What You Need
Standard safety features
Safety is paramount, especially while driving. Most cars come with standard features such as seatbelts, airbags and antilock brakes. But you should also consider investing in a few additional features to increase your vehicle’s accountability on the road.
Electronic stability/skid-control system
Electronic stability/skid-control system (ESC system) helps you cope with those scary moments when your tires lose traction and/or control on slippery roads. ESC system operates through sensors in the car (like a wheel speed sensor, steering sensor and yaw-rate sensor). These sensors understand how fast and in which direction your car is going. If a skid should occur, ESC system recognizes it and implements the necessary braking systems to help the car and yourself recover. Less panic means a safer ride.
Blind spot detection system
Blind spot detection system (BSD system) may save your life. There are other people on the road and the BSD system reminds us of them. On highways, busy urban streets or cramp parking lots, other vehicles, bicyclists or pedestrians may cross our paths without us knowing. The BSD system alerts us with a flashing light, a beeping sound and/or vibration before we accidentally collide with anything.
Physical knobs and buttons
Physical knobs and buttons on a dashboard and steering wheel save us from distractions. In a world where everything is interactive, all we really need are a few buttons and knobs to get the job done. Adjusting temperature and radio station is just easier when you can just remember where the buttons are, instead of scanning a touch screen for an image of a button. Physical buttons and knobs also allow you to keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.
What You Want
GPS navigation system and Bluetooth
GPS navigation system and Bluetooth are quickly becoming standards in cars. If it’s not included, you should definitely resist — because if your car doesn’t come with those features, your smartphone does.
Touchless or foot-operated liftgate
Touchless or foot-operated liftgate is an absolute luxury. I too had my hands full of groceries from the checkout to my car. I place the bags down and open the door, a slight inconvenience, but far from a hassle. To classify this as a necessity is to say a chauffeur and a butler are also a necessary.
Backup camera is new technology that is still being opposed and advocated for. But when it comes to tight driving situations, every new innovation helps. Backup camera acts as another rear view mirror for your vehicle and should be relied on in the same fashion. That being said, backup cameras may help, but what matters more is responsible and safe driving. Backing up without rear ending someone shouldn’t be a challenge – it’s basic driving.
Automatic headlights light the way for us without a reminder. But anything that nurtures your indolence can’t be a good thing, right? Sure automatic headlights might help you save battery life, but the automatic headlights are not driving your car – you are. You should figure out when to turn on or off the lights, not some sensory headlamp. You wouldn’t trust an automatic oven to turn off when you leave the house, would you?
Automatic seat temperature control and memory seats bring a bit of comfort to your drive, but comfort is always something you’ll have to put a price on. I recommend heated and memory seats, like I would recommend a cherry on top of your sundae. For example, the 2014 Ford Fiesta optional features include a comfort package at approximately $290. Something to consider.