collaborative post // Over the years, people have expressed likes and dislikes about car features. However, you must know that many of these interests are borne out of a need to feel comfortable and safe while driving. Moreover, people’s preferences are determined by location, finances, lifestyle and tech-savviness.

Photo by Jannis Lucas on Unsplash

Fortunately, these consumer demands are fulfilled with the help of advanced technology. Statistics indicate that 85% of new car buyers are looking for value for money, and if any of the following features are available, it is seen as a good buy. 

  • Automatic Emergency Braking System

This technology was first introduced in 2009 to help reduce the high number of collisions on the road. When this system was first introduced in the consumer market, it was a characteristic of only luxury cars. Luxury car manufacturers believed this innovative system could help reduce the impact and high costs associated with the repairs of such vehicles. Today, the Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) system can be found in any car make or model created after 2011.

The AEB works by sensing the proximity of another vehicle in its way. According to data released by the automobile industry, AEB can reduce rear-end and vehicle reversing impact by 31%. Additionally, the impact of head-on collisions could be reduced by 78%. The difference between 31% and 78% is quite great and is possibly why manufacturers continue to improve AEB efficiency. It is worth noting that the AEB can also sense pedestrians, making it a widely accepted addition. Whichever way you look at it, the Automatic Braking System is a must-have feature in your next car. It is a safety detail you wouldn’t want to miss out on.

  • Automatic high beams

Lighting is a vital requirement when driving in the dark, in less-lit environments or foggy weather conditions. Without illumination, it can be highly risky to drive. Since Carl Benz designed the first car on January 29, 1886, lighting has been a safety feature on vehicles. Today, that characteristic is prominently backed by 21st-century technology. Automatic high beams are designed to control the intensity of light rays that often blind or dazzle other road users. It senses the presence of other cars and automatically switches to low beams. On the other hand, in the absence of oncoming cars, this software triggers high beams back on to provide better illumination on long stretches of road. 

This must-have feature enhances confidence and convenience in drivers operating the vehicle. With so much focus on defensive driving, it helps to have a car feature that contributes to that purpose. It is worth noting that the automatic high beam is not new. According to history, General Motors became the first car manufacturer to introduce the Autronic Eye in 1952. It was the world’s first car headlight dimmer. However, the Autronic Eye was perceived to be overly sensitive. Fortunately, the technology evolved over the years and has raised no further public concerns. Therefore, this is a must-have feature if you plan to buy your next car.

  • A personalised number plate

According to data, the UK recorded the highest number of personalised number plates in 2015/16. One hundred and two million (102,000) car owners had applied and received their customised number plates. In 2020, however, registration of new number plates dropped to 45 million. The pandemic may have caused a significant drop because people worked more from home and did not drive as much. However, the first and second quarters of 2022 have recorded impressive numbers. There is a chance the numbers will increase by 2023, and you can check places like Platehunter for number plates to give your vehicle a more modern and personal look and feel. 

  • Android auto and Apple carplay interface

Smartphone technology appears to have infiltrated all areas of the gadget industry. The Android and Apple Carplay interface has become the main infotainment centre of modern vehicles. This way, drivers do not have to physically handle their phones while on the road. With a few taps on the built-in screen, you can immediately answer a call or switch radio channels without taking your eyes off the road. More modern cars have these interfaces connected to buttons on the steering wheel. This type of connection may be convenient because of the focus on the steering wheel.

Another less talked about feature is the Apple Driving Focus software. If your iPhone is connected to the carplay, this would be a feature to be thankful for. This AI technology automatically detects when you’re driving. Therefore, it silences or limits all incoming calls, text messages and other notifications. The objective is to cut out distractions while driving. The only downside is that your iPhone must have iOS 5 or later for Driving Focus to function.

  • A 360-degree surround-view camera system

Once again, this feature focuses on safety through enhanced visuals. The 360-degree surround-view camera system allows you to view the car from all angles. With cameras installed in the grille, top, side and rear view mirrors, the driver has a bird’s eye view of the vehicle. After years of research, car manufacturers realised that several accidents could be avoided if vehicles had more ‘eyes.’ For example, when a car hits a person or object while reversing, it is likely because the driver did not have a clear view of the surrounding. This is known as the blind spots on the road. 

However, with the introduction of the 360- degree surround-view camera system, you have a clearer view of the immediate environment. If this is a feature you want in your next car, it would be a great idea to ensure that the surround-view camera system is also compatible with your phone or tablet. This will be a convenient backup if the inbuilt screen on the console goes dark.

  • Auto-dimming mirrors

The auto-dimming feature is a lifesaver on the road. Have you ever experienced the discomfort of having another car’s headlights flash in your rearview or side mirrors? For photosensitive persons with underlying health conditions, this can trigger seizures behind the wheel. Now that is not something you want to experience while driving. Aside from that, lights flashing in your mirrors can be blinding and increase the risk of an accident.

Thankfully, all these can be addressed with the help of auto-dimming mirrors. This software senses light from cars behind, and your mirrors dim to reduce the visual discomfort. By using the anti-glare glass mechanism, you are assured of safety and comfort on the road.

  • Heated seats and steering wheel

This is a must-have, especially during frosty winter mornings and nights. Depending on the car model, the control buttons for this feature can be found on the console or the steering wheel. Indeed, most cars have climate control push buttons that regulate the vehicle’s internal temperature. Unfortunately, this old system doesn’t do much to warm the seats or the steering wheel.

Another downside is that the climate control old system tends to turn the windscreen misty or foggy. This happens because heated air rises to the glass. Thankfully, the new system directs heat only on the seats or the steering wheel. Warm air does not rise to the windscreen, making it a more convenient and safer feature for your next car.

Your next car is worth the investment you are willing to make. In many cases, people buy vehicles which are upgrades of their previous or existing ones. Just make sure that you find one that suits your lifestyle and fits your budget.

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