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New Car Options and Features
When You Buy a New Car, More Fun, Better Safety, Smarter Cars

The new cars for 2010 are smarter, safer and more fun. When you buy a new car you can order the new car options and features that make driving easier on you. Crossover cars are a big part of the 2010 new car market. On the 2010 cars, you'll see new car options like these: Side Impact Airbags, Antilock Braking System, Electronic Stability Control, Adjustable Steering Columns, Charging Station on the Center Console, Run-Flat Tires, Backup Assistance and Camera, Automatic Crash Notification Telematics, Entertainment Systems, Ports for Your Music Player, Keyless Ignition, Navigation Systems and Traffic Information, HD Radio, Bluetooth in the Car, Traction Control, Automatic Headlights, Adaptive Cruise Control. Driving one of the new cars is less work and more pleasure.

What is a Crossover Car?

The crossover utility vehicle, CUV, is a sport utility vehicle that is built on a car chassis, rather than a truck chassis. Itís designed with the features of an SUV, like tall interior, lots of cargo space, and high clearance from the ground to get across the potholes and steep roads. Often it has all-wheel drive. The crossover is not designed for much off-road travel. But it gives a smoother ride than an SUV because of that car chassis. There are more than 40 crossover models on the market. You can buy a crossover that looks like a sedan, a station wagon, a hatchback or a minivan. Examples are the Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, and Infiniti FX.

New Car Airbags

Side-impact airbags are mounted in either the seat backs or doors and protect the torso during side-impact crashes. They protect adult passengers at chest level, but children in a child-seat could be injured by them.

Side curtain airbags are a newer safety option. They are installed above the side windows, and extend from the ceiling along the length of the car to protect your head. They protect in the event of a side-impact collision, and also in a rollover. By keeping everyone inside the vehicle instead of being thrown out of the car, side curtain airbags prevent the most common cause of rollover injuries. The smart system automatically releases the side-curtain airbags if it detects that the vehicle is beginning to roll over. Small children are too short to benefit from side curtain airbag protection.

Antilock Braking System ABS

ABS prevents the car wheels from locking up by rapidly applying intermittent brake pressure. Without ABS, braking hard will lock up the wheels, start the car sliding and make it difficult to steer. The ABS system kicks in during heavy braking situations. On a slick road, it helps stop the car in a shorter distance. ABS lets the driver stay in control of the car in a road emergency.

Electronic Stability Control

The Electronic Stability Control system, ESC, provides smart braking help. It may be the most important safety feature since the invention of the seat belt. ESC systems use anti-lock brake sensors to measure the speed of each wheel, and accelerometers to find out what the car is doing. It also has sensors for the steering wheel and floor pedal positions to figure out what the driver wants the car to do. If ESC senses a problem, it does what no driver can. It applies the brakes to individual wheels and reduces power as needed to keep the car going where the driver is trying to steer it. It can prevent skids and rollovers, and will be required on all 2012 cars.

Center Console Power

When you want to recharge your cell phone, your laptop or your PDA, many new 2010 cars have a power outlet in the center console. No need to use the obsolete cigarette lighter. These outlets provide a way to charge your mobile phone while keeping it out of sight. It's good to know you'll always have enough juice for an emergency phone call.

Adjustable Steering

If most cars seem too big for your comfort, try the new steering columns that tilt to adjust for height. Some new 2010 cars have steering wheels that move in and out like a telescope. There are also foot pedals that adjust electrically. These optional features are not just for your convenience and comfort. They also keep you safer by allowing you to sit farther away from the airbag while you drive.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System

Most tire failures occur because the tire is under-inflated. New cars are required to have an automatic system to monitor tire pressure. A light on the dashboard will warn you when the tire pressure is outside the safe range. Of course, the driver should to check the tire pressure regularly as a safety precaution.

Run-Flat Tires

You can now get tires that keep their shape and can be driven on for 50 miles, even with no air in them. With run-flat tires, you wonít have to change a tire in the pouring rain on a dangerous highway. For many drivers, this added security is worth the price. Still, run-flats give a rougher ride and donít last as long as conventional tires.

