Buying a new car can be an experienced fluffed by wonder and excitement. What wonderfully useful car features shall await you in your future endeavors? Not only does the new vehicle smell delicious, but it’s a host of technologically advanced features as if the days of roll-up windows and screen-less radios were etched in cave paintings. You can easily get swept up in the novelty of it all.
Overall, the act of purchasing a new vehicle (whether actually new or new to you) is a price journey. We live in a time where used cars are more expensive than their new counterparts, for Pete’s sake. If you do not have an endless treasure chest of cash, finding the perfect car within your price range can mean leaving a plethora of features behind.
Pay extra for a TV in the back? You kidding me? I can barely afford to walk outside of my house.
If you are attempting to balance useful car features versus price like the final piece on a house of shaky cards, you may have to pick those most convenient to you. Therefore, we are going to break down the most useful car features in 2022.
If you are looking for the opposite article, we broke down the most useless car features over here.
10. Heads-up Display
Firstly, it seems important to note: the options on this list are going to be all over the place. A majority of them will be safety features while the others are based on cool-factor. Of course, safety reigns supreme. If you are only able to choose a few useful car features, those involving safety should always come first. That’s just economics.
But, ranking the most useful car features, and not the best safety or fun features, requires a unique scale. Does its usefulness in driving ease weigh more than the other feature’s usefulness in driving safety? Who knows?
Regardless, we will start with the Heads-up Display (HUD) because it’s just too cool not to mention.
HUD is one of the objectively coolest car features on new vehicles. Basically, it is a light projection on the dashboard. This projection displays things like your speedometer and incoming alerts.
These navigational indicators make it so a driver never has to take their eye off the road, not even to check their ongoing speed. It’s both fascinating and impressive.
9. Remote Start
Ever found a thin layer of skin scorched into your leather seat on a hot day? You were in a rush and didn’t have time to let the car cool down. As you sat, clinching the nerve-burning steering wheel, you wished there was an easier way.
Ever found yourself sitting in your frigid car, waiting for the warmth to crack and melt the ice on the window? You could have sat inside as your car heated up, drinking a cup of tea. If only there was a way to start the car without turning a key, letting the climate system do its job.
Remote starters speak for themselves. There’s a reason they are standard on most modern vehicles. Especially in Colorado, where the weather is as fluctuating as the stock market.
8. Heated Seats
Riding off of the Colorado weather, we must note the undeniable convenience and comfort of heated seats.
There’s nothing better than a toasty ride through a winter wonderland. The heated seats add a level of comfort that is able to put to sleep even the stubbornest of car ride snoozers.
2021 saw the fifth coldest week in Denver in over three decades, so. Now might be the time to invest.
7. Multizone Climate System
We all have that one friend. The human that seems incapable of holding in body heat. We all have the other friend, the one seemingly steaming at the other end of the spectrum. The human that seems incapable of shedding body heat. I refer to them as the Human Torch and Iceman.
When Colorado starts to dip into the in-between seasons, it can be nearly impossible to predict both the weather and what level of garments are necessary. When this middle ground strikes, passengers may find themselves uncomfortable. Human Torch wants full-blowing air conditioning. Iceman wants a little heat on his feet.
Multizone climate systems allow every passenger in the car to be comfortable. Each area of the vehicle can have its own temperature settings. A beautiful invention for us that are always frigid.
6 Built-In Navigation
The wonderful convenience behind phone-based GPS systems is hard to refute. A world so confusing and littered with winding roadways can now be navigated by the device we carry in our pockets. It’s almost impossible to get lost in the modern age of technology.
Unfortunately, the size and mobile factor of cell phones can make using the navigational features a pain (and extremely dangerous) while driving. It’s important to keep your eyes on the road, after all, not some handheld device.
Luckily, most modern cars come standard with a built-in screen. These screens often feature a navigation system, making the ride-and-look maneuver much easier for us GPS drivers.
It’s also important to note that with the influx of ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft, built-in navigation has made drivers’ lives much easier (and safer).
5. Forward Collision Detection
Any car features that help prevent accidents have to be seen as useful. Right?
The Forward Collision Alert is a small camera fixated on the windshield. It works to detect the conditions of the road in front of you. If an obstacle comes in your path (i.e. a stopping car or animal), it will provide a visual or audio alert, giving you ample time to stop or slow down.
The reason this safety feature is so low on the list (compared to the others upcoming) is the lack of actual practicality. Sure, having a sensor is nice and can give you a heads-up if you aren’t looking at the road, but if you are driving and staying aware, it’s fairly useless. Often, the system doesn’t brake for you. It just lets you know there’s a car close in front of you.
Anyone paying attention could see that.
4. Bluetooth Functionality
In our useless car features article, we poked fun at car radios. What is the use for them, anyway? When was the last time someone asked to turn on the local pop station?
We live in a time of podcasts and music streaming services. Any song, from earworm to hidden local band only your friend with the ponytail knows about, is available at your fingertips. Why not be able to play it loudly and proudly in your vehicle?
Don’t be that person without Bluetooth functionality in their vehicle. No one wants to ride in a car that can’t play their favorite music on demand.
If Bluetooth wasn’t almost a definite in modern cars, this would easily be number one.
3. Backup Camera
If you have ever lived in a city, you understand the anxiety that builds around parallel parking. Even as an expert, you still may find yourself in a challenging duel between your boxy car and an ever-narrowing spot. How much space do you actually have behind you? Is this the time you finally mess up?
If you live in a city with a surplus of denizens and a shortage of parking spaces, you need parking cameras. The backup camera allows you to see behind you, making fitting into narrow spaces a breeze.
Furthermore, backup cameras allow you to reverse like a pro. You don’t even have to turn your head around. Talk about physical ease!
2. Automatic Emergency Braking
The top-two features on this list are both safety-oriented. Ultimately, these next two car features are not only useful but potentially lifesaving. Therefore, I will refrain from the jokey nature of the entries above.
Automatic emergency braking may be the most important car feature in modern vehicles. You never know what may happen when you are behind the wheel. The braking system will help pull your car to a stop if something gets too close to the sensor. For example, if your car detects you are about to collide with an object and you aren’t paying attention, it will brake for you.
While this isn’t a feature you should rely on for daily use, its practicality when emergency strikes could be the difference between an accident and a harsh stop.
Honestly, it should be a requirement for all new vehicles.
1. Blind-Spot Monitors
While the aforementioned braking system may be the most important car add-on, it’s not necessarily the most useful. As stated, it should not be something used outside of emergencies (which hopefully doesn’t happen every day).
What does happen every day? The stressful risk of the infamous blind spot.
Changing lanes on the highway can call for one of the most stressful moments in driving. Is there a car right on your tail? Right out of site of your mirrors?
Luckily, the blind spot monitors detect if a car is on your side, beeping or flashing a light to let the driver know. Consequently, this makes the uncertainty of changing lanes nonexistent.
It may be a personal pick, but blind-spot monitors are our most useful of available car features. I know it helps squash my least favorite part of driving, at least.