We don’t have flying cars yet, but super expensive luxury and sports cars can already park themselves, adjust the window tint, or automatically slam the brakes to prevent an accident. While those options haven’t filtered down to the majority of vehicles yet, here are some amazing car features in ordinary vehicles that keep you safe, make driving easier, or are just plain cool.
Steering Wheel Mounted Audio Controls: This “safety feature” is a must have for music lovers. Most systems will let you adjust the volume, CD track, change CDs, or switch between different CD and radio without taking your hands off the wheel, making enjoying your music nearly effortless.
Intelligent key: This is a type of remote keyless entry that allows you to enter your vehicle and start it without taking it out of your pocket. Some of these systems also have a sleek push button start.
Touch Screen GPS: Not only will these systems guide you through unfamiliar terrain, the touch screen makes them incredibly easy to operate.
Memory Seats: This feature allows you to save two different settings for the driver’s seat, so if someone else drives your vehicle, just press a button and it returns to your saved setting. Some models even link the setting to each key, and will adjust automatically.
Heated and Cooled Seats: Leather has always had a reputation for being cold in the winter and hot in the summer, but with heated and cooled seats, drivers’ bottoms will be comfortable in any season.
Telescopic Steering Column: In addition to tilting up or down, the steering wheel can be pulled closer to you, or pushed further away, allowing increased comfort, especially on long trips. In some luxury models, this is a power option and can be set as part of your memory seat system.
Advanced Airbag Systems: Once upon a time, cars didn’t even have seat belts. Now intuitive safety systems use body panel sensors to determine where an impact comes from, how severe the accident is, and uses this information to deploy the proper airbags at a rate proportionate to the force of the accident, occupant weight, and seat position.
Stability Control Systems: Taking traction control one step further, these systems monitor individual wheel speed and direction, as well as driver input, to determine if control is ever lost, and can increase or decrease power to individual wheels to help the driver maintain control. These systems are so effective that they will eliminate any loss of traction, even full throttle acceleration in rear wheel drive, 300+ horsepower vehicles on gravel or mud.
Adaptive Cruise Control: This technology allows the car to slow down or speed up in relation to surrounding traffic.
Bluetooth: Talk hands free on your cell phone using your vehicle’s speakers and a hidden microphone. Unlike other systems, it uses your cell phone minutes instead of requiring an additional service.
Most of these options aren’t standard in economy cars yet, but they may be soon. Side air bags are standard equipment in many cars, and all these features can be found in vehicles less than $35,000, and most in vehicles around $20,000 to $25,000.