Depending on how long it’s been since you’ve bought a car, you might be out of the loop on some of the latest features and technology that are available. Vehicle technology, like other sectors of technology, is accelerating at a rapid pace and there are a variety of features that exist today that would have been unimaginable twenty years ago. New propulsion technology brought electric vehicles to the forefront of responsible and efficient driving; autonomy is growing ever more present in modern cars with advance self-driving capabilities; and space-like cars like Tesla have features like hospital grade air filtering. But even the dashboard can be equipped with many unique features. We thought we’d make it a little easier on you by giving you some must-have features when you buy your next car.
Remote start isn’t exactly a new feature in cars, but it’s gotten to be much more common in basic models. The biggest benefits of remote start come when you have extreme hot or cold weather. Get your car started early in the morning to help with some of the frost before you head to work, or plan ahead and crank the air conditioning so it’s cooling down as you head to your car for your commute. It might be something you think about when you don’t have it, but you’ll sure love it when you do.
Adaptive Cruise Control
There’s nothing worse on a road trip than driving behind someone who has a hard time picking a speed. You set your cruise control, but then you have to tap your brakes as you get too close. Then they speed up so you can too, but only to tap your brakes again. With adaptive cruise control, your car will use sensors to maintain a set following distance. This way your vehicle will adapt to the one in front of you so you can maintain a safe speed without constantly adjusting your cruise control. Ultimately, cruise control offers better driving comfort, helps drivers avoid speeding, and helps maintain good fuel efficiency.
It’s irritating when the headlights from the car behind you hit your mirrors just right and suddenly blind you when driving at night. For decades we’ve been able to flip the rearview mirror to adjust, but there’s nothing you could do about your side mirrors. This, of course, was before auto-dimming mirrors. This is an excellent feature that will dim the reflection of headlights so you can still see despite those blinding lights.
Driver Alert Systems
Whether it’s in front, behind, or in your blind spot, there are a lot of areas to keep track of on your vehicle. Auto engineers know this and have come up with multiple solutions by creating driver alert systems. You can have these systems installed to help with alerts that will let you know if a car in front of you suddenly stops, there’s something behind you as you back up, a vehicle is in your blind spot as you change lanes, and many others that enhance the safety of your vehicle. Be sure to ask the dealer what features come standard as well as what are available.
There are even advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) that take alter and monitoring capabilities a step further. Drivers can gain real-time and long-term data into their driving habits (or the driving habits of others). These systems can recognize a potential accident well before it happens and warn you if you’re taking any actions that could harm your vehicle or other vehicles.
360-Degree Camera System
It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to get into or out of a parking spot, it’s helpful to know where you are relative to the objects around you. A 360-degree camera system does just that with cameras strategically placed around your car that include the grille, above the rear license plate, and beneath the side mirrors. Your infotainment system will take information from these cameras to create an overhead view of your car so you can see where your vehicle is positioned relative to anything that’s near you. This can be helpful with parallel parking or parking a large vehicle in a small space.
Take Tesla, for example. While many vehicles feature a rear camera and other camera sensors that provide a holistic overview of what’s happening around the vehicle, Tesla boasts eight cameras that offer 360-degree visibility.
It seems like everything is getting smarter these days and your rearview mirror is no different. Install a smart mirror to give you a clear display of what’s behind you as you drive without the heads of backseat passengers hindering your view. Additionally, your smart mirror can switch the display to your standard backup view with lane guides and distance markers to help. Cartoys.com says of smart mirrors, “All of the conveniences of a backup camera located right in your rearview mirror.” This is exactly what you’re getting in crystal clear LCD.
The push-button start has gotten to be a staple in many vehicle models over the last 10 years. The cousin of this is the passive entry feature, which allows you to unlock your door by simply getting your key fob near the door. You never have to push the button on your fob to lock or unlock your door as long as you have the passive entry feature.
Remote Parking Assist
For most people, parallel parking was the most dreaded part of the driving test. While you might have passed that part of the test at the time, it’s a skill that isn’t used often so many drivers aren’t comfortable with it even after 15 or 20 years of driving. With remote parking assist, you never have to worry about parallel parking again. This is a new feature that’s been introduced within the last several years that allows you to push a button and your car will take over. It will use a series of cameras and sensors to properly parallel park your vehicle while you sit comfortably with your hands in your lap.