs were not evaluated as a separate category.

This year, Connected World surveyed more than 1,100 consumers, asking them to vote for their favorite connected-car system. The 2015 winner of the People’s Choice for connected-car system is Ford SYNC, with 21% of the vote.

The winners for the 2015 Connected Car of the Year are as follows:

PhotosWinning Vehicles (click here to learn more)

For a lot less than some high-end luxury vehicles, drivers can buy themselves a high-tech experience with Ford Fusion. Ford Fusion comes equipped with the SYNC with MyFord voice-activated communications and entertainment system. The in-car connectivity system keeps drivers in touch with the outside world without forcing them to look at or manipulate a cellphone. After pairing a Bluetooth-enabled phone to the vehicle, drivers can make calls, answer calls, send and receive text messages, and control their music using verbal commands.

Infiniti describes its vehicles as providing “forward emotion.” Infiniti’s InTouch system for built-in connectivity includes features that keep drivers safe, informed, and entertained. Infiniti InTouch Apps can be personalized so the driver’s preferred applications appear on the vehicle’s touchscreen. Infiniti Connection, a connected-car solution that combines security, service, and infotainment into one package, offers innovative services such as the ability to remotely lock and unlock the Q50 using a smartphone.

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Sedans come packed with high-tech safety features and connectivity options to ensure each driver has the experience he or she wants. With Mercedes’ second generation of mbrace, the company’s in-vehicle connectivity system powered by Verizon, mbrace package subscribers can experience an even greater connection with their E-Class vehicles.

In the ultra-luxury category, the 2015 Audi A8 has what it takes to be called a Connected Car of the Year. Audi connect is the automaker’s onboard solution for infotainment, traffic, weather, Google Maps, Google Earth satellite imagery, Google Voice local search, and social media integration using a 7-inch color MMI (Multi Media Interface) screen. The available Audi MMI Navigation plus with MMI touch acts as the vehicle’s “nerve center.”

From the battery architecture to the electric powertrain, the Tesla Model S deserves many accolades. In fact, Tesla’s influence in the space extends beyond the level of the car itself; the company’s CEO, Elon Musk, seems to be out to create an entire EV (electric-vehicle) infrastructure that will put society on the path toward more widespread adoption of zero-emissions vehicles.

A pickup truck may be the working man’s workhorse, but that doesn’t mean it can’t also be connected. The 2015 Ford F-150 is tough, sturdy, and dependable, but that’s not what makes it a Connected Car of the Year. From enabling Bluetooth connectivity for those on-the-go business calls, to using sensors to make operating the vehicle safer, Ford F-150 offers enough cutting-edge technology solutions to stand out from the pack.

To view the press release click here.

To read full article, order the Feb/Mar 2015 print edition here or download the Connected World app in the Apple App Store or Google Play by searching for Connected World.

Previous Winners: 2014