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, CheapCarInsurance.net 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.
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.
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.