New car features and tech you definitely need

New car features and tech you definitely need
Remember when we thought that electric windows were the be-all and end-all of in-car technology?

These days, cars come with kit that make every part of driving easier – from helping you reverse safely to warming your hands up on a winter’s morning. 

Here’s our guide to the new car tech you don’t want to miss out on.

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Built-in car massage seats

What are built-in car massage seats?

Adding that extra touch of indulgence to your everyday commute, car seats with built-in massage features use pulsing motions in the seat for a touch of relaxation. 

Why do I need built-in car massage seats?

Sure, you could argue that no-one needs massage seats in their car, but have you tried one yet? 

If you spend a lot of time on the road, be it criss-crossing the UK or even venturing further afield, you’ll definitely appreciate the extra support and relaxation offered by a seat that gives your sore back some relief.

Some massage seats are so advanced you can even choose from a variety of massage styles – just remember to keep your focus solely on the road if you’re behind the wheel, regardless how relaxing treatment you’re getting is!

Car head-up display

What is a car head-up display?

Turn on a head-up display (HUD) and you’ll feel part-gamer part-fighter pilot as essential information like speed limits and fuel levels are beamed up onto the windscreen. 

Why do I need an automotive head-up display?

The display can show your speed, fuel level and even what you can expect from the road ahead, letting you prepare in advance; improving the safety of yourself and other road users. 

Switching on the HUD can significantly reduce the distance you have to look to check on your speed, fuel level or navigation, which can also help you avoid any distractions and keep your eyes on the road for longer.

Who knows? In the near future, augmented reality elements might be shown on the HUD, highlighting your route ahead, or drawing your attention to potential hazards.

Cooled seats

What are cooled seats?

Cooled seats (also known as air-conditioned seats) are exactly what you’d expect – car seats that keep you cool by either having aircon elements or small fans installed within them to keep the air around you moving. 

Why do I need cooled seats?

If you’re the type of driver who runs hot – especially in the summer months – cooled seats could help you keep your calm behind the wheel, supplementing your aircon system with focused air directed through your seat. 

As well as being a welcome relief on those sticky days, some also argue cooled seats are more efficient than traditional aircon systems as they cool the occupants down directly, instead of trying to cool the entire cabin.

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Car autopilot

What is car autopilot?

Think switching on autopilot is only something you can do if you’re flying a plane? Think again. A semi-autonomous autopilot feature is now a cutting-edge tech option on land-friendly vehicles, too.

Why do I need autopilot?

Autopilot systems – like the one available in certain Tesla models – use multiple ultrasonic sensors around the car to constantly monitor its surroundings, reportedly making motorway driving much safer.

The name is slightly misleading, as legally drivers must retain control at all times. For now, it’s more of an advanced cruise control – however, should the law change these cars are equipped to provide autonomous driving. 

Blind-spot monitoring

What is blind-spot monitoring?

Blind-spot monitoring systems let you know if there’s anything in your blind spots – such as other vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians – to keep you and other road users safe.

Why do I need blind-spot monitoring?

They’re called blind-spots for a reason, and failing to spot something or someone when manoeuvring can be extremely dangerous. Monitoring the side and back of your car, this system alerts you with sounds, lights or vibrations if anything gets too close. 

As helpful as they are, blind-spot monitoring systems shouldn’t stop you from taking your normal safety procedures when making manoeuvres on the roads – so look at it as an extra layer of safety, rather than something to rely on. 

Heated steering wheel



What is a heated steering wheel?

A heated steering wheel is exactly what it sounds like – a system that warms up your steering wheel when it gets too cold to grip. 

Why do I need a heated steering wheel?

If you’ve ever got into your car on a frosty winter morning and tried to drive away, you’ll know just how cold your steering wheel can get when the temperature outside drops below zero. 

A heated steering wheel takes away the need for gloves or the danger of getting frostbite on the M60 by warming up your steering wheel until it’s a comfortable temperature to use safely. 

Is it illegal to drive without shoes?

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Hands-free boot opening

What is hands-free boot opening?

Unsurprisingly, a hands-free boot opening device (sometimes referred to as a hands-free tailgate) uses sensors to let you open the boot without using your hands.

Why do I need hands-free boot opening?

If you’ve ever struggled up to your car with boxes or shopping bags, you’ll know just how frustrating it can be to try and open your boot. This system takes that stress away by letting you open it hands-free.

The system works by your car sensing the proximity of your car key fob, meaning you can then open it by simply waving your foot underneath the rear bumper (or using another sensor), which pops open your boot.

Automatic parking assist

What is automatic parking assist?

Ever wanted to make parking a little easier? Through a system of well-placed sensors located around your car, automatic parking assist alerts drivers to anything they may hit or scrape against while trying to park up. 

Why do I need automatic parking assist?

Parking can be stressful, whether it’s on the street outside your home or down the local supermarket car park, but automatic parking assist makes things easier by alerting you with sounds or lights when you’re getting too close for comfort. 

More advanced models take things a step further, and are even able to steer you in and out of a tight space – both bay and parallel parking – but remember the system isn’t fool-proof so you’ll need to maintain control throughout the move. 

Parking cameras


What are parking cameras?

Parking cameras – also known as reversing cameras – are essentially video cameras that beam a live stream of the view from the back of your vehicle directly onto a screen on your dashboard. 

Why do I need parking cameras?

Parking can be a hassle at the best of times, but trying to work out what’s behind you when reversing into a space can be downright tricky. A parking camera takes a lot of the stress out of it by showing you what’s back there.

Some cameras will simply show you a view from the back, while others use a series of cameras to display your vehicle from above, giving you a full, 360-degree shot of your car – and anything you might need to avoid on the road. 

Adaptive cruise control

What is adaptive cruise control?

Adaptive cruise control (ACC – also called autonomous cruise control) is an intelligent form of traditional cruise control that allows vehicles to speed up and slow down automatically in response to the conditions of the road ahead. 

Why do I need adaptive cruise control?

If you seem to spend your entire life sitting in slow-moving traffic, ACC could make things a whole lot easier as it lets you set your desired speed and a distance you wish to maintain between you and the car in front. 

By using either a laser or radar system, the ACC keeps you safe by constantly scanning the road ahead, slowing down when the car in front slows or alerting you to apply the brakes, which overrides the ACC system. 

What feature is a must for your next new car? Are there any bits of exciting tech we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments below.

*For new customers switching to closest equivalent RAC cover level. On selected cover, see full terms for details. Ends 25/05/22, 7am.