You’ve settled on your new vehicle model. Now, which features do you need and which can you skip?
Shopping for a new ride means that you will have many models and makes from which to choose. Once you’ve narrowed the search down to a specific vehicle, you can turn your attention to which trim and which features you really want and which you don’t need. If you are shopping for an SUV or crossover there will be from three to six different trim levels with varying features for any given model. How to choose what you need and what you don’t? That is, of course, a personal decision, but the testers here are BestRide have tested hundreds of new crossovers and SUVs. Here is our guide to the single most important option you must have, and three features we suggest you consider skipping.
Must-Have Feature – Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
In its recent listing of the four most important automotive product innovations of the past decade, Consumer Reports listed Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. We could not agree more. These smart device integration systems allow you to seamlessly use the same apps like Google Maps, Waze, and Pandora that you use on your phone via the vehicle’s infotainment system. If you have not tried either, you will be pleasantly surprised. Worried they will be “just one more hassle and distraction?” Quite the contrary. AAA conducted a study and determined that these systems are less distracting than the native apps automakers embed in your vehicle.
Consider Skipping – In-Vehicle Navigation
One feature you use on a regular basis is navigation. Why in the world would BestRide suggest you don’t need it? Simply because you get better nav options for free via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Why pay hundreds of dollars for something you already own? When you are shopping, try Google Maps or Waze in the vehicle you are in. Compare it to the Nav system the automaker offers. Does the in-vehicle nav tell you where speed traps are? Google Maps and Waze do. Does the in-vehicle Nav know where your Open Table dinner reservation is for this eventing and will it offer to load the turn-by turn directions? Apple Maps will. Aside from the up-front cost of built-in Nav, many automakers charge you later for updates. Updates to Google Maps and Apple Maps are an invisible daily occurrence and happen in real-time for free.
Consider Skipping – Panoramic Moon-Roof
The holidays are just about over and that Christmas tree is starting look a lot like a fire hazard. Time to recycle it at the local transfer station. You can throw it on the roof of your new sport utility vehicle! Unless of course, the top of your new SUV is all glass from end to end. In our opinion, huge panoramic moonroofs have limited value. For the front passengers, they have zero value. You cannot see behind you.
A conventional moonroof is just as good. In back it will usually be too hot or too cold to open a big moonroof and the rear passengers are going to complain about the wind anyway. Why eliminate the utility of a roof-top cargo bag or the utility of hauling items like Christmas trees for an expensive and delicate stem to stern moonroof?
Consider Skipping – Up-sized Wheels And Tires
Crossovers and SUVs afford you the opportunity to go anywhere. They are ideally-suited to all-road and off-road driving. However, automakers can’t seem to resist the urge to fit your vehicle with huge wheels and low profile tires. You can’t escape it, but you can manage it. Most top-trims have the too-tall wheels and too-small sidewalls. Look at the mid-trim offering or base trim if you travel where the roads are less than ideal.
Choose a trim that fits your needs. If you plan to go off-road in your crossover or SUV look for the trim that has the most sidewall. It will almost always also be the trim that has the smallest-diameter wheel. The sidewall provides some give over rough terrain and the smaller the wheel the cheaper the replacement tire will be.