Top 10 Features New Car Buyers Want

Jason Siu
by Jason Siu

With self-driving cars heading our way, today’s vehicles are packed with advanced, high-tech features.

To see which features are most important to new car shoppers, surveyed 1,000 Americans to determine what’s more important: safety or technology. It’s worth noting that 1,000 people is a rather small sample size, especially considering how many vehicles are sold annually, but there are some interesting takeaways from the study.

SEE ALSO: 5 Safety Features You Probably Didn’t Know Existed

Each respondent scored certain features on a scale of one to five to determine the top 10 most important car features Americans want in their vehicles.

10. Forward Collision Warning

A relatively new advanced safety feature found in today’s vehicles is forward collision warning. The system can alert drivers of an impending collision if there’s a slower moving or stationary car in front, normally with audible alerts. Forward collision warning systems alone do not automatically brake a vehicle.

It got an average score of 3.35 in the study, putting it in 10th place.

8. Rear Parking Sensors (tie)

One safety feature that is becoming more and more common across vehicle lineups are rear parking sensors. Just like their name suggests, rear parking sensors will warn the driver with audible tones if they are getting too close to something located behind their vehicle. The feature had an average score of 3.39 in the study.

8. Rear Automatic Emergency Braking (tie)

You’ve likely seen a video or two of vehicles showing off rear automatic emergency braking. The safety feature is often demonstrated by a vehicle backing out of a driveway and stopping automatically before hitting an object or child on the sidewalk that isn’t visible from the rearview mirror. It tied for eighth place with rear parking sensors with a score of 3.39.

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7. Front Fog Lamps

Not quite as advanced as most of the other safety features on the list, front fog lamps are desired mainly by those in the Midwest. Designed to further illuminate the road, front fog lamps scored 3.42.

6. Back-up Cameras

Rearview cameras will soon be standard on all new vehicles by May 2018. And while they could slightly increase the cost of a vehicle, they are one of the most helpful safety features available today, because they offer a clear view of what’s behind a car while backing up. Respondents to the survey gave it an average score of 3.52.

5. Automatic Emergency Braking

More and more vehicles are offering automatic emergency braking, which engages the brakes if the vehicle detects a collision is imminent and the driver isn’t reacting. These systems have become so important to vehicle safety that both the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) now take them into consideration in overall safety ratings. It averaged a score of 3.57 among survey respondents.

4. Blind Spot Warning

No matter how well designed a vehicle is or how advanced cars have come, there are still blind spots when driving. With sensors becoming cheaper and cheaper to use on vehicles, most cars can now add blind spot warning as a feature. The technology typically illuminates a graphic on the side mirror to notify a driver if there’s a vehicle in their blind spot. In the study, it averaged a score of 3.60.

3. Cruise Control

Cruise control is one of two tech features that made it on the top 10, making it one of the most important features among new car shoppers. Something tells us that in a few years, buyers will prefer the semi-autonomous cruise control systems some vehicles are equipped with now, like Tesla’s Autopilot. Cruise control had an average score of 3.68 in the survey.

2. USB Ports

The most highly rated tech feature is USB ports, something that has basically become a necessity in the world of smart devices. Gone are cigarette lights that are used to charge devices, as more and more vehicles come equipped with numerous USB ports, including some for passengers. Respondents gave USB ports an average score of 3.69.

1. Side Airbags

But of all the high-tech and advanced features available today, respondents of the survey ranked side airbags the highest with an average score of 4.18. In fact, buyers are willing to pay the most money for side airbags compared to all of the other features in the study, and it was most important regardless of geography and age group. It goes to show that no matter how advanced or preventative today’s features can be, car owners prefer to have the peace of mind that their vehicle is equipped with the necessary tools to prevent harm in the case of an accident.

Jason Siu
Jason Siu

Jason Siu began his career in automotive journalism in 2003 with Modified Magazine, a property previously held by VerticalScope. As the West Coast Editor, he played a pivotal role while also extending his expertise to Modified Luxury & Exotics and Modified Mustangs. Beyond his editorial work, Jason authored two notable Cartech books. His tenure at saw him immersed in the daily news cycle, yet his passion for hands-on evaluation led him to focus on testing and product reviews, offering well-rounded recommendations to AutoGuide readers. Currently, as the Content Director for VerticalScope, Jason spearheads the content strategy for an array of online publications, a role that has him at the helm of ensuring quality and consistency across the board.

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  • Kevin Wright Kevin Wright on Jun 23, 2017

    WTF is wrong with people. Can we not use our mk1 eyeballs!? Pay attention to your surroundings and be prepared to stop. Is that not taught in driving schools anymore? Holy crap people are getting stupider everyday, relying on this crap. Give me an old car that has none of it and I will still be safer because I will be following sense of self preservation and not looking at my bloody cellphone for a useless facebook message from some phony friend in California.

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    • Lambo9871 Lambo9871 on Jun 25, 2017

      I don't know how people today can't leave their f****** phone for a few min's, that's why you need all this bull**** like how many emergency braking systems you f****** need don't most people have eyes and feet to look around and brake, and wasn't cruise control suppose to be standard on every car since the 90's i don't know what is wrong with people today.