Thanks to modern technologies like AI and fast computers, cars have become more advanced than ever, and all this new technology can quickly get confusing if you’re shopping around for a new car. From driver assistance tech to surround sound audio systems, modern car buyers have a lot of choices, all of which can quickly add up and cost a bomb when the car rolls out of the showroom. Of course, a lot of these features are more important than others, and here, we’ll explain and help you understand some of the important features you need to consider when getting a new automobile.
Like cars, the whole car buying experience has also evolved in modern times. An online car selling portal at your disposal will help you research and even book your next car without even setting foot in a showroom. A lot of manufacturers also allow you to tailor your next car according to your preferences, especially if you have a higher budget. When cars started becoming mainstream in the early 1900s. Technology was limited to basic features like a radio, power steering, air conditioning, cruise control, and more.
Soon, when the 80s rolled by, technology started becoming more accessible, resulting in convenience features like power windows, cassette tape and CD stereos, digital dashboards, airbags, and even anti-lock brakes. GM even unveiled their OnStar-connected car technology back in 1996 with automatic calling features. However, with the start of the 21st century, cars have become more advanced than ever, and even provides a level of autonomous driving that was simply not possible in the early days because of the processing power required to run it.
So, here are some of the features you need to consider before you set down a deposit for your next car.
First and foremost, we’ll take a look at some of the available safety technologies on the market. Thanks to US regulations by the FMVSS, all modern vehicles get plenty of safety features as standard including an array of airbags, anti-lock brakes, traction control, child seat restraints, and more. But, there are several active safety features available in modern vehicles. Some important features include:
Automatic Emergency Braking: This system uses radar and several sensors to detect obstructions on the road. Whenever a collision is imminent, it will automatically apply brakes without driver intervention to help prevent collisions. Most modern systems also include pedestrian detection for improved safety. Forward collision warning is also included in most cases which alerts the driver when a dangerous situation is detected or if an obstruction gets too close.
Blind-Spot Monitoring System: This system uses sensors to detect vehicles in the car’s blind spot and usually warns the driver when the turn signals are activated in the direction of the obstacle. Audible warnings, as well as lights, are also used to indicate a vehicle in the blind-spot area.
Adaptive Cruise Control: While this can be termed more as a convenience feature than a safety technology, adaptive cruise control also works in tandem with safety technologies, and helps take the stress of driving a vehicle by maintaining the speed of traffic flow, allowing the driver to relax. The system is also capable of coming to a stop if required.
Torque Vectoring: This feature is slowly becoming mainstream, and makes a good difference when cornering or driving on twisty roads. The system reads traction and basically simulates a limited-slip differential by braking the inner wheels, evenly distributing torque across all four wheels.
There are several other safety and driver assistance features available in modern vehicles, which will make driving a lot more convenient and safer for all road users.
Modern cars also get plenty of convenience and multimedia features including smartphone integration and connected car features. Some notable features among these include:
Android Auto/Apple CarPlay: In this age of smartphones, most users have become used to a smartphone-like interface, and the same can be used inside the car. Through a wired or wireless connection, your smartphone can connect with the infotainment system and project its interface with a car-friendly layout, allowing you to use most of the features without getting distracted. Initially, the system was only accessible with a wired connection but most modern cars also get a wireless connection for added convenience.
Advanced Climate Control System: Depending on your budget, cars are available with a basic single-zone system all the way to quad-zone advanced climate control that allows four different adjustments based on passenger preferences. The system maintains the set temperature inside the cabin and significantly improves comfort levels without any manual adjustment.
Surround-View Cameras: Using an array of cameras all around the car, the system will send video feeds to the central display. It is very useful when parking and some models also allow you to view all views at once to maneuver in tight conditions.
Keyless Entry: Almost all modern cars get keyless entry technology for easier access. Instead of fiddling around with your keys, the system uses buttons on the door handles to allow easier access whenever the key is detected in its proximity. Starting the engine is usually done with a push button on the dashboard.
Wireless Charging: To keep your smartphone charged at all times, wireless charging is increasing in popularity and is a must-have feature in modern times. It integrates a wireless charging pad on the dashboard which charges phones that support wireless charging. Fast charging ports are also included for phones without wireless charging capability.
Wi-Fi Hotspot: Like wireless charging, Wi-Fi hotspots are also very convenient for passengers, allowing seamless connection to the internet whenever they’re inside the car. Most modern cars get a 4G hotspot for faster speeds and a stable connection.
Heated/Ventilated Seats: Depending on where you live, climate-controlled seats can be a huge boon to keep you comfortable. Offering various levels of adjustments, they provide a more relaxed ride.
Connected Car Technologies: Most modern cars get some form of connected car technologies which includes several features from emergency assistance to controlling various features of the car remotely. Services like Blue Link also include vehicle tracking, remote immobilization, geo-fencing, and a lot more. The system can also provide diagnostics if there is some fault with the car.
With all the important and useful features out of the way, let’s now take a look at some features you should avoid:
Built-In Navigation: Most manufacturers charge extra for navigation services, and in most cases, they are not as convenient or as accurate as Google or Apple maps. Some also offer subscription-based services that can cost a lot in the long run. Another worrying aspect of navigation is that it can become outdated and fall out of manufacturer support after several years, rendering it useless. Avoid any extra navigation packages and use your phone instead, by plugging it in and accessing maps through Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.
Low Profile Tires/Larger Rims: While it may look flashy and cool, low profile tires will severely impact overall ride comfort. Since the sidewall is thinner, shocks and bumps are more easily transferred to the body, and the cushioning effect of the rubber is lowered.