new car options

New Car Options: Stock-Model Blah To Top-of-the-Line WOW!

New Car Options: Stock-Model Blah To Top-of-the-Line WOW!

Looking to buy a new car? These days, carmakers have made it ever more interesting by having a wealth of options that could take your car from stock model blah to top of the line wow. If you have the budget, by all means go for the bells and whistles. But be warned, things really add up and you could end up paying almost double the cost of that base model.

I was reading an article on The Verge by Jason Harper and he had an interesting take on this. He said “when you’re considering a new car and its various options and convenience packages, it’s worth giving serious thought to those you’ll actually use. Just like apps on your phone or gadget conveniences for the kitchen, you’ll soon discover that some car options are worth every dollar, while you’ll never use others.”


What are the most useful options?


Smart Headlights.

Not just for the convenience but more for the added safety, these are headlights that adapt depending on the conditions on the road. There are some that are “active cornering” headlights. In Bimmers, they are called adaptive headlights. They cast their beam in the direction of the curve and move with the steering wheel. This ensures better visibility and safety at night on winding roads.


How does it work? Sensors measure the vehicle’s speed, steering angle and yaw and based on this information, small motors turn the headlights to the left or right so the beam guides you into the bend. Not only do they help around those zigzags, they likewise account for dips and crests in the road. This means, for instance, that the beams also lower so you can see the road below you.  


And while on the subject of headlights, the auto dimming feature is also recommended. For an additional $1,000 or so of lighting upgrade, Harper recommends definitely going for this option.


Incidentally, Ford is developing infrared headlights that will detect pedestrians, cyclists and animals at night. It will alert the driver of up to 8 hazards on the road in a screen in the car. Two spotlights will then move to illuminate the two that pose the most risk for the driver. This would definitely be a useful safety option. Sounds pretty cool to me!

Rain Sensing Wipers, new car options

Rain Sensing Wipers

This allows your car to modulate the speed of windshield wipers depending on the amount of rainfall. It means you can concentrate on driving instead of fiddling around with the controls. I am thinking nice to have, but I wouldn’t pay extra for it.


Crash Avoidance

Technologies that assist the driver with warnings or automatic braking to help avoid a crash or a fender bender are safety features that you would definitely want to consider. These include crash prevention, lane departure warning and prevention and blind spot detection. But there are features that are more useful than some.

Blind Spot Monitoring

Blind spot monitoring is something that you will want in your vehicle. This helps you detect vehicles in your blind spot when you need to change lanes and alerts you when moving vehicles enter your blind spot zone when driving. Another useful option is the Cross Traffic Alert to help you detect approaching vehicles while backing out.


For the options that Harper calls “semi-autonomous features” which are primarily designed to keep you from veering from your lane, he believes that the additional dollars for this driver assistance package is not really worth it. He makes an exception for safety systems that come with this package. They contribute to a safer drive because they will activate the brakes if it senses that you’re about to hit the car in front of you or if the car behind you is about to rear-end yours. He believes that similar systems will eventually mandated by the law.

Heads Up, new car options

HUD or the Heads Up Display

No matter how big your car screens become or how improved the resolutions are, you still have to take your eyes off the road to gather information. This is where HUD’s become super convenient. They make the most important information such as speed, directions or even the next upcoming turn in the navigation system visible on the windshield so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road.  


Other Must Haves?

Because our smartphones are an integral part of our lives, we should be able to use them safely while driving, right? This is where Google’s Android Auto and Apple’s CarPlay come into the picture. These integrate with the vehicle’s existing infotainment system and allow access to navigation, music, messaging, phone calls and a lot more, without you ever looking at your phone.


Though these options are not without their flaws and limitations, they perform much better than the interface that are on many cars. They provide a simpler and ultimately safer way to use the functions you want from your phone while driving.


Options You May Do Without ….

How about a manual winding Breitling watch valued at $170,000? And you don’t wear it on your wrist but install it in your car - your Bentley Bentayga SUV, that is. Or perhaps 1,340 fiber optic nodes on the headliner so it resembles a starlit sky? Or an airscarf for your convertible seat? No, I guess these would be too much. Wait! A starlit sky? Hmm ...


So, what are you thoughts? Are there other options you need in your car?


Tags: new car features, options,  rain-sensing wipers, blind spot detection, heads up display, head light, car crash, avoidance, automatic break