Seven used car tech features that might surprise you

AUTOMAKERS have introduced a flurry of new automotive safety and convenience technology features the past few years. Close-to-new vehicles with these features are now increasingly showing up on dealership lots as used vehicles. The upshot: You don’t have to buy a new car to get modern convenience and safety features.

Adaptive cruise control

Adaptive cruise control makes driving on the highway easier by automatically maintaining a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front. Adaptive cruise control is typically an option on slightly used cars, and you can find it on affordable vehicles such as the 2016 Honda Civic and 2016 Mazda 3.

Apple Carplay and Android Auto

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are two systems that allow you to easily control some smartphone apps through your vehicle’s infotainment display. Manufacturers began offering these two systems in the 2016 model year. However, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can be added to certain older models, including the 2014 Kia Soul and 2015 Hyundai Sonata.

Auto-dimming mirrors

There are few things more distracting at night than a car behind you with overly bright headlights. Auto-dimming mirrors alleviate this problem by darkening the surface of the mirror to eliminate the intensity and glare of the light.

Automated parking

An automated parking system takes the stress out of parking by computer-controlling most of the process. Some automate acceleration and braking, while others keep those functions under the driver’s control. These systems are relatively new, but you can find them on slightly older luxury vehicles such as the BMW i3 or Jaguar XJ and wallet-friendly cars such as the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Escape.

Blind-spot monitor

A blind-spot monitor (BSM) uses sensors to identify any vehicle that might be outside your peripheral vision. A light on the outside mirror or inside the car illuminates whenever a vehicle is in your blind spot. The system also sounds an alert if you activate your turn signal when a vehicle is in your blind spot. You will typically find BSM available on top trim levels of non-luxury cars, or as part of a safety package on luxury vehicles.

HID or LED headlights

Automakers are increasingly swapping out traditional halogen headlights for high-intensity discharge (HID, or xenon) and LED headlights. Besides giving a car an upscale appearance, these headlights typically provide better road illumination. The 2016 Toyota Corolla and Toyota RAV4 are examples of affordable cars with standard LED lighting.

Ventilated seats

Ventilated seats cool down passengers by either blowing cold air on their backsides or sucking in hot air and dispersing it elsewhere. Seat ventilation is now much more widely available, though this feature is typically reserved for the most expensive trim levels. (AP)


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