Car Features We Need and Some to Skip

Automakers are always shouting about newer and better features, proclaiming them to be must-haves in your next car. It’s overwhelming a...


Automakers are always shouting about newer and better features, proclaiming them to be must-haves in your next car. It’s overwhelming and for the inexperienced, we might even be inclined to believe that that new thingamabob or whatchamacallit is worth parting with more money for. However, in a recent article by Consumer Reports, the non-profit magazine differentiates the must-haves and those you can (and some even should) just take a pass. Considering that the publication tests new cars almost every week, we’re inclined to take their word for it:-

MUST HAVES:

  1. Comfortable seats. This is the part of the car that would most ensure the comfort of your driving experience. CR advises that we assess the car seat for no less than 15 to 20 minutes during the test drive.
  2. Power seat with adjustable lumbar support. In relation to #1, power seats allow better fine-tuning to help drivers find the most comfortable seating position. An adjustable lumbar bulge will also provide better long-term support.
  3. Forward-collision warning (FCW). CR thinks that forward-collision warning should come standard in every car. The FCW system will alert drivers of potential crash situations, even with pedestrians, by emitting visual and/or audio warnings.
  4. Automatic emergency braking (AEB). Even if you cannot react fast enough to #3, then automatic braking technology will stop the car for you - another feature that should come standard.
  5. A rear camera. For safety, so that you don’t reverse over someone, and ease of parking.
  6. Rear cross-traffic alert. Helps you to reverse into traffic safely by warning you if a vehicle is approaching from the side.
  7. Blind-spot monitoring. Another feature to prevent collision; this one covers the side of the vehicle, warning you if you move toward a car that is alongside yours.
  8. Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. Enables access to your smartphone through your car’s infotainment system.
  9. Bluetooth. Allows you to answer a call on your smartphone while you keep your hands on the wheel; also lets you stream music wirelessly to the car’s speakers.
  10. 360-degree camera view. The more you can see around your car, the safer it is and easier it will be to park in tight spots.
  11. Head-up displays. The driver can get all the driving info – such as speed, navigation instruction, etc – without moving their eyes from the road. Accidents can happen even if you look away for just a few seconds.
  12. A USB port. So many gadgets that we carry with us today, and they all need recharging. 
  13. Voice controls. Another feature to help keep your eyes on the road.
  14. Heated seats and steering wheel. We don’t have the problem of cold seats and frozen steering wheel here in the tropics, but we experience the opposite. Cooled seats would be amazing after the car has been baking under the sun for awhile.
  15. Dual-zone automatic climate control. Everyone should be able to enjoy a comfortable ride, as cool or warm as she/he desires.
  16. Automatic high beams. High beams are important for our safety when driving on some dark, obscure road at night, but it can be annoying and dangerous for oncoming cars. Some systems are able to switch high beams off automatically when they sense cars coming from the other way. 
  17. Spare tyre. Its importance doesn’t need explaining, but many new cars don’t come with one nowadays. Check for it before buying.
  18. Keyless entry. Incredibly convenient, not to mention cool, to walk up to your car while you’re laden with bags and boxes, and the car simply unlocks and welcomes you in.

GIVE THESE A PASS: 
  1. Gesture/character recognition. Distracting and not much easier to use than a touchscreen, so why bother.
  2. DVD player. An iPad and other tablets can do so much more.
  3. Built-in navigation. Navigation systems on your smartphone or Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are much easier to use and more advanced. 
  4. Wi-Fi. Why pay for another monthly data subscription when your smartphones can function as a mobile hotspot.
  5. Lane-keeping assist. It’s disturbing to feel as if an invisible hand is pulling at your steering wheel. Lane-departure warning systems work just as well. 

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