The technology of the car industry is rapidly evolving. The vehicles of today are getting smarter, safer, and can intuitively adapt to their surroundings. Many of them don’t require gasoline to run, and some can even drive themselves! Some high-tech features are becoming widely available in budget-friendly vehicles too.
There are lots of choices to make when buying a new car. It can be overwhelming! As a good rule of thumb, your ideal car should be practical for your needs while being comfortable and safe to drive.
If it’s been a while since you upgraded your car, or if you’re shopping for your first car, you may be wondering about all the nice bells and whistles that are on the market today. The following list identifies ten nifty features you should ask your dealer about.
Photo credit: Hyundai
What’s the first thing you do when you approach your car? You start rummaging for your keys, right? Not anymore. Some car models can now detect a fob in your pocket and will automatically unlock your door when you’re close by. It comes in handy when you’re in a rush, you have your arms full, or your keys are somewhere at the bottom of your bag.
And once you are inside the car and buckled up, all you have to do is press a button and go. Besides the convenience factor, this technology offers improved security since a thief would need the fob to steal the car.
If you live in a particularly hot or cold climate, you’ll appreciate heated or ventilated seats. The time you spend sitting in your car should be comfortable. Being stuck in traffic in baltic December weather isn’t pleasant unless you have heated seats. And sweaty summer afternoons are far more bearable when you’re in a seat that keeps you nice and breezy.
What used to be reserved for luxury cars has now become a standard in many vehicles. Today’s navigation systems update quickly, come with touchscreen interactivity, and can even forewarn of traffic ahead to help you avoid it. Built-in navigation systems are almost always simple to operate and are usually easy to view on your infotainment system.
Photo credit: Kia
Let’s face it; it’s hard to drive for any period of time and not be tempted to glance at your smartphone. Well, now you can safely stay connected while you drive. While USB and Bluetooth technologies have been available for some time now, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto enable more of your smartphone’s functionalities in handsfree mode.
Although this technology isn’t widely available in budget-friendly vehicles, and quality varies from model to model, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) is still worth mentioning in our list. Available in many different names depending on the brand, these cruise control systems essentially use radar to track the vehicles ahead and adjust speed accordingly.
ACC will speed up or down automatically based on the position of the cars in front. As well as offering a smoother, safer drive, this clever technology reduces wear and tear on your vehicle.
Photo Credit: Nissan
Computers can sometimes respond faster than the human brain. And when you’re on the road, sudden unforeseen scenarios require quick thinking and split-second reactions. In those circumstances, a vehicle that will automatically apply the brakes when it detects danger can save lives.
Automatic emergency braking has been identified as an essential safety feature for the future. In 2016, 40 countries (not including the U.S. or Canada) agreed to put this technology in all new vehicles by 2022. It may only be a matter of time before this technology comes standard in all vehicles.
If you’re you’re looking for a family vehicle with essential safety features, seat belt reminders and rear seatbelt monitoring are must-haves.
While some seatbelt monitoring systems only offer front seat detection, some advanced systems have a sensor for all five seats in your car. With an alarm that sounds whenever a seatbelt is left unbuckled (or mysteriously unbuckles mid-trip), you won’t have to have eyes on the back of your head at all times!
Driving at night with your headlights switched off seems like a rookie mistake but the number of drivers that forget to switch on after the sun sets is startling. With the auto switch, you can pretty much forget to remember; it does it all for you. It will even turn them on and off when you’re going through a tunnel!
Photo credit: Ford
So you’ve arrived at your destination, but now you have to park! Parking in an awkward spot is a fine way to turn your stress levels up to 100. Turning your head and using rear-view mirrors is fine, but there are still gaps in what you can see. And trying to guess how close you are to objects behind you can be a comedy of stops and starts.
Reverse cameras eliminate the guesswork and can provide a detailed view of everything behind your car. Blindspots are no longer a concern—everything appears on-screen while you reverse with confidence. And sensors trigger a beeping noise when you get too close to another object.
Coming back to your car with a toddler in one arm and a bag of groceries in the other arm means you have to put something down while you open the trunk. Automatic, hands-free liftgates make life a little easier when you’ve got your hands full.
When shopping for an automobile, it’s helpful to know what features you want. With the extra information, your dealer can dial in on the perfect vehicle for you. They may even include some of your preferred features in a special package deal.
Now that you know what features are right for you, there’s still the small matter of finding the right car!
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