Given I drive around 100 new cars a year, I can say with some conviction the following items are a must have. When I say “must have” I mean all the little things that annoy me each week. In fact, to put it bluntly this is just a list of things that piss me off.
Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
Plenty of people will walk away from a car if these two smartphone features are missing. In fact, I remember being filthy that the new Toyota Corolla hatch missed out. Since then Toyota has gone on to throw it in the HiAce and RAV4 but as you can see below, it’s a complicated matter. Some poor customers will even need to fork out some cash for the privilege.
All new cars need this, it’s very simplistic technology. A window mounted sensor is activated once a droplet of water lands on it, changing the way light is received by the sensor. I swear the Nissan Pathfinder still lacks this feature.
There are still many vehicles that don’t have air directed towards those in back seat. Surprisingly this usually happens in smaller SUV’s. Just two little vents, that’s all we want!
I’m keeping this as its own must have. When I’m driving there’s a good chance I’ll want my side several degrees cooler than my wife’s side. The only problem with some of these systems is trying to find the “Sync” button, this is for when you’re flying solo and want the same temp all-round. The Hyundai Ioniq EV has a driver only system, blowing cool air but entirely targeted on you. Much more lavish systems offer tri-zone or even four-zone air-conditioning
Let me just be a tosser for a sec. I’ve driven off in a Ferrari, Lamborghini or McLaren to suddenly realise there’s no holder at all. That’s a massive problem when you’re driving around in a car that’s more expensive than your house and you’re juggling a can of Red Bull.
Look for a car with deep door pockets that can accommodate at least a 1-litre bottle. The centre console should have at least two holders, but they should also be capable of securing cans and bottles of varying size. In the rear is often a fold down arm rest, it too should have cup holders.
While hardly ground breaking tech, this is another must have. We’re at a point now where analogue instrument clusters are becoming rare. In fact, in some cases, like the Tesla Model 3 there’s just a screen that sits front and centre. I feel far more comfortable seeing the numbers tick over as opposed to a needle that’s often dimly lit, with smallish fonts.
Headlights continue to evolve, but right now LED technology is what to look out for. LED headlights cast a white and very bright beam, leaving typical halogen lights for dead. Some of the more sophisticated systems even help bend light around corners, or have automatic high-beam that stays on, but shifts light away from oncoming motorists and even reflective road signs.
There is just so much shit we need to charge these days. From watches, tablets, laptops and phones, everyone wants a slice of the action. Some vehicles like the Mercedes-Benz CLA 200 I’m driving this week have four USB-C ports. That’s good long-term thing, but they do throw in a standard USB adapter if needed.
Often my wife will jump into the passenger seat and reveal its manually adjusted. 90 per cent of the time the drivers seat scores electric seats, and I do I enjoy telling her that. But really, come on brands. In some European vehicles you can manipulate the seat in what feels like 27 ways. Others even offer a massage function.
Sun visor light
Why a mirror would be installed on the back of a visor, but not a light is frankly an atrocity. The better systems turn the light on when you open the mirror cover. Ladies, I hear ya.