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Cool features your next car should have

February 18, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
With each new model year, auto makers are making life behind the wheel easier and more pleasurable. Most of the new features are as simple to use as a touch of a button. But what is the "gotta get" list of features? Plus, what are the essentials you'll need in case you break down on the road?Nobody plans to break down on the road, but just in case you do, then you need to be prepared. And who says a car can't be fun to drive in traffic?

A navigation system comes in handy, whether you're directionally challenged or visiting a new city. It's one of the auto features Consumer Reports says are so handy, you should seriously consider getting one.

Another feature is an automatic rear-hatch door that opens at the touch of a button. It's really convenient when you're carrying a heavy load.

Can't ever find your keys? Keyless ignition can help. You can leave your keys in your pocket and start the car with the touch of a button.

Stereo controls on the steering wheel let you keep your eyes on the road while you find the perfect song.

If you have kids, you're probably tired of hearing, "Are we there yet?" A DVD player on long trips can keep everyone happy until you reach your destination.

Safety equipment is next on the list -- it can make a big difference in a worst-case scenario. Flares, or hazard triangles, will give other cars some warning so you don't end up in a second accident. A first-aid kit with the basics can treat any minor bumps and bruises.

Has your battery gone dead? You can get a jump start from another car, but you'll need jumper cables to get the job done.

Other items for your roadside emergency kit include a fire extinguisher for any small fires, a foam tire sealer to fix a flat quick, and gloves to keep your hands clean while taking care of business.

Finally, a flashlight is essential if you run into trouble after dark.

You may also want to carry a camera - which could be your cell phone - to take pictures in case of an accident.

Other convenient features Consumer Reports likes are rain-sensing windshield wipers and outside temperature display.

For more information on how to build an emergency car kit, click here. To see what should be part of any roadside emergency kit, click here.

 

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