We wouldn't want to do a long journey without these features.
Modern cars are becoming increasingly safer and more comfortable thanks to new technology. Even a simple Honda Fit now has adaptive radar cruise control - a feature once reserved for high dollar luxury cars. Some of these features can be intrusive, but many can make driving easier. We have compiled a list of our seven favorite new car features that we would want to make a long road trip more comfortable.
One of the best modern features for a road trip is adaptive cruise control (ACC). ACC helps by keeping a set distance from the car in front, freeing the driver from having to even touch the pedals. Advanced systems can even bring the car to a full stop in a traffic jam, and even more high tech systems such as Tesla Autopilot and Cadillac Super Cruise can even handle steering duties.
During a long road trip, it can be easy to become distracted when looking at the screen or trying to adjust the radio. This is why a good head-up display (HUD) system is important. A HUD projects important information on the windshield, so it is right in the driver's line of sight. Having a good, clear HUD with data such as navigation prompts and radio information can be very helpful on a long drive.
While all of the technology on this list is important, it pales in comparison to the importance of a good infotainment system. Without one, other technology may be difficult to use. We like infotainment to be clear, easy to control, and intuitive. Some systems, like Lexus', are difficult to controls. Others, including those from Mazda and Toyota, don't pack desired features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. On a long road trip, we want the infotainment system to be quick and easy to use, so we can keep our eyes on the road. Systems such as Ford Sync and Volvo Sensus have excellent voice command to help keep distractions to a minimum.
No long road trip would be complete without music, which is why premium audio makes our list. Most cars offer some sort of upgraded audio system, some of which are better than others. Of the systems we've sampled, the Volvo Bowers & Wilkins was a standout thanks to its unique concert hall mode, which made the music sound like it was being played live in concert.
In the past, you would need a specific car charger that would plug into the 12V outlet. Now, modern cars have USB ports and even household outlets to help charge devices. One of our favorite new features is wireless charging, which can charge a phone without a cable. Unfortunately, you have to own a phone with this capability, or the charging pad is useless. We also like the pad to be in a convenient spot, so we can check the phone while it charges. Surprisingly, this isn't always the case.
Having comfortable seats is extremely important during a road trip. That is why highly adjustable seats are a must-have. Lincoln's seats can be adjusted 30-ways, and even feature massaging. Massaging seats are especially great to help keep the driver comfortable on a long road trip. Ventilated (or air conditioned) as well as heated seats can also help keep the driver's body temperature neutral, enhancing comfort on long journeys.
Adaptive suspension can be useful for many reasons, including giving a car a more comfortable ride as it adjusts to road surfaces to create a smooth ride. They also include a "sport" or "race" mode, which will come in handy for any fun roads along the route.