Vehicles today are rolling technology with infotainment systems, satellite radio, Bluetooth, and much more, keeping drivers connected and safe. But with so many features to pick from today, it's hard to decide which car features are worth the money and which you can skip.
To help you find the right features for you, we've outlined 10 comfort and convenience features and five safety and driver-assist features you should consider in your next vehicle.
Throughout the years, automobile comfort and convenience features have become more advanced. Today, cars are almost like rolling living rooms with all their high-tech equipment and enhanced comfort features.
Here are 10 comfort and convenience features you'll want in your next pre-owned or new car.
In the cool fall and blustery winter in Canada, your steering wheel can almost feel like a popsicle the moment you grab it. After a few miles, this can lead to serious discomfort and become a distraction.
With a heated steering wheel, simply press a button, and the steering wheel rim heats up and warms the steering wheel. This keeps your mitts toasty, even on the coldest of days.
Operating a smartphone while driving is dangerous, and we all know that. But what if your car integrated with your smartphone, allowing you to interact with it more safely? This is exactly what Android Auto does.
Android Auto connects your Android device to the vehicle, allowing you to use the infotainment system and other interfaces to control it. You can play music, get Google Maps navigation, find destinations near you, and use other helpful apps safely.
Many Android Auto systems use a USB cable to connect your smartphone to the vehicle. However, some have gone to a wireless system that uses Bluetooth.
Apple CarPlay is the Apple-specific equivalent to Android Auto. It connects your Apple device to the vehicle so you can safely interact with your phone using the vehicle's interfaces. This includes using Apple Maps, Apple Music, and other apps.
Like Android Auto, many Apple CarPlay systems require a USB cable to connect, but automakers are starting to offer wireless Apple CarPlay connections via Bluetooth.
Also, keep in mind that not all vehicles with Apple CarPlay also have Android Auto and vice versa. For example, until recently, BMW only offered Apple CarPlay, but it now offers both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
A head-up display is a system that projects all the vital driving information on the windshield in front of the driver. This puts things like speed, fuel level, navigation instructions, speed limit information, and more.
Putting this information directly in front of the driver helps reduce driver fatigue, as they don't need to look down at the navigation system or instruments for this important information.
Heated and cooled front seats help keep the front occupants comfortable in all weather. During the cold winter and fall months, heating elements in the seats warm up the upper and lower seat cushions. Generally, these elements in the passenger and driver's seats will have at least two settings — low and high — but some heated seats have more settings for fine-tuning.
Cooled seats tap into the air conditioning system and blow cold air through ducts within the seats and out small perforations on the upper and lower seat cushions to keep the driver and passenger comfortable on hot summer afternoons.
All rearview mirrors dim, but most require you to flip the switch on the bottom of the mirror. While this isn't overly difficult, there is an available car feature that does this for you automatically.
This feature is called an auto-dimming rearview mirror or an electrochromic mirror. It comes standard on many luxury cars and is usually an option or an available accessory on more mainstream vehicles.
Keyless entry allows you to unlock your doors and trunk without fumbling to get the keys in the lock. In older keyless entry systems, you have to press the "Unlock" button to unlock the door and the "Lock" button to lock it. This is convenient, but there are plenty of improvements available today.
Today, keyless entry systems are even more advanced, starting with proximity keys that know when the key is nearby and unlock the door when you approach the vehicle or touch the door handle.
As for locking today's keyless systems, you can press the button on the fob or press the indicated space on the floor handle. Some more advanced systems recognize when you're walking away and lock the doors when you reach a certain distance from the vehicle.
Remote ignition allows you to start your vehicle from the comfort of your home. This comes in handy during the cold Canadian winters, as you can start the vehicle and allow it to warm up without setting foot outside.
Some more advanced systems will also set the climate control to your preferred temperature, so the cabin is just right.
Many vehicles include a slot for a cell phone SIM card and offer 4G LTE-based Wi-Fi inside the car. This allows you to work within the vehicle or distract the kids with shows on a tablet without tying up your cellular data.
Adaptive cruise control works similar to most traditional cruise control systems, as it allows the driver to cruise at a predetermined speed without using the accelerator pedal.
Adaptive cruise control adds an extra touch of convenience by also slowing down when it encounters slower-moving traffic. When the slower-moving vehicle is no longer there, the adaptive cruise control automatically accelerates to the preset speed.
Some more advanced systems will also bring the vehicle to a complete stop in traffic and accelerate once the traffic moves.
Here are five safety features you'll want to consider for your next car, pickup truck, SUV, or minivan.
Blind-spot monitors use radar in the mirrors or rear bumper to detect when a vehicle is in a car's natural blind spot. If it detects a vehicle, a light on or near the corresponding side-view mirror illuminates. If the driver activates the turn signal in the direction of the unseen vehicle, the blind-spot light will flash, and an audible tone will activate to warn the driver.
Some advanced systems also have collision avoidance that will steer the vehicle back into its original travel lane if the driver attempts to change lanes with a vehicle in its blind spot.
Automatic emergency braking (AEB) uses a combination of radar and cameras to detect vehicles ahead of you and measure the distance between your vehicle and those travelling in front of you. If the gap closes too quickly without you activating the brakes, AEB will automatically activate them.
Some carmakers' AEB systems simply slow the vehicle down, mitigating the amount of damage and potential injuries. However, some more advanced systems can stop the vehicle completely.
Like AEB, forward collision warning (FCW) uses a combination of radar and cameras to detect vehicles ahead of you and measure the distance between your vehicle and those travelling in front of you.
If the system detects the gap is closing too fast, it will sound an alert warning you of a potential accident.
Flicking your high beams off and on isn't hard, but it's sometimes easy to forget. Then you accidentally shine your high beams directly in the eyes of oncoming traffic, creating a dangerous situation.
Many automakers now include sensors that detect oncoming headlights and taillights ahead and automatically activate the low-beam headlights.
Today, many vehicles have rearview camera systems that give the driver a clear view of the area behind them when backing up. More modern systems include guidelines that show how close you are to a vehicle or object, and even more advanced systems have dynamic guidelines that also turn with the steering wheel to show your projected path.
There are also surround-view systems that stitch together front, side, and rear cameras to create a simulated overhead view of the vehicle.
Ready for a quality pre-owned vehicle with all the car features you want? Clutch, Canada's first 100% online pre-owned vehicle retailer, has a huge inventory of pre-owned vehicles with all the latest features. We've got vehicles from all the major automakers, including Ford, Honda, Chevrolet, Kia, Nissan, Toyota, Dodge, and more. We also stock luxury vehicles from BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and others.
All our vehicles go through a 210-point pre-sale inspection to ensure they're top-notch quality and will stand the test of time. We also include a 90-day or 6,000-km warranty on all vehicles we sell online to ensure this quality.
We also include a 10-day or 750-km test-own period. If you don't love your new Clutch vehicle within that period, you can return it risk-free for a full refund or exchange it for another vehicle. This can help you feel confident that you'll find a quality pre-owned vehicle with the features you want at Clutch.