ADD ONS – 8 MUST HAVE CAR FEATURES
Have you ever been on a long car ride in a car that only has a CD player and no Aux/USB input? I did last week and it was quite boring since no one had bothered to carry CDs and all our music was on our smartphones. It dawned on me that having an up-to-date entertainment system, that accomodates the latest gizmo, is a must-have car feature. So what other car features do people think areÂ must-have? Here is our compilation of all the must-have car features for this year, in no particular order:
An infotainment system is a multitasking accessory which can play songs, navigate, accept calls by connecting to your phone, send messages and all this at the touch of the screen. Some advanced systems also feature voice recognition. Basically, it canÂ do most of the things that your mobile phone can do. It can also do some things that a smartphone cannot do, like show you how the world looks like from the back of the car (rear-view camera) and tell you how far you are from having to replace the back bumper (parking sensors). New models come with this car feature pre-loaded while for older models, one could upgrade the existing stereo system to an infotainment head unit.
It is not sufficient to just have air-conditioning in the car. Climate control is a high-tech air conditioning system which smartly controls the environment inside the car according to the temperature outside. It auto adjusts the A/C settings to ensure you have a refreshing and comfortable ride. This cool car feature now comes pre-loaded in the larger sedans and SUVs and is finding traction with the mid-market segment as well.
Haven’t we all struggled with the wiper going swish-swish too fast on a drizzly day and a little too slow for safety if we happened to be driving in a torrential down pour? The rain always seems to be at a level that is in between two stages of the wiper speed. But fret no more – we now live in the age of Automatic Wipers. This car feature uses sensors that allowsÂ the wipers to automatically start and adjust the speed and frequency of swipes based on the level of water on the windshield.
Like the auto wipers, this system uses sensors to turn on and regulate brightness of the front headlamps to match the lightness/darkness levels on the road. It is nice to have the lights come on automatically when you enter a tunnel in daytime or when the sky starts to darken with impending rain. It will be a huge relief for drivers if this feature became a standard in all vehicles to avoid being blinded by the unabashed and uncalled for usage of high-beam lights on the Indian roads.
These two automatic car features are meant to aid the driver improve his driving skills and focus, by reducing the number of things that he/she needs to pay attention to.
This isnâ€™t exactly an optional extra as most of the cars today offer this as a standard. The governmental regulations around the world have included this as a mandatory requirement similar to the norms for pollution control. Â Airbags have been proven to be the biggest lifesaver car feature preventing hundreds and thousands of fatalities every year due to car crashes. Simply put, an airbag work is an inflatable cushion that comes out of the steering wheel, dashboard or side panels during an accident. It prevents the passengers’ head and body from making contact with any of the carâ€™s hard surfaces including the steering wheel, which is the biggest cause for driver fatality.Â Already many of the new models of SUVs and sedans come with 4 airbags (dashboard and steering for the front-seat passengers and sides for the back-seats) and some even have 6 airbags.
Indiaâ€™s regulatory bodies are still to catch up to world standards, so this option is not yet mandatory here but could soon be under theÂ Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Program.
Keyless entry is the latest car feature catching the attention of car owners. This feature ensures that the owner doesnâ€™t need to use car keys to unlock the car and it can be done with buttons provided on door handles. However, to ensure security, it mandates that the car key/remote is present with the person unlocking the car. The car uses sensors to detect the presence of the remote/key within a few feet from itself. Only if it senses the presence, does it allow the door buttons to work. This is most useful when you have your hands juggling multiple things and getting to your key proves difficult.
Push button start
The car key is fast becoming a security feature and not really a key for entry. The Push Button Start is a feature thatÂ allows the car to start with the push of a button without having the keys inserted into the keyhole. Â What you now have is a key fob, not a key, which the car detects whenÂ you push the button. Gives you a jet fighter feeling when you are doing it.
ABS – Anti Lock Braking System
Have you ever been in a situation when you had to suddenly brake your car and have the car go out of control with a jolt? That is because the wheels of the car lock-up during panic braking. The ABS car feature allows the driver to have steering control even while hard braking. This is a great feature especially for the light-weight hatchbacks. Indian roads are famous for sudden unexpected hurdles coming your way and it is a god send to have the ABS feature installed. It costs a little extra to have this feature but this is one feature we feel is totally worth the price we pay for it.
There are many more car features that are touted as cool and fancy like Chrome Grills or body-coloured door handles. We recommend that the car features that are safety oriented are given preference over these. Go for the safety features first, comfort features (like the infotainment and climate control) next, followed by convenience features (like the keyless car entry) and finally, if budget permits, to the cool and fancy car features.
While buying a used car from TSM, we will help you with deciding which add-on car features to go for if the car doesn’t already have them.