The #1 ‘Must-Have’ Feature on New Cars for Potential Owners
When you’re shopping for a new car, your ideal choice should be one that provides a lot of value for the price. Consider the vehicle’s powertrain selection, fuel costs, interior quality, and predicted reliability. Ideally, your new car should also have a healthy variety of both safety and convenience technology features.
According to a recent study, there are certain advanced driver’s safety system (ADAS) features that drivers can’t live without. Which one is the most popular?
Blind-spot monitoring: a new car’s most important safety feature?
A Cars.com survey concluded that 56% of drivers want new cars with either standard or available blind-spot monitors (BSM). BSM gives you a visible alert whenever another car approaches one of your blind spots, usually displayed on the driver’s side mirror.
Most BSM systems use bumper-mounted sensors, though a few also use actual cameras. BSM systems usually only stay engaged at speeds between 20-35 mph.
While different automakers may offer this feature with slightly different name variations, they all perform the same function. BSM is standard on many luxury vehicles and a handful of more affordable cars, such as the Hyundai Elantra and Nissan Sentra. Fortunately, most cars offer BSM on other trims besides the base model.
Drivers value blind-spot monitors more than any other tech feature
According to 49% of the Cars.com value study participants, automatic emergency braking (AEB) is another sought-after ADAS feature.
AEB automatically deploys the brakes when it detects an oncoming obstacle that might cause a collision. A few automakers also offer rear automatic emergency braking, which stops your car in reverse if there’s a potential obstacle behind it.
AEB is a standard feature in many modern cars, though some of them might also be bundled with pedestrian detection. AEB is also commonly paired with forward-collision warning, alerting the driver that the brakes are about to be activated. FCW alone can’t brake the car for you.
Many standard ADAS suites also have lane departure warning (LDW), a feature that 35% of shoppers value the most. LDW sends you an audible alert when it detects you’re driving outside lane markers. Some cars also have lane-keeping assist or lane-centering assist, which automatically adjusts your steering.
A slightly higher percentage of shoppers (38%) think that smartphone integration is more important than LDW. It syncs your Android or Apple device directly with the infotainment system, allowing you to access apps or use hands-free talk/text more conveniently.
Though there are a few notable exceptions, most modern cars offer both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard equipment. Some cars are even compatible with Amazon Alexa devices. Wireless smartphone integration has also increased in popularity recently, though it’s typically reserved for pricier trims.
Why are blind-spot monitors important?
Studies have shown that BSM systems, when paired with careful driving, can help mitigate the severity of car accidents. One IIHS report found that BSM can reduce injuries in lane-related accidents by up to 23%. With BSM equipped, you’re also 14% more likely to avoid a lane-related collision altogether.
BSM systems can be essential for driving a bigger vehicle like a minivan or a large SUV. Smaller cars have fewer blind spots but might also have tinier windows that hamper visibility. BSM can also give you some extra protection if you’re driving a sports car, which probably sits lower to the ground.
However, even good visibility and a high driving position can’t always protect you when heavy fog or rain rolls in. Blind-spot monitors work regardless of weather or lighting conditions.
Drivers seem to agree that BSM is worth the money, so don’t feel bad splurging on a different trim or tech package. In fact, since higher trims often have premium interior materials and more tech features, these cars may be more valuable in the long run.