When shopping for a family car, there are a lot of things you shouldn’t go without – plenty of seating, ample cargo room, additional airbags – but oftentimes some of the more non-essential amenities get overlooked when they shouldn’t. We’ve rounded up a number of features that you’ll really want to have on your next family car.
You know how you’re always using your phone in the car? Well, Apple CarPlay makes it easy to sync your iPhone to your vehicle. Basically, whatever you want to do with your phone, Apple CarPlay lets you easily do it on the dash display. You can make calls, access music and podcasts, send and receive messages, access maps and GPS and much more. While many automakers have their own interface, Apple CarPlay makes things easy, and because you’re not fiddling with your phone, it’s also safer.
While not available with every car, you can get it with select Audi and Buick cars as well as most Cadillac models, including the luxurious XTS
Built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi
Sometimes it can be nice to take the Internet with you while driving. Having a car equipped with blazing fast 4G LTE Wi-Fi can be a helpful thing for long trips or if you work from your car a lot. You won't have to worry as much about using too much data on your phone and, in many cases, the Wi-Fi from your car’s hotspot will be faster. While not available on all vehicles, there are a number of cars and trucks out there that offer 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspots. Chevy has several models, including the Chevy Colorado.
Sensors and cameras are becoming more and more common as time goes on. This allows for better visibility and increased safety. By knowing where you are and where everything is around your car, you can more easily avoid obstacles while parking and pulling out of tight spaces. A number of vehicles have this feature on them, but Infiniti models, such as the Q50, have had an Around View camera option for a few years now, giving the driver the ability to see everywhere at once.
Ever have your hands full and not be able to reach your liftgate’s handle? With an auto-opening liftgate, you don’t have to actually open the liftgate yourself. This comes in handy when you’re holding a bag of groceries in one hand and a hungry child in the other. Power liftgates appear on a number of different vehicles from Hyundai, Chevrolet, Toyota, Nissan Buick, Cadillac and more. Typically, they show up on larger CUVs or SUVs, like the GMC Terrain, but they can also appear on cars with liftgates.
Lane Keeping Assist
A system that actively keeps the driver in the correct lane goes by many different names. Toyota and Honda call it Lane Keeping Assist, Mercedes-Benz calls it Active Lane Keeping Assist. No matter what it’s called, it helps keep the car on the road and reduces the risk of accident, which is a must. For example, the Honda CR-V features both a lane departure warning that detects when the car strays out of its lane and a lane keeping assist system that will gently ease you back into your lane should you leave your lane without signaling.
Automatic High Beams
Automatic high beams may seem commonplace on cars now, but they aren’t standard across the board. Automatic high beams sense when high beams are needed and turn them on accordingly. This can have a dramatic effect on visibility, which in turn increases the level of safety. Most automakers have at least one model with automatic high beam headlights. Perfect examples of vehicles with automatic high beams are the Ford Explorer or the Jeep Grand Cherokee. If you’re unsure if the car you’re interested has them or not, visit the manufacturer’s website. It should be listed under the features.
Real-time Traffic GPS
Any GPS is better than no GPS, but if you get into traffic or construction, you may have been better off without it. That’s why a GPS with real-time traffic updates is so important. It will show you where problematic areas are so you can avoid them. Some of the more affordable car brands may not have real-time traffic on their vehicles, but Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Cadillac have it on most of their models. The Cadillac CTS, for example, has a highly rated real-time traffic GPS system.