Five Features You'll Want in Your Next Vehicle
We test drive a lot of cars. We put that experience to use with a quick roundup of driving must-haves.
SUVs, sedans, premium pickup trucks and economy hatchbacks— there isn’t much we haven’t experienced. Here are some things that we think should be standard in every vehicle.
Once considered a luxury, the backup camera is now available as an option on many models. They help eliminate so many guessing games: “How much space do I have behind me?” “Ah, so that’s where my kid left her skateboard!” Thankfully, the U.S. has mandated that all vehicles on sale from May 1, 2018, onward must have this feature. Let’s hope Canada follows.
It doesn’t matter where you are in the country, or what you’re driving—having heated seats during the winter makes you feel like royalty. They up the level of comfort in a premium vehicle. And although the most basic car doesn’t always provide the coziest confines during cold weather, this feature automatically transforms it into a vehicle you’re happy to drive from November to April.
Steering Wheel Controls—Behind the Wheel
Steering wheel controls are great in theory. They enable drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road while they change the radio station or adjust cruise control settings. The problem, though, is that many automakers place the controls in not-so-easy-to-reach places. This causes you to look down to find the button, defeating one of the main purposes of the feature. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, however, have for years placed all of the audio controls on the back of the wheel, where your fingers naturally rest. It’s so simple, yet makes a big, big difference.
If your rear windshield can melt snow and ice, why not your front windshield? This goes hand in hand with the heated seats—an incredibly useful feature that makes you feel so much better during the winter. Including this on all vehicles would be a huge boon for buyers who won’t have to use as much windshield washer fluid and can save some of their snow-clearing energy for their driveway.
We’re living in a hands-free world, and automakers should make it that much easier for you. No, we’re not saying they should make Bluetooth audio streaming standard (although, why not? It’s really nice to have), but at the very least, manufacturers should ensure that every driver can connect their cellphone to the vehicle’s system. This allows them to drive safely while answering phone calls and gets rid of third-party Bluetooth systems that are clipped to visors and hanging precariously from the rear-view mirror.