When tech­nolo­gies be­come re­al­ity

New Zealand Company Vehicle - - FROM THE EDITOR - Cathy

Car com­pa­nies keep com­ing up with whizzy new tech­nol­ogy to put in their cars to en­tice buy­ers to their brand or to shell out for a higher spec model. What though is re­ally great to have rather than nice to have – or some­times even just sounds nice to have. Get­ting to drive a wide range of new cars as part of the mag­a­zine's test pro­gramme high­lights what items re­ally make life on the road bet­ter – you ac­tu­ally no­tice this most when you drive a car that lacks a fea­ture you are used to and re­alise just how awe­some that fea­ture was. This last month we seem to have had a se­lec­tion of ve­hi­cles nearer the bot­tom of the model and spec­i­fi­ca­tion food chain so the lack of fea­tures has been more no­tice­able. I have ig­nored things that vir­tu­ally ev­ery car now has such as air con­di­tion­ing, hands free, power steer­ing, ESC, etc. Num­ber one – prox­im­ity keys for start and en­try. My own ve­hi­cle has this – jump into a test car with­out and you sud­denly have to scram­ble in your bag for keys (re­mote) to get in – when this co-in­dices with a wet week, even more of a pain. Ver­dict – well worth the cost and now fairly ubiq­ui­tous. Num­ber two – re­vers­ing cam­era. One of our own fleet does not have one – get­ting it fit­ted next week, great safety aid and def­i­nitely missed. Num­ber three – one you hope you don’t have to use, but a huge com­fort to know you have it – au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing (goes un­der var­i­ous names). Au­to­mat­i­cally brakes be­fore you run up back of car in front. Num­ber four-blind spot as­sis­tance. Again, ac­tual im­ple­men­ta­tion varies car to car but gen­er­ally has a vis­ual (light) warn­ing on the ex­te­rior mir­ror show­ing a car is in the blind spot area plus of­ten an au­di­ble warn­ing if you in­di­cate a lane change, es­pe­cially handy in Auck­land with mo­tor­way and multi-lane roads. Num­ber five-heated seats. Can’t beat them in win­ter es­pe­cially with leather seats and def­i­nitely miss them when not there. I used to rub­bish them be­fore I had them. Who needs heated seats – well I do! Es­pe­cially great for fe­male driv­ers wear­ing skirts (or men wear­ing shorts!). Num­ber six – Ap­ple Carplay (Or An­droid Auto if you are on that team). Much bet­ter con­trol of phone in­te­gra­tion than just Blue­tooth hands free and me­dia stream­ing. When Carplay is fit­ted I tend to favour the phone maps over a built-in GPS and I lis­ten to a lot of pod­casts which you can con­trol via Carplay. The abil­ity to read and re­ply to mes­sages us­ing voice com­mands is also great (and it works un­like a lot of voice con­trol im­ple­men­ta­tions). My next car will def­i­nitely need to have Carplay! Num­ber seven – auto lights. Just so easy – pretty much leave them on auto all the time and never for­get to turn on at night or off when you park. Auto wipers are less use­ful. There are some tech­nolo­gies that whilst great on paper are not al­ways so handy. I would put Lane Keep As­sist in there (Lane De­par­ture Warn­ing is how­ever good) – works well some­times but can also be a pain at oth­ers, sim­i­larly park­ing sen­sors and still have to try the au­to­mated park­ing (My own car has it – never used it). I am sure oth­ers will have their own list – go to our on­line poll to vote for your favourite www.com­pa­nyve­hi­cle.co.nz

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