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From Late June




Bowen’s Top 10 – Must Have Car Features

September 30, 2020
Given I drive around 100 new cars a year, I can say with some conviction the following items are a must have. When I say “must have” I mean all the little things that annoy me each week. In fact, to put it bluntly this is just a list of things that s#it me.

Smartphone Connectivity

Plenty of people will walk away from a car if Apple Car Play or Android Auto are non-existent. Smartphones are so much part of our fabric now, kind of like having a third arm. Just about every brand has been dragged, kicking and screaming to the table. Jaguar Land Rover announced a free retrofit last year for certain models. Toyota introduced it to the new HiAce, and the very successful RAV 4 range. It’s a shame BMW hits you with a subscription fee!

Nissan Juke with Apple CarPlay


Rain Sensing Wipers

All new cars need this, it’s very simplistic technology. A window mounted sensor is activated once a droplet of water lands on it, changing the way light is received by the sensor. I swear the Nissan Pathfinder still lacks this feature; very rarely will a new car not have this.

Bowen Wiki fact here, GM started working on this tech in 1958.

Rain sensing wipers

Rear Ventilation

If you want to bake your back-seat passengers get a small to mid-sized SUV, they’re notorious for not adding just two little vents, that’s all we want! My father-in-law tells me often about holding wet towels up on the windows and other rudimentary measures taken way back then. But the cars, way back then, also tended to fold like a concertina in a prang.

No rear air vents on a BMW 218i

Dual-Zone Air Conditioning

Dual-air con on a Skoda Kodiaq RSI’m keeping this as its own ‘must have’. When I’m driving there’s a good chance, I’ll want my side several degrees cooler than my wife’s side. The only problem with some of these systems is trying to find the “Sync” button, this is for when you’re flying solo and want the same temp all-round. The Hyundai Ioniq EV has a driver-only system, blowing cool air but entirely targeted on you. Much more lavish systems offer tri-zone or even four-zone air-conditioning.

Dual-Zone air conditioning on a Skoda Kodiaq RS


Cup Holders

Let me just be a tosser for a sec. I’ve driven off in a Ferrari, Lamborghini or McLaren to suddenly realise there’s no holder at all. That’s a massive problem when you’re driving around in a car that’s more expensive than your house and you’re juggling a can of Red Bull. It really is strange this feature wasn’t even considered in the 80s, 90, and even the early 2000s.

Tesla Model 3 with cup holders

Digital Speedo

While hardly ground-breaking tech, this is another must have. We’re at a point now where analogue instrument clusters are becoming rare. In fact, in some cases, such as the Tesla Model 3, there’s just a screen that sits front and centre. I feel far more comfortable seeing the numbers tick over as opposed to a needle that’s often dimly lit, with smallish fonts.

Digital speedo on a Mercedes-Benz

LED Headlights

Headlights continue to evolve, but right now LED technology is what to look out for. LED headlights cast a white and very bright beam, leaving typical halogen lights for dead. Some of the more sophisticated systems even help bend light around corners, or have automatic high beam that stays on, but shifts light away from oncoming motorists and even reflective road signs.

Audi Q8 wth LED lights

USB ports

There is just so much we need to charge these days. From watches, tablets, laptops and phones, everyone wants a slice of the action. Some vehicles, such as the Mercedes-Benz CLA 200, have four USB-C ports. That’s a good long-term thing, but they do throw in a standard USB adapter if needed.

USB port

Electric Seats

Often my wife will jump into the passenger seat and reveal its only adjustable manually. 90 per cent of the time the driver’s seat scores electric seats and I do enjoy telling her that. But really, come on brands. In some European vehicles you can manipulate the seat in what feels like 27 ways. Others even offer a massage function.


Sun Visor Light

Why a mirror would be installed on the back of a visor, but not a light is frankly an atrocity. The better systems turn the light on when you open the mirror cover. Ladies, I hear ya. Let there be light!

Did I miss anything?

This needs a light!