Some 15-20 years ago, electric windows were the embodiment of luxury in a budget car. Today it seems ridiculous – you can find this feature even in the basic versions of most models. Technology doesn’t stand still, and options that were once a privilege are now mandatory.
Indeed, now we want to get more useful options in the car. Even when we choose a suitable family car among rental cars that seat 8 persons, the issue of travel safety and comfort is of paramount importance.
Well, what options should be present in a modern car?
Dynamic Stability System
This electronic system is well known to everyone under such abbreviation as ESP, although sometimes it’s also called ESC, VSC, VDC, DSTC, or DSC. It prevents the vehicle from sliding sideways and skidding when cornering. If the car has it in the list of options, then this automatically assumes the presence of ABS, which is why we don’t separately highlight it.
ESP uses anti-lock brake system sensors that determine the speed of each of the wheels, accelerometers, as well as steering wheel and pedal position sensors. This allows the electronics to analyze the condition of the vehicle and the driver’s intentions. If the system realizes that they contradict each other, it begins to brake individual wheels and reduce engine speed until the car goes exactly where the driver directs it.
Almost all modern cars, whether it’s a rental car or a car you are looking to buy, contain frontal airbags. However, many manufacturers save on side airbags in basic versions of cars. Meanwhile, in front of all passengers there’s at least a meter of free space. At the same time, on the side of the metal parts of the car there are only a few centimeters of it.
Stiffening beams installed in the doors prevent strong deformation of car body elements, but in no way protect passengers from inertial forces. Particularly at risk is a head that is not secured by a seat belt and is therefore ready to fly through the door glass. Side airbags will just help to keep this important part of the body in its proper place.
Driving backwards is one of the most difficult elements. Yes, it won’t be easy for you to park your rental car anywhere in San Francisco or Seattle, and some drivers fail to learn this over years of experience.
The situation is aggravated when you have to maneuver in a confined space. If the car features at least rear parking sensors, this already greatly facilitates the task of an inexperienced driver. Naturally, a rear-view camera will help you even more, and an automatic parking system, independently assessing the free space and position of the car, removes almost all parking problems.
Car keyless access system
This system allows the driver to unlock the car at the touch of a button on the key. Explaining why such a function is convenient is a thankless task. It greatly facilitates and speeds up getting into the car, eliminates the need to poke around in an icy keyhole in winter or grope for it somewhere in an unlit alley.
In most cases, the systemfeatures the alarm: with one movement you will unlock the door and disable the security function.
Length adjustable steering wheel
Despite the fact that the lack of steering wheel adjustment seems to be an anachronism, even in expensive cars like the Jeep Wrangler, the steering wheel can only be adjusted to the height. Talking about acceptable ergonomics in this latter case is difficult – it will be inconvenient for an average driver to find a comfortable position, and even more so for a person with a non-standard physique. Electrically adjustable pedal assembly is a privilege of expensive cars, but it certainly makes it easier to find the perfect fit.
Despite the fact that specialized applications on smartphones are actively crowding out car navigation systems, the latter still have undeniable advantages. The main one is ease of use. First of all, the monitor is always positioned so that it is convenient to glance at it while driving. This will not distract you in situations when you are driving your car rental in unfamiliar terrain.
In addition, the display of a navigation system is usually much larger in size. Therefore, the image detail is much higher on it. Well, it’ also worth noting that gradually standard navigation systems learn to show traffic jams and calculate the fastest route, taking into account their detour.
Central console with USB socket
For most drivers, the USB port is the most necessary option in the car. Anyone has a USB stick with their favorite music. Of course, you can also use the SD slot, but you can’t plug a phone charger into it. The socket won’t interfere with those who use a mass of related devices in the car. Devices like video recorder or a radar detector.
You’ll need this option if you like to travel by rental car to winter resorts. When it’s really cold and frosty, it doesn’t seem superfluous to take care of additional temperature comfort. Moreover, not only the driver, but also the passengers suffer from low temperatures. So, ideally, the rear seats should also have electric heating.
Please note that you’ll need this function if you have leather seats in your car. They heat up very slowly after cooling down.