6 Important Features to Look for while Buying a Car

Not a long time ago, air conditioning, power steering and a CD player in a car were considered to be optional features. However, with the advancement in technology, the extra features of yesterday are becoming essentials.

Still not all cars are designed equally.

Here’s a list of features that can be considered to be must-haves when you plan to buy a car.

1. Five-star Safety Rating

Most cars of today have a five-star safety rating; still there are certain important differences about which you should know.

For instance, five stars don’t necessarily add up to six or more airbags. Some car manufacturers offer only enough (four) airbags to obtain five-star rating.

To get the desired peace of mind, make sure to check if there are two side (typically in the front seats’ outer cushions), two front and two head-protecting “curtain” airbags that plunge down from the roof above the front and rear side windows.

Certain cars even feature knee-protecting airbags below the steering column and close to the glove box, while some others also feature rear-seat airbags.

2. USB and Bluetooth

Cordless phone connectivity is common in several $15,000 vehicles on the market including Honda Jazz, Holden Barina, Toyota Yaris, Nissan Micra and Hyundai i20.

Some Bluetooth systems may work better than others. Make sure to check whether it’s fitted by the car manufacturers at the factory or prior to the arrival of the car at the dealership (and not an aftermarket addition made by the dealer which is not covered by the car manufacturers warranty and usually not well integrated into the audio system and controls of the car).

It’s also a good idea to check if the Bluetooth system is capable of streaming audio, a new development. This enables you to link the music stored on your portable music gadget or phone wirelessly to your vehicle’s sound system.

This also means you are able to listen to virtually any radio channel in the world via the Tune-In app that comes with most smartphones.

Bluetooth in car

3. Reversing Camera and Sensors

It’s amazing that motorists are accustomed to these parking and safety features. The tiny lens of reversing cameras eliminates guesswork from tight parking spots.

Be aware that cameras have blind spots. Also certain cameras work better than others in the nights. Check before purchasing.

4. Sensor Key

A sensor (or “proximity”) key will open the driver’s door just with a touch of the handle, provided the fob is close by, i.e. in your hand, pocket or bag.

This avoids struggling for the key in situations like rain or dark. Most systems offer the start of engine just at the pressing of a button.

Sensor Key fob

5. Rear Seatbelt Caution

Seatbelts are essential because they save life. However, there is typically no way to know whether children in the back have unfastened themselves. This can be overcome with a seatbelt caution light.

Certain Mazda models feature a seatbelt symbol for each of the five travellers in the vehicle which is the best example of this system. This helps you know exactly who has unfastened the seatbelt, whether front or rear.

There is one warning lamp in lesser systems for all three rear seat positions, which means you’ve to find out who is unbuckled.

Sadly, most vehicles feature no back seatbelt alert at all.

Besides saving lives, seatbelt caution lights can protect your license too.

6. Navigation

A navigation system is now standard in most cars. And portable systems are cheaper. What you should look for is that the newest (and simplest) navigation systems have a touchscreen. Some car manufacturers also offer free map upgrades for many years after buying.


Whether you are checking new or used cars, it’s important to check what features you are getting in order to ensure your safety and comfort. Check these features and be the proud owner of your car.

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