Back in the day, you were lucky to have a tachometer in your car. These days however, customers demand a lot more from them. We want touchscreens, digital displays, and connectivity in our cars, along with a whole host of convenience features. Basic just won't cut it these days. Even entry-level cars are better equipped than some luxury cars from not so long ago.
Of course, there's always room for improvement. But what else can you possibly ask for in a modern car? A lot, as it turns out. Here's ten.
Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
In-car entertainment has come a long way. We were content with radio back then but then we wanted cassette decks, CD players, auxiliary jacks and now, Bluetooth and touchscreens. But of course, we all want a simpler way of hooking up our mobile devices to our vehicles.
That is why Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is such a brilliant feature to have. Simply plug it in and you have your smartphone's functions displayed on the screen. No need to take ages to connect a Bluetooth device, buy an auxiliary cord, or bring a USB with you all the time. It's also good to know more automakers are adopting this tech in cars and it's not just reserved for luxury cars anymore either.
Better driver area adjustability
Not everyone is blessed with height. To the vertically challenged, fixed seat heights would typically mean they won't be able to see much out front. Enter, the seat height adjuster.
Having that feature helps drivers of a shorter stature have better visibility and, at the same time, be more comfortable behind the wheel. This is especially useful to have in crossovers and SUVs with their high window lines and dashboards but it's also nice to have it in small hatchbacks and sedans to give you that impression of being high off the ground.
Speaking of being more comfortable behind the wheel, having a telescopic steering wheel adjuster is a big plus these days. Body types come in all shapes and sizes so having that extra bit of adjustability will help the driver find the most ideal driving position. With it, you don't have to stretch your arms too far out and that also means less strain on you. Less strain equals less fatigue and stress behind the wheel.
A fair amount of pick-ups and pick-up-based SUVs seem to lack this feature. Given their sizes, we believe it should be standard on all of them.
It always helps to have that little bit more storage space inside a car. This is why having under-seat storage bins would be another feature that we would like to see standard in more cars. Granted, most pick-ups have it but we see it is very useful and handy in MPVs and SUVs. Not only do you have another place to store your items, but it also keeps the cabin neat and clutter-free. Just don't forget you placed things there in the first place.
Extending sun visors
One could say that we take sun visors for granted these days. Perhaps almost instinctively, we pull them down when glare gets into our eyes or swing them to the side when the sun's beating down our windows. The thing is, it doesn't always provide, er, full coverage, especially if you're a bit taller.
Some automakers get around this by either giving you pull-out extensions or the ability to pull the whole shade. It's something we typically find in more luxury or premium vehicles but we wish they would put it on more affordable cars too. Besides, who doesn't want more shade when the sun's right on your face?
Plus points to some cars that not only give you sliding sun visors but also have extenders in place. Kudos to you, Dodge and Chrysler.
Rear disc brakes
Drum brakes are commonly seen in pick-up trucks and lower-priced vehicles. While disc front and drum rear combinations are acceptable, there's no harm in having extra stopping power. That's not to say drums are bad, but they heat up quickly and heat decreases the effectiveness of brakes. Granted, it's the front brakes that do most of the work but that doesn't mean the rears don't do anything.
The main advantage of the disc brake is cooling and that means they don't overheat as quickly as drums. They're also easier to disassemble when it's time to replace the pads too.
Hydraulic jack for sedans and hatchbacks
Getting a flat is a hassle and swapping out the deflated tire for a new is a chore. That's further made more of an effort by the scissor jack. Most cars use them for the sake of packaging but a hydraulic jack is easier to use. All you have to do is set it under the car and pump away. Thankfully, hydraulic jacks are equipped in most SUVs and pick-ups but we'd like more cars to use it.
Fold-flat rear seats
There are many ways to stow rear seats. You can hook them sides, tumble them forward, or have some convoluted mechanism that's infuriating to work with (we're looking at you Montero Sport). However, those solutions also eat up a lot of cargo space, which is why we would like to see more MPVs, and SUVs have fold-flat third-row seats.
With this sort of arrangement, all you have to do is pull a tab to set it and pull another one to stow. Some third-row seats only need one tab which simplifies the whole process. Once folded down, you get acres of cargo space too.
This feature is also good for hatchbacks and even sedans. Having their back seats fold truly flat means you don't have that 'lip' that prevents you from simply sliding long items in the cargo area. Because of that, it also makes loading up things in the back much easier.
Rear USB ports
Having an extra set of USB ports will be helpful, especially if you frequently have passengers at the back. Some SUVs and crossovers have this feature, but we think not enough of them have it. Also, it would be nice if vans would have multiple charging points as well as there's no way that a single port will be enough for everyone.
Rear A/C vents
Not only will rear air-conditioning vents keep your passengers chillier at the back, but it also helps the air recirculate around the cabin. It also allows the interior to cool down a little bit faster on a hot summer day too. A feature that was previously reserved for luxury vehicles, we're starting to see more cars in a more affordable price range having them. Of course, it would be nicer to see it standard in more cars soon. Having that little bit more cold air going around inside makes a trip, be it short or long, that much more comfortable.
Stability control and ABS
This is something we'd like to see in more cars, no matter the segment. Even if cars are much safer these days, it's much better to be able to avoid an accident than being involved in one. Stability control can prevent that from happening in the first place and give you a helping hand in slippery road conditions or high-speed emergency maneuvers.
This system will kick in if it detects a skid, which then reacts by cutting engine power and applying the brake on an individual wheel for more control. Having stability control is a must in higher-riding vehicles such as MPVs, SUVs, and crossovers as these vehicles have a greater risk of rolling over during an evasive or emergency maneuver. With the aid of stability control, it can prevent that from happening.
Anti-lock brakes are another feature that should be standard in all cars. Yes, most of them have it these days but there are still a few out that that aren't equipped with this potentially life-saving feature.