There are some things that are just flat out luxury items. What do I mean by that? Well, let’s head to the online Supercar Market and find out. Aston Martin released a watch, called the Jaeger LeCoultre AMVOX3 Transponder, which is essentially a high-end luxury watch (so you got to move it mechanically, obviously), but also was connected to its DB9 or Rapide doors, meaning you could unlock and lock the doors from your watch. It cost $30K. Folks, the car itself cost somewhere like $180K. (It’s a nice watch, if you were curious at all, though.)
And then you still have some random things that can be done to a hypercar—like getting full carbon-fiber bodywork on a Pagani Huayra—which cost somewhere around additional $152K. But that isn’t even the most absurd luxury feature that you can imagine, especially when you compare it to the base price of $1.44M. That credit goes to berserk Bentley.
For the 2017 Bentayga, Bentley released a mechanical clock that cost a whopping $170K. You know what a Bentayga itself costs? $232K. That’s an option that is more than half the price of the entire car itself. If you want to know what exclusivity means, let me help you. The watch is made by only one craftsman, and his top speed is one every three months. So a total of four clocks are offered every year (C/D).
Now that I have set the perspective, let’s dive into what features you should make sure your car has.
20 KEYLESS ENTRY
This is a nice feature, although I think it’s so common that I’d imagine every car maker has these in the base models. But if not, definitely don’t buy it. The idea is simple. As long as you’re within some distance of the car, the remote keyless system can communicate with the car and doors can become unlocked when you approach them. You won’t have to illuminate the door handle with your phone and then try to fit the key in the hole in pitch dark. You've just got to place your hand somewhere near the door handles, and that’s it. No more scratches either.
19 POWER-FOLDING ILLUMINATED MIRRORS
This is a neat feature to have. As soon as you lock the car after getting out, the mirrors rotate inward and take a fetal position, giving you a bigger safety margin, just in case someone in a rush comes in with a beater.
Plus, it's nice for a car to give you a “welcome ritual.”
But that’s not the only reason for having this. The spotlight on the bottom of the mirrors can shine bright light on the ground, which will allow you to see where you’re stepping, which helps in the dark.
18 HEATED HEADLAMPS
Here’s another dope feature to make sure a new car has. There was a time when Volvo used to equip its cars with wipers on the headlamps. The idea was great, but the reality, not so much. The wipers wouldn’t work sometimes, but even when they worked, the problem during the winter would have persisted. The wipers can wipe off water droplets from rain, but what about frozen ice? That’s just not doable.
So that’s why you get headlamps that are heated that will make sure your field vision stays brightly illuminated. The heat doesn’t have to be the fancy one you get inside the car, just some wasted heat from the engine can be channeled.
17 SURROUND VIEW CAMERA
I’m pretty sure all car manufacturers offer some sort of a basic backup camera. However, not all models come equipped standard with such cameras. The backup camera is the bare minimum that every car should have.
It really helps with parking and seeing things, throwing the whole guessing thing out the window.
But the camera technology in cars didn’t stop with backup cameras. Now we have got surround-view cameras, which capture not only the rear, but the remaining three directions too. And then the computer gives you an aerial view of your car. That way, you don’t have to guess anything at all.
16 AUTOMATIC PARKING
Here’s another very nice feature to have, although if I’m being honest with you, it will take a few more years before this feature sprinkles down to average cars. While the cameras might help you for most of the parking places, sometimes tight parking spaces can be difficult; sometimes parallel parking itself is difficult. And while cameras can help you, you still need to know how to park reasonably well.
Well, what if you don’t? Simple, make sure your car has automatic parking. You can totally be out of the car and the car can park itself. You can even activate the system from a smartwatch for some models.
15 WORKING AIRBAG WEIGHT SENSOR
There are many things on this list that are all nice to have but this one may be the most important one to have. I don’t know how this one needs to be fixed, but there had better be a good solution to this. What essentially happens is that when a light-weight passenger rides shotgun, the airbag weight sensors don’t sense a passenger under a certain weight threshold, which causes the system to tell the car not to deploy passenger side airbags in case of an accident. That’s all fine for your 30-lb gym bag, but is not for a 90-lb fully grown adult female.
14 REMOTE START
Here’s another one that you should definitely have. You can see the progression in car technology. First, it was the ability to gain entry into a car with a remote key fob, and when that was achieved, it came down to being able to start the car from a within-range remote location.
While this one doesn’t help much during the summer, it’s one of the best features to have during the winter.
Imagine being able to start your car—and the heater, which is the whole point of this—from the kitchen five minutes prior to leaving. You come out of a warm house and go into a warm car.
13 LED HEADLIGHTS
In this day and age, where every other car is… eh, don’t even worry about comparing what every other car has. Just check out the beauty of the LED headlights. These lights look so rad and so much clearer and sharper that it’s kind of hard to not get enthralled by them.
Oh, in case you needed another reason: these LED lights require much less energy from your battery.
It’s just so much better with these lights, seriously. If you don’t believe me, just do a google search to see pictures and videos showing the difference. It’s a world of difference.
12 INFOTAINMENT SYSTEM
This one is another good one to have. There was a time a few years ago when people didn’t have a screen on the center console. Well, there was a screen, but it was large enough to show only the radio channel that was playing.
But things have changed so much that this thing has become standard. I highly doubt that there is any recent car out there that doesn’t have an infotainment system, but I listed it here just in case. A sat-nav is an optional feature, as I think the smartphones do a better and more efficient job.
