Around a decade ago, always on lights became a thing in Europe. A safety feature that I believe originated in Sweden, it became part of automative regulations in Europe around 2011 and it wasn't long before we saw cars with daytime running lights on the road.
We own two cars, one from 2010 and another from 2012 so one adheres to the directive, while the other doesn't. But there are quite a few things that at least one of them doesn't offer which is very frustrating for something that costs many thousands of pounds, something you live with for years and when you look at other technology from the same era.
So here are the features I think should be standard on every car, grouped by their purpose:
Electric windows that open and close with one touch
Our 2010 model does have electric windows, but you have to keep the buttons pressed to go up and down rather than a 'gesture' to make it happen. Perhaps in newer models it's standard, but if it's not it really should be.
As a bonus, every window should be under the driver's control.
Quick clear windscreens
This probably comes under improving efficiency too, but if every car offered an option to clear the windscreen in seconds, then you wouldn't need to leave it running to warm it up.
But more importantly, is getting it to be clear before you set off. Surprisingly our 2010 car has this feature but our 2012 one only has climate control which takes time to warm up.
One of those features I would guess hardly anyone uses unless they're on the motorway, but it's something I find very useful. Hit your speed, lock it in and you never have to worry about looking down at how fast you're going. Concentrate on what's ahead and be ready to brake. In our 2010 model, it's missing despite it being automatic which I actually thought went hand-in-hand, but in our 2012 model it's a feature that works fantastically with the hybrid engine.
Temporary indicators for changing lanes
Like how you can temporarily invoke your windscreen wipers, doing the same with your indicators is such a convenient thing when changing lanes. Driving with an indicator ticking away can be annoying when you only needed them for a second or two. At speed, they won't turn themselves off, but this is a great feature we have in one of our cars.
Front and rear parking sensors
How this isn't standard already is beyond me. I'm not talking about cameras, just sensors to tell you when you're getting close. Avoid minor collisions, give drivers more confidence and give all people parking the most information available so that they can park properly. Rear sensors seem to be standard but depending on the manufacturer and trim level, you can fork out quite a bit on upgrades before you see sensors added to the front.
Performance and efficiency
Hybrids should already be the dominant engine format, without question. Quieter at low speeds, self charging through retentive braking and a performance boost when you need it. Plug-in hybrids would be even better but no need to go crazy. Just supplement the amount of CO2 emitted with a small battery and add stop-start technology for even better economy.
I love our 2012 hybrid, it only adds about 1.7miles of range but as it runs through each cycle, I can hit around 45mpg which is almost twice as good as any petrol car I've owned before and for the type of driving we do is as much or more than we'd achieve with a diesel car.
Hybrid technology would also be a good way for drivers to get over range anxiety. The closer you get to a 50/50 split of power between traditional gasoline and electric the better.
I'm a big fan of the sunroof. My first three cars had no climate control but only two had sunroof and what a difference they made in the summer. Far more economical than sticking climate control on when all you need to do is let the air escape. Perhaps there's less difference if you've got your windows open too, but I still open my windows now (climate control) off so that I can enjoy the fresh air.
Bluetooth for audio and telephony
Our 2010 model car doesn't have a bluetooth connection, but does have phone controls on the dashboard which is a result of cost saving. All models got the buttons to control the feature, but not all have the feature which is insane. And we're talking about 2010 when all phones offered Bluetooth.
Another case of cost saving, our 2012 model car says DAB, but it's nowhere in sight. It's a format that's been around for well over a decade, maybe even two at the time of writing, but it's adoption at the time was poor.
Self adjusting clocks
The real answer is to ditch daylight savings time, but we're talking about cars so surely they can be programmed to take care of this issue. I mean we know when it's going to happen, so support the current date and sort it out yourselves.
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