Driver using one of his car features, the onboard navigation system.

New car features when buying a car

Choosing a car can take some time. Here are some car features to consider when you are looking to buy a vehicle.

Some bells and whistles on a car are great to have; however, some new car features are ones that you may not need and may only increase the price. When choosing a car, there are some new car features that may help improve your daily driving experience, help to decrease the risk of accidents or meet a particular comfort need that you find valuable.

Many newer cars have multiple options and advanced technologies. These might be features you really want or not so do your research and ask questions. In many cases, manufacturers now parcel multiple features and technologies into one package. If you want one car feature, you may have to buy them all.

Here are a few common options and features to consider before you buy a car.

Smart safety features

Some car safety features that may assist you in driving better are:

  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Forward collision warning
  • Adaptive headlights
  • Park assist
  • Blind spot warning and monitoring
  • Merging or lane warnings and monitoring
  • Backup cameras

Manufacturers differ on what they call these upgrades (many times they’re called driver assistance features) but think of all of them as a supplement to your driving experience. Safety features are a way to actively engage you and may help avoid an accident. In fact, features such as lane departure warnings, are highly regarded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration which considers them as a Recommended Safety Technology. Keep in mind that safety features are never a substitute for safe, defensive driving.

Onboard navigation

These in-vehicle mapping systems offer easy directional navigation, but the system will determine whether or not it needs constant updating (which can involve a dealer visit). Because so many mobile apps exist that offer the same capabilities, it may be an extra that you don't need to invest in. However, if you choose to use a smart device, learn how to integrate it with your vehicle's Bluetooth to help you avoid distracted driving.

Multi-zone climate system and heated seats

Multi-zone climate systems allow passengers and drivers to maintain different comfortable temperatures regardless of where they are sitting. Many cars also have heated seats, which allows passengers and drivers to set the preference of seat warmth during the colder days. Both are popular options to have.

Remote start

If you live in a cold-weather location or experience super-hot days, the remote start feature comes in handy. It allows you to start your car from your home or a distance and allows the car to warm up or cool down inside before you get in it. Installing a remote start will likely be less expensive on the secondary market than at the dealership, but that can be true for virtually every car option.


A standard sunroof is a movable panel that opens on the roof of a car. It allows fresh air and light in and can be manually operated or motor driven. They are available in various sizes, shapes and styles. Typically, sunroofs match the finish and look of the car’s interior and exterior appearance. Many customizations can be done to sunroofs.  Here are a few types of sunroofs.  

  • Panoramic - This sunroof type is larger than the standard sunroof and provides a 360° panoramic view. This type can run almost the full length of a car’s roof and may have multiple glass panels. Generally, panoramic sunroofs do not open all the way.
  • Pop-up - This sunroof type has removable glass and pops open and tilts rather than slides entirely open. Typically, this type has different tilt settings.
  • Folding - This sunroof type is made of foldable fabric. This is the largest available sunroof type and, when opened, exposes the most sky and light.
  • Moonroof - Sunroofs and moonroofs are similar except for the material in which they are made. A standard sunroof generally is made of the same metal used in the car’s body. A moonroof, on the other hand, is made from glass and is usually tinted to protect the driver and passengers from harmful sun rays.

Custom colors

The color of a car is usually important to most car buyers. There are a range of paint colors and types to select from. White, silver and black never seem to go out of style and tend to be the default, no-extra cost color options for most new cars. Custom paint colors are available and may be an added cost to the purchase price of a vehicle. Keep in mind that metallic paint typically costs more.

Wireless phone charges and accessories

Some vehicles are equipped with wireless mobile phone chargers. Generally they are mounted on the dash and are equipped for iPhones or Android phone types. Other accessories may include mounts for tablets, cameras, portable gaming, wireless headphones and Bluetooth accessible devices.

Smartphone integration

Examples of smartphone integrations on new vehicles are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Your mobile phone and applications are accessed through an infotainment system or through your phone interface. They do a variety of things such as display turn by turn navigation, use voice controls, check text messages, create and send emails, play music and more.

Rear-seat reminder systems

The rear seat reminder feature monitors a car’s rear doors. It activates when either the rear door is closed or opened while the car is running. There is a distinctive chime that reminds you to check the back doors. In addition, this feature usually activates when a rear door is opened or closed within 10 minutes before the car has been turned on and reminds the driver to check the rear seats after the vehicle is parked and off, so kids and pets are not forgotten in the back seat.

Evaluating car safety ratings can help with car buying decisions. Always review your car insurance coverages and contact a State Farm® agent with any questions you may have.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company
State Farm Indemnity Company
Bloomington, IL

State Farm County Mutual Insurance Company of Texas
Richardson, TX

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