According to Edmunds’ InsideLIne.com, auto dealers are preparing for new model sales to pick up during the last quarter of this year as the ailing economy slowly improves. Many who have been putting off the purchase of a new vehicle are ready now to make the investment. Shoppers may find that new features offered on even the base models exceed expectations as automakers incorporate more and more new technology as standard in their new model vehicles. Some of the features were explained in a recent post on InsideLIne.com; although not all of them are offered as standard features, car shoppers can expect to see them becoming more available on more models in the near future.
Among the features becoming more widely available is automatic seat temperature control. Lexus has made this an option in two of its luxury models. It’s a more refined version of seat heating and cooling, which has been available for years; the automatic setting controls the seat temperature according to a main climate control the operator sets for the vehicle.
Comfort and convenience are constantly being improved upon, of course, and this year’s models include such improvements as the foot-operated, touchless liftgate, which allows the operator to open the power liftgate by extending a foot under the rear bumper, where a sensor is located. BMW and Ford are offering this on some models, and Mercedes-Benz is using the same technology on the trunk lid of the SL550. Another convenient innovation being offered inside the Tesla Model S is a tablet-style center stack control interface, which can be used like a tablet or pad to control everything from the radio to the sunroof.
Another new seating-based innovation is Cadillac’s Safety Alert Seat, which is a riff on the popular audible alarms/lights used to alert the driver that the vehicle is veering out of the lane, about to enter another vehicle’s space or bump into another bumper. The alarms have proven annoying and sometimes inaccurate. The Safety Alert Seat uses vibrations on the right and left side of the driver’s seat to accurately warn of dangers on the right or left side, respectively, or both sides when the hazard is in the front. The system has been found to be less likely to overreact in heavy traffic. This feature is in the Driver Assist package available on three 2013 Cadillac models.
Improvements have also been made to back up collision protection devices, which are usually dependent on the driver’s quick reaction time to prevent an accident. With the new Back-up collision intervention systems available on three Cadillac models and one Infiniti model, the brakes are applied automatically, which takes the driver reaction time out of the equation.
GM has introduced the center side airbag for front occupants in three of its vehicles. This new airbag design, which deploys from the inboard side of the driver seat, keeps the driver upright while rebounding from crash forces, and if two people are in the front of the vehicle, it keeps them from crashing into each other.
Honda has added a new passenger side mirror-mounted blind spot camera to its 2013 Accord, which captures images of vehicles in the driver’s blind spot and delivers the images to a central display screen when the right turn signal is engaged. It is not meant to substitute for correctly positioned mirrors, but can make lane changing even safer. This new Honda innovation is called LaneWatch, and is considered one of the most significant new features available for 2013.