11 HEADS-UP DISPLAY
It wasn’t that long ago that these heads-up displays (HUDs) were reserved for fighter jets and sci-fi vehicles. But now we've reached a time where common cars are coming equipped with HUDs, which I think is an important step in the technological advancement of cars and driving experience.
Such a feature allows drivers to not have to look away from the road to check vital information. It should be noted that some features are just a little too much. I don’t want the HUD to tell me I’m tailgating the guy in front of me—I can shift my eye focus a few centimeters above the HUD and see that myself.
10 ABILITY TO TURN OFF TRACTION AND STABILITY CONTROL
This one might not be that necessary for a standard car package. After all, in a basic model, you do always want to make sure the traction and stability control are on to make sure you don’t careen off the road.
But what if you have a sports model and have a penchant for the track?
In that case, you’ll want to make sure there is a way to completely disable traction and stability control. Otherwise, the car will keep applying brake pressure to the slipping wheel and torque to the opposite wheel. Those much-needed safeties serve to only annoy you on the track.
9 HEATED SEATS
You don’t have to be living in the coldest climate on the planet to appreciate this feature. Sure, it will definitely help you in such a climate, and you’ll use it for a long period of time. But even if you live in a place that gets bouts of cold weather, you’ll appreciate heaters that keep your seat warm. You don’t have to leave it on forever, either. All you need is a few minutes of it being on, as that 40-degree-plus difference is a little too much for the body to accommodate without giving you much of a headache; this thing helps ease the transition.
8 HEATED STEERING WHEELS
Here’s another pretty neat one, heated steering wheels. If you don’t have this, you have probably tried to steer with insulated mittens, but ended up with a grip like that of a dog. Or if you’re someone like me, you might try to stretch your jacket sleeve up to your palms and fingers.
But there’s a solution. It’s called heated steering wheels.
A lot of pickup trucks offer heated steering wheel and if that wasn’t convincing enough, just know that motorcycles have heated grips too.
7 WIFI HOTSPOT
This one really depends on your lifestyle and your activities. If you have a family and kids, this one probably becomes a must-have feature. If you drive solo, not so much, unless you’re a dangerous driver.
But seriously, if you travel frequently with your family, it’s a good idea to get a hotspot for the duration of the trip. Passengers can binge-watch something or read stuff online. And if you happen to get stuck in a non-moving traffic because of something as massive as “all lanes blocked” on the highway, it will come in handy to use that time wisely.
6 ADAPTIVE HEADLIGHTS
While LED headlights are significantly better than the old, clunky halogens, technology has come farther than that. (And honestly, LED headlights are kind of old by now.) So what’s the newest deal? It’s adaptive headlights. Yes, that means the headlights adapt to something. And here, they adapt to your steering wheel, meaning each time you turn, they kind of follow the direction of the turn, giving you light through and through.
Not a lot of cars have this feature, so it’s going to be difficult to find it, but give it a couple more years, and it should start showing up everyone.
5 NIGHT VISION
This is another pretty good feature to have. No matter how good your eyes are, no matter what you do, there are some things that you simply can’t see. Technology has defeated us in certain areas, including night vision.
This system basically uses infrared light to detect any thermal energy. That means things like pedestrians, cyclists, and deer (or any animal) can be easily detected far in advance, after which the system will alert the driver.
While you might not care about the deer so much, you definitely care about your car. The current cost of these things is high, but it’s another important and long-run cost-saving thing to have.
4 MULTIPLE DRIVING MODES
This is also a good feature to have. While as a human being, the more you stay consistent with your behaviors, the more you’ll be successful—well, at least as long as they are not detrimental behaviors—the same can’t be said of cars. Here, you should have the ability to change from one driving mode to another, as doing so can save fuel economy and improve engine performance.
Of course, a lot of cars have this feature, but they vary from one to another; Fiats and Ferraris will do different things in different modes. Some common modes are Normal, Eco, Comfort, Sport, Individual and Track.
3 HANDS-FREE LIFTGATE
For 2013, Ford did a pretty nice thing with the Escape and escaped the tyranny of mediocrity. They installed an automatic liftgate, which does exactly what you might think it does.
That’s right, the automatic liftgate, aka the hands-free liftgate, allows you to wave your foot under the rear bumper, which will automatically open the trunk for you (just have the key fob with you).
That’s a pretty neat thing to have. I can’t count the number of times I have had to place my items on the ground, open the trunk, and then put them in.
2 BLIND-SPOT MONITOR & LANE-KEEP ASSIST
I’m not the biggest fan of this, but I think it should be here, just in case. Most people are always careful with changing lanes, but there's always that one time—and that one time is exactly what can lead to tragedy. Don’t slack off when changing lanes. Check your blind spots and make sure you’re not doing it on a whim.
Lane-keep assist is a similar thing that makes sure you’re not crossing the lines of your lane when not needed; it keeps your car centered. This system can use the brakes and the steering wheel to make adjustments to make sure your car is centered.
1 AUTOMATIC EMERGENCY BRAKING
This is probably one of the most essential features to have. It could save your life. I actually remember a time when I had a fender bender a couple of years ago. The car ahead of me stopped suddenly—because the car ahead of that had stopped suddenly—and I while slammed my brakes, I heard a “THUMP.” No dents; minor, if any, scratches. We both parted ways as if nothing had happened. But that wouldn’t have worked at highway speeds. And that’s what automatic emergency braking is for. It uses radar to assess the scenario several cars ahead and can take over brakes and steering in an emergency.
Sources: R&T.com; cheatsheet.com