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Best optional extras for your car

Can't decide which options to go for? Here are 10 of our favourites

10 optional extras that we think are essentials

It’s always exciting when you’re thinking about buying a new car, even if it’s not “new” new. It’s even better if you can find one that comes with all the optional extras you want – and with such a wide choice on cinch you can be pretty sure that we have it out there somewhere for you.

Adaptive Cruise Control

Cruise control has been with us for some time now. It’s been a useful way to save the strain on our right legs on long motorway journeys where all we’ve really had to do is steer for miles on end.

Adaptive cruise control takes things to the next level. Sensors can tell what the traffic conditions are and adapt the cruising speed to a safe one as well as sensing when there may be a sudden change up ahead. Used alongside lane assist it can make motorway driving a whole lot safer.

High Beam Assist

Arguably, this is one feature that you might wish other drivers had on their cars as well as you. After all, who hasn’t been dazzled in the past by oncoming vehicles with drivers oblivious to the fact that their lights are on full beam? If your car comes with high beam assist, it will automatically dip your lights when it senses another car approaching – and un-dip them when the road ahead is clear.

Rear Parking Camera

Even if you’re used to a car with rear parking sensors, you’ll know that for all the bleeping it doesn’t give you the full picture of what’s behind you. It’s still possible to miss a low bollard or other obstruction, resulting in a nasty, and probably costly, dent.

With a reversing camera you’ll have total vision of what’s going on behind your car which works alongside parking sensors to make sure that there won’t be any more bumps in the night – or even in the day, for that matter.

Panoramic Sunroof

Once you’ve owned a car with a panoramic sunroof you might wonder why it took you so long to make the move. It can help to make even the smallest cars seem much more light and spacious inside – and make larger cars seem absolutely massive.

There’s also something about looking up above and seeing the sky instead of the lining of the roof that makes travelling in a car with a sunroof an even more enjoyable experience.

Memory Seats

An absolute must if you’re not going to be the only person driving your new car. That’s because, once you’ve adjusted the seat to your perfect driving position, it can be very frustrating to have to do it all again after someone shorter or taller than you has moved it to suit themselves. A memory seat can automatically return to your perfect setting – all at the touch of a single button.

 

Heated Windscreen

You’re late for work in the morning. Dashing to the car you realise that there’s been a frost overnight and there’s zero visibility through the windscreen. That’s going to mean more time wasted with a scraper and/or a can of de-icer.

Much better to have a windscreen that will gently heat up and clear itself in less than half the time, leaving you to make it to work before the boss gets to give you a black mark for poor punctuality.

Heated Seats and Steering Wheel

It’s not just the windscreen that could do with warming up in the winter. Getting into a freezing car before the heater’s had a chance to kick in is no joke. If you have the benefit of a heated steering wheel and seats, it’s going to be a very different story. Some cars even let you set the heating in advance, so it’ll be warm and toasty from the moment that you get behind the wheel.

Power Tailgate

If you’ve set your heart on a bigger SUV or hatchback, you should be prepared for the fact that the tailgate can be quite heavy and cumbersome to open. Looking for a model with a little assistance can be a very good idea. Some even open automatically when you wave a foot under the back bumper, a handy aid if your arms are full of shopping bags or anything else that’s destined for the boot.

Apple CarPlay/Android Auto

In-car infotainment systems have come on in leaps and bounds in the last hew years, and not just in prestige makes like BMW and Audi. One major development has been the ability to link your smartphone to the system so you can use all of its apps and features while on the move, as long as you do it safely, of course. Make sure to look out for used cars that are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible and it will be a very smart move. Thankfully, this is an increasingly standard feature.

All-wheel drive

Even if you’re the sort of driver who thinks that they’ll never need to use it, once you’ve owned a car with all-wheel drive, you may wonder how you ever did without it.

It’s particularly great in the winter, when you sometimes have to make your way along un-gritted roads. And forget about it only being available on big SUVs, these days you can even get a Fiat Panda with 4WD.

Now take your pick

Of course, these are just some of the many, many optional extras available on modern cars and maybe you have some different ones in mind. It’s just a question of spending a little time looking for exactly the right car - and you’re sure to find one that fits you like a (driving) glove.

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