I’m going to be looking at some of the new features that are already on some cars now and most certainly you will encounter in the future. ‘Park Assist‘, ‘Lane Assist‘ the list goes on.

What are now on the more upmarket models are soon to be standard on the types of car that you and I drive. So what I thought would be helpful was a Field’s ‘simples’ guide to some of them. Explaining what they do and how they can easily be used. Cos believe me, some of them are not ‘simples’ to use!

Manufacturers are loading their cars with new features, useful things, safety features but some of them just won’t be utilised by you or me if we don’t have a clue how to use them.

When it comes to new technology, new gadgets, new gizmo’s, it seems there are two types of people.

One: Those who embrace all things new, they take time to learn and use. (Doesn’t it just annoy… how easy they find it to work the new TV remote!)

By the way Sky Q anyone? With that touch remote that goes all over the place, before you know it you’re recording all episodes of News at Ten or some dodgy programme that you have to delete quickly so the kids don’t see.

The cat sat on ours the other day whilst we were watching ‘Bake off’ and then we were suddenly watching something more like ‘Blast off’!

Or

Two: Others fall into the ‘unless it’s dead simple and automatic’ category they are not interested. It’s just too darn complicated.

Take your mobile phone, how many apps do you use of the hundreds you have downloaded? How much of your phones’ capability do you use? Things that seemed a ‘good idea at the time’ often fall by the wayside when we attempt to use them.When we bought my wife’s BMW, like any good husband I pulled out the manual to have a read. I say a manual, it was more like BMW’s version of War and Peace! It’s massive, 600 pages and that doesn’t cover the phone and audio system. Two more books on that!

First problem was reading through all the spiel that was of no relevance. Next it was the warning system – do we really need 50 different warning symbols?

Second problem, is actually working out if your car has the bits it’s describing. “If fitted”, “fitted to some models only” or “optional extra”. There, I was getting all excited about “Windscreen display” and “Lane change assist” only to find out that our car does not have these!

But honestly, do they really expect us to read, understand and utilise even half the features! I’m in the know supposedly, and believe me, I’m confused at times.

Now I’m making a joke of all this but actually it’s a very important issue. Manufacturers spend millions on developing and implementing some features that will never get used. Some will never use ‘cruise control’, let alone ‘adaptive cruise control’ yet you know what these are not gimmicks when used correctly. They could prevent a speeding fine and on the ‘safety’ front, an accident. We will look at these in future e mails.

Many cars now come with Driver Modes! ‘Bad driver mode’ is mine apparently, according to the missus! If you haven’t encountered this, it means you can set your steering, suspension and gearbox to different driving styles or conditions.

Right now, some of your eyes are glazing over and for others they are lighting up!
‘Sport Mode’, ‘Comfort Mode’ ‘Economy Mode’ and the list goes on and on. Talk about have to make decisions! The trouble is when you start the car it doesn’t ask what mode you would like. It does not ask what your journey entails. It does not try to decide the best combination for your trip.

No, you get in your car and have to think! Today I feel like Lewis Hamilton, so it’s sports mode! One speeding ticket later, mmm that wasn’t such a good idea!

All these things sound good on paper and for ‘petrol heads’ (the name given to the Jeremy Clarkson types) but I guarantee 95% of drivers will never use these options, they just get in and drive… it’s called ‘Auto pilot mode’. And you know what, that suits me fine.

Have a great weekend

Mike

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