Previously, we talked about what to consider when buying a new car. The information in that article is sensible, logical, and downright safe. But when shopping for a new car, you may want features to spoil you. They might not be essential, but they make driving more pleasurable and improve crucial aspects like safety.
Many car manufacturers understand the plight of consumers and team up with tech companies to develop tech-based features in vehicles. They include technologies like backup cameras and automated cruise control. Overall, these features don’t just improve convenience, they also boost safety and ease of handling.
Below is a list of features you can look for as you shop for a new car. You can quickly skim this article while chatting with a car sales rep. Or read it keenly later and see if you can add a few more features to your list.
Robot-Controlled Safety Features
Since Volvo invented the military-inspired three-point safety belt in the mid-20th Century, car safety has improved tremendously. Most car improvements then and in the early 21st Century were inspired by developments in the military. However, this is shifting, and modern car manufacturers derive inspiration from digital electronics and information technology.
Many modern cars have digitally-inspired safety features. Technological improvements have made these features more accessible, and you can find them even in basic car models. Look out for the following safety features in your next car:
- Automatic emergency braking
- Pedestrian detection systems.
- Blind spot assist
- Adaptive cruise control
- Lane keep assist
- Auto-dimming mirrors
- Rear cross-traffic warning
Keyless Entry and Start
Probably every driver has experienced the frustration of trying to open the car doors when your hands are full or losing your car keys. Car manufacturers developed a feature that detects when the fob is nearby without having to press any buttons or use keys. Now you won’t have to place your groceries on the ground to open the car next time you go shopping.
Some car makers have taken it a notch higher and developed a feature that enables the vehicle to unlock the door and raise the tailgate or trunk when the fob is nearby.
Car manufacturers have also developed stylish and practical ways to deal with the frustration of losing start keys. For example, some Land Rover models offer the “Activity Key”, a convenient, water-proof wristband that unlocks and starts your vehicle. Other manufacturers like BMW have developed car key apps enabling drivers to open and start the car using their smartphones.
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
Entertainment in your car can keep you alert and active, especially when driving long distances. But manufacturers have gone a notch higher and transformed it into infotainment.
Android Auto and Apple Carplay are the most popular infotainment systems in cars. They work like smartphones. However, the driver interacts with the car’s built-in screen instead of lifting their phone.
Infotainment units entertain the driver and enable safe interaction with other people. They also have integrated navigation systems that encourage drivers to put aside their phones and focus on the road.
360-Degree Surround-View Camera Systems
Most modern cars come fitted with cameras in the grille (often below the side mirrors), rear, and front. These cameras are robot-controlled and give the driver a 360-degree view of the vehicle. They boost the driver’s awareness and help them to see objects that could be around the car.
It’s an excellent safety feature, especially in areas with kids or roaming pets. It also comes in handy when backing up or parking.
Multi-Zone Automatic Climate Systems
Previously, a car seemed too small a cabin to have multiple personalized climate zones. But that perspective changed when in 1986, BMW introduced an automatic dual-zone climate control system in the E32 7-Series.
Modern cars have digitally-controlled 4-zone climate control systems that allow each passenger to set the climate to their liking. Some car owners love this feature so much they call it the marriage saver.
Wireless Charging Pad or Fast USB Charging
Wireless charging pads use induction to charge a phone or tablet without connecting it to a USB port. If your smartphone has this capability, having this feature in your car reduces the temptation to keep picking up the phone while driving.
If you must use a USB outlet to charge your phone, check if the car has a fast-USB-charging feature. Most car-USB outlets charge at 0.5 amps, which is pretty slow, especially if the phone has an app running. A car with a fast-USB-charging feature charges at 1.5 – 2.4 amps or even 3 amps for type-C plugs, which means your phone will charge faster.
In conclusion, these features are by no means final. There are many more gadgets you can add to improve your driving experience. Car manufacturers are also keen to develop new and exciting features. Do you have a car feature that significantly enhances your driving experience? Tell us about it.