With the 2016 model year now in full swing, consumers are seeing some of the best goodies that car manufacturers have to offer. Let’s take a look at some of the newest and best family-friendly features in the 2016 SUVs and crossovers currently available.
Top 10 Family-Friendly Features for 2016 Crossovers/SUVs
10. Heads-up Display
While this is still very much a developing technology, the heads-up display is coming down market to a price point that is just right for many mid-size SUV shoppers. Look for this technology in new crossovers like the new 2016 Mazda CX-3 and others, as manufacturers continue to revolutionize the way information is presented to the driver.
With the CX-3, Mazda designed a small plastic square that extends upward from the dash and projects the display directly onto that surface. Although this does not give off the most refined look, it does the job well and can easily be adjusted to match the sight line of the driver.
9. 110-volt Power Outlets
Consumers are asking more and more to have access to traditional, household power outlets in their cars. Manufacturers are beginning to listen, and the result is that many 2016 SUVs and crossovers are offering power outlets as standard, both in the back seat and front seat area. Of course, this enables every member of the family to keep their device charged and ready for the drive. Look for this feature in the 2016 Ford Escape, as part of the Titanium trim level, and other popular crossovers like the 2016 Chevrolet Traverse.
8. Surround-view Camera
This feature only affects the driver of the family. However, it still is an important safety feature that many cars in this segment now showcase. Take the Infiniti QX50, which allows the driver to see a virtual 360-degree view of the car when in reverse - a feature that makes it extremely easy to maneuver the vehicle when driving in a pedestrian-heavy environment, or even in tight parking spaces.
7. Power Liftgate with Gesture Control
A power liftgate is an available feature on many SUV/crossovers, and in some cases, even comes standard. 2016 is taking things a step further with the addition of gesture control, giving users the ability to open the liftgate completely hands-free. The 2016 Ford Escape, for example, uses a system that detects a foot waving beneath the car, and then opens the liftgate on command. Whether your hands are filled with groceries or even younger members of the family, a power liftgate with gesture control makes life that much easier
6. Panoramic Roof
This feature is the perfect addition to make any interior cabin brighter and happier. Once an exclusive in the super-luxurious SUV category, panoramic roofs are becoming much more common in SUVs of all types. The 2016 Volkswagen Tiguan offers one of the best in the business, adding light and a fun perspective for members of the family both young and old.
5. Rear Seat Entertainment
Over the last decade or so, we have seen the slow-but-steady integration of rear-seat entertainment with many family cars, especially SUVs/crossovers. The setup has been more or less the same: either one or two TV screens that are compatible with DVD/CD. However, models such as the 2016 Lexus LX 460 are pushing the envelope by adding new features to the mix, including app support and many other tablet-like capabilities.
Photo Credit: Benjamin Hunting
4. Wifi/4G connectivity
It’s true, we now live a world that is so connected that even time spent on the road is time spent with access to the internet. However, this also makes for perhaps one of the biggest family improvements with cars in general. Automakers have brought hotspot capability to the SUV/Crossover world in both WiFi and 4G form. Chevrolet, for example, has a paid plan to enable 4G connectivity within their SUVs/crossovers such as the 2016 Traverse for a monthly fee. Others, such as Dodge, have made it an added option to turn the car into a WiFi hotspot, again bringing full internet connectivity to the vehicle. This is a welcome addition to any family vehicle, as passengers of all ages can take full advantage of entertainment via the web at any time on the road.
3. Active/Passive Lane-Keeping Technology
You might ask why this is so high on the list, when in reality, it doesn’t change the atmosphere of the car. While that is true, safety should be the top priority of any family-friendly vehicle. Keeping that in mind, lane-keeping technology is at the forefront of keeping both driver and passengers safe while on the road. Examples like Mazda passive lane-keep, informing the driver that they have fallen out of their lane. Active systems, such as those found in Volvo and Acura, will actually move the steering wheel in the vehicle to keep the car within the lanes if a driver strays away from the line. Such is the example with the 2016 Acura MDX, Overall, this technology is bound to bring the family vehicle market to a much safer future.
2. Active Cruise Control/Active Braking
The addition of active cruise control brings safety to yet another level in your vehicle. This technology uses sensors mounted at the front of the car to monitor the vehicle ahead and maintain a safe distance from it when using cruise control. In most cases, this technology also comes with an active braking ability, which means that the vehicle will automatically stop itself upon sensing a potential rear-ending crash. This advanced technology has true potential to keep the entire family safe while also reducing the risk of an accident by a significant margin.
1. Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
The mobile giants at Apple and Android have come now come up with the software that many of us never thought we would see. Tired of your car’s potentially confusing infotainment system? The addition of Apple CarPlay/Android Auto to the 2016 model year is the clear solution. These two programs allow you to plug in your phone, whether it be iPhone or Android, and transfer the phone interface to the car’s display. This allows drivers and passengers to interact with the display they are already most familiar with and still keeps the entire car safer by not forcing vehicle occupants to fumble through unfamiliar screen menus. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are changing the game when it comes to infotainment, and many manufactures are not letting that opportunity pass them by.