Sunday 18 March 2018

Eight 'new things' I'd sorely miss in a car - and one 'oldie' I really want back

Proper spare wheel
Proper spare wheel
Reversing camera
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

As a motoring journalist I am privileged to drive and sample a broad range of cars and their equipment.

It's remarkable how quickly one becomes so accustomed to gadgets and gizmos that add to the fun of driving and, of course, to the car's safety.

I'm sure buyers feel the same after a while.

All of a sudden, items we only encountered for the first time a few years ago are now essential.

Such, I suppose, is the price of progress. The more we make, the greater the appetite we generate.

For example, 10 years ago a reversing camera was a relative luxury, a rarity, a seven-day wonder in more mainstream cars.

Now? Well I for one whinge when I don't have one to guide or beep-beep me to a safe slot in a tight parking area.

I'll tell you one great way of finding out what you'd miss most: sit in a 10 to 12-year-old car for a few minutes. Frightening.

Yet the tens of thousands of people driving older cars don't seem particularly upset that they haven't some of the stuff we have come to rely on.

Why? Because they are not accustomed to it.

The rest of us? We're spoilt in comparison.

Which got me wondering about what I would miss most. Here, in no particular order, are some of my 'must haves'. You probably have as many more. Let me know.

Reversing camera

1. I really would miss a reversing camera, preferably one aligned to sensors and with loud beeps. I think drivers and those near them are at their most vulnerable when reversing.

2. I'd miss Bluetooth big time. Maybe it's been around longer than 10 years. Doesn't matter. Absolutely need it.

3. Of course, there is the clutter of unseen stuff you don't miss on a daily basis - until it's too late maybe. Such as ABS or ESC. Longer with us than 10 years, for sure, but it would be wrong of me not to mention them. Vital.

4. Heads-up display. I'd pay to have this on each car I drive. It's not on all. I miss being able to see what speed I'm doing, what radio station I'm on, MPG etc without taking my eyes off the road. It should be on everything. It's a safety aid.

5. Lane Departure/Blindspot Warnings. In tight traffic both are a boon. I don't rely on them but there is great reassurance in knowing they're there. I'm sure they have prevented a good few side swipes.

6. Fuel nozzles that won't let you put diesel in petrol or vice versa.

7. Air conditioning. Obvious and I know it seems like a given but only recently has it spread into the vast majority of cars. Try driving one without it now.

8. Automatic headlights are one of the great inventions. They dim when they have to and go full on when needed. Not universally available but they will be in the near future. Takes some of the pain out of night driving.

9. One of the big misses is not new at all but they have taken them away: Proper spare wheels. Too many cars have feckity, gooey contraptions most people can't use.

I always feel distinctly uneasy if I don't see a solid spare. Ten years ago most cars had proper wheels in the boot. People should be told they have the option of buying one.

Indo Motoring

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