Backup Assistance and Camera

In many vehicles, especially SUVs, itís difficult to see whatís behind the car. If youíve ever crossed your fingers when you started to back up your car, you might like Rear Parking Assist as an option on your new car. When the car is in reverse, these sensors notify you with a beep or a light if an object or small child is behind the car. Even better, some new cars have a rear-mounted camera. The camera projects the image of whatís behind the car onto the dashboard navigation screen.

Automatic Crash Notification Telematics

Should the worst happen and you and your family are in an accident, the onboard crash alert system will summon help automatically. It identifies your location to rescue personnel, too. Use the system for roadside assistance if you have a dead battery, a flat tire or a breakdown. The system can also unlock the car door for you, and give directions. These systems are called Telematics. They allow the driver to speak with an operator at a 24-hour call center by simply pushing a button. They can also track a stolen car. They can monitor a teenager driver who is speeding. If safety is your highest priority you may want to include this option when you buy a new 2010 car. Your new car may come with a free year of service, but afterward a monthly subscription fee is required. General Motors OnStar, Ford SYNC and Lexus Link are three brand names for this feature.

Entertainment Systems

Children are enthusiastic about the rear-seat entertainment system. The screen hangs from the ceiling or on the back of the seat. It plays movies, provides a connection for games, and offers wireless headphones for a quieter drive.

Music Players

If your favorite music is on your iPod or MP3 player, youíll want to listen as you drive. Many new cars offer a port so that you can plug in your player and listen to it through the car speakers. At the same time, youíll be recharging the player, too. This feature is available as an option when you buy a new 2010 car.

Keyless Ignition

Some upscale new car models for 2010 offer automatic car entry, with a wireless fob that you carry in your pocket or purse. As you approach the car, the door unlocks automatically. If you have push button ignition on the dashboard, as some cars offer, youíll never have to fumble with car keys again.

Navigation Systems and Traffic Information

Navigation systems with voice and displays to guide you to your destination have been around for a few years. Enter the street address on a keypad, or ask for the nearest shops, gas station, restaurant or tourist attraction and youíre on your way. The navigation options for have been upgraded on 2010 new cars. The latest navigation feature brings you real-time traffic information, which will notify you of traffic backups and suggest alternate routes. It uses satellite radio service, and is available with a monthly subscription. This could be a real time-saver on congested roads.

HD Radio

Hybrid digital radio, HD radio, has CD-quality sound, and a larger choice of content. Best of all, thereís no monthly subscription fee because HD radio stations broadcast on HD wavelengths. These broadcasts are free, just like AM and FM radio. HD digital radio is an option on many 2010 new cars.

Bluetooth in the Car

Bluetooth enables electronic devices to communicate with one another without wires. Available as an option on many new 2010 car models, Bluetooth in your car turns your cell phone into a hands-free unit by using the carís speakers to hear the caller. It also automatically mutes the radio and CD when a call comes in. It uses voice recognition technology to dial the phone at your command. You speak ďHomeĒ and your home number is dialed automatically for you. You will need a Bluetooth-compatible cell phone to use with the car Bluetooth system.

Traction Control

If your car doesnít have All-Wheel Drive or 4-Wheel Drive, traction control helps keep two-wheel-drive vehicles moving in slippery conditions. If a wheel starts slipping, the system adjusts brake pressure to the wheel, and reduces engine power if necessary. Traction control will also direct power to the wheel with the best grip at the moment. It is helpful on rainy or snowy roads, especially for cars with rear-wheel drive.

Automatic Headlights

Many new 2010 car models offer the option of headlights that turn on automatically in darkness. Theyíre handy if you sometimes forget to turn on the lights. You may still have to turn the headlights on manually in tunnels and parking garages, on a cloudy day or at dusk.

Adaptive Cruise Control

Conventional cruise control maintains a constant car speed on the highway. Adaptive cruise control on a new car does more. It also automatically keeps a safe distance between you and the car ahead by varying the speed. Adaptive cruise control uses radar to monitor the presence of another car and adjusts the throttle to slow or accelerate the car as needed.

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