New Features Car Buyers Want Most—And Those They Steer Clear Of

Legend has it, Henry Ford, the automotive pioneer, once said that if he had asked his customers what they wanted, they will tell me, “A faster horse!” If you asked the descendants of those Model T customers what they wanted most in a vehicle today, they would have answered heated seats and a long list of familiar safety and comfort/convenience systems. Not so much for cutting-edge technologies like gesture controls and biometrics.

This is the main idea of the annual Future Attribute Demand Study (FADS) report, prepared by the market research firm AutoPacific. Based on the opinions and plans of almost 90,000 buyers and lessees of new cars, 50,000 of them said that they would go vehicle shopping once again shortly.

It’s easy to see why the top-rated new-vehicle options this year were primarily reward-oriented. These features either added safety or provided additional convenience and comfort. For the first time, ventilated/cooled front seat, rear parking proximity sensors, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone interfacings were on the FADS’s most desired list. The latter is especially popular among millennials as well as tech-savvy Gen X drivers.

Park Place: Rear-view monitors are one of the features car buyers seek.

According to the survey, buyers are most interested in advanced driver safety systems like blind-spot warnings or lane departure warnings. They aren’t interested in ADAS options that they don’t know as well, like forwarding automatic emergency braking, active lane keep assist and rear cross-traffic alert. Dan Hall, Vice-President of AutoPacific, said that many consumers are skeptical when they hear about a vehicle’s ability to stop itself automatically. They see the benefit when they have it to save them from making driving mistakes. This logic is why it’s not surprising that car buyers at the opposite end of the spectrum are most interested in cars with more advanced capabilities. The survey revealed that they are less likely to be interested in fully autonomous driving and onboard biometrics. You won’t be able to find out what these systems are or why you would need them.

Here are the top ten features buyers desire in their next vehicle.

  1. Heated seats: 66%
  2. Blind-spot monitoring: 60%
  3. Rear and front parking sensors: 55%
  4. All-wheel or all-wheel drive: 54%
  5. Lane-departure warning: 54%
  6. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto 53%
  7. 52% Power front passenger chair
  8. LED accent lights: 52%
  9. 50% – Ventilated or cooled seating
  10. 49% for memory driver’s seat

These are the amenities in which shoppers are most interested:

  1. Augmented reality head-up display: 14%
  2. Electronic engine noise reduction: 13%
  3. Ability to purchase items from the vehicle infotainment systems: 12%
  4. Biometric features
  5. Gesture controls: 9%
  6. Concierge services: 7%
  7. Fully autonomous, hand free driving with no steering wheel: 7%
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Adam Collins
Adam writes about technology, business and economics. With master's degree in Economics, he's presented six papers in international conferences. As a solivagant in the constant state of fernweh, curiosity is the main weapon in his arsenal.

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