Must-MustHave New Car Features

About five weeks ago, I got into a pretty major car accident. Thankfully, the dog and I were the only ones in the car at the time and while I got pretty banged up and am still recovering {it's a slow process!}, things could have been much much worse. 

For the past few months I have been testing out cars. We knew that we would need to replace my twelve year old mini van that I lovingly referred to as Thelma at some point in the near future, we just weren't expecting to scramble to replace her after she was deemed a complete loss by the insurance company.

A lot has changed in cars in more than a decade since we bought Thelma so I'm glad that I had the opportunity to test out a few different cars to see what features I really liked and which ones weren't as important. I also had to give up a few of the items on my wish list because they just didn't exist in the car that we finally narrowed it down to.

Come along with me and hear about the tale of two Mazda's {they got me through the month after my accident before I got my replacement} and meet our new family car. Her name is Louise and see what my list of must-have new car features were.

Before I go on, let me fill you in a bit on the accident. I was driving to pick up my daughter at a friend's house. I was stopped to turn left and was waiting for traffic to pass when before I even knew what was happening, I was being thrown back into my seat.

My drivers seat broke. It literally fell back after I hit it on impact and that's when I looked in the rear view mirror and saw the car plowing into me. The witness said he didn't even slow down. He must not have seen me. Before I knew it, my car was pushed at least 50 feet. I finally came to a stop and for weeks I have been dealing with the aftermath of whiplash, back pain and other bumps and internal bruises.

Thelma was a total loss and days later we signed her over to the insurance company and started the search for a new car.

In the meantime, I got this pretty little number, a Mazda 6 in this beautiful red.  I have driven the Mazda 6 before when my oldest son and I went on a little road trip to Eastern Washington this past summer. 

I must confess, it's been really hard for me to get back to driving. I'm quite anxious behind the wheel {to be totally honest, in the passenger side too}, but with three kids and a busy life, I can't decide to just stay home all the time, so I have been slowly easing back into it. I needed the small size of the Mazda 6 to help me feel confident on the road again. Plus, it had some amazing features which makes driving way more fun. 

With three kids that no longer need car seats, I thought that perhaps we could consider an SUV. Enter the Mazda CX-5.  This was another good looking car that was easy to drive. 

My favorite feature of the two Mazda's is by far the snazzy looking two toned leather seats. While my kids may have all graduated car seats, they have replaced their bulky car seats with gangly legs. This crossover is great as a driver or front seat passenger, but squeeze in all five of us and it just doesn't have the room we all need.

So what did we end up deciding to buy? We bought another mini van. This time, the original swagger wagon. A 2016 Toyota Sienna SE. Louise was made in Indiana just like I was and we got her brand spanking new off the train. 

I'm still getting used to the inside of Lou. When I drive, I feel like I'm sitting in a cock pit. There are so many buttons and screens and displays. But I do love her and the reliability of a Toyota and the updated features is what ultimately ended up winning out over all, even though I did love driving the Kia Sedona and Honda Odyssey

After six months of trying out several different cars, here were my list of must-have features:

Must-have new car features

Blind spot monitoring
Bluetooth connectivity
A USB port
Comfortable heated seats
A back up camera
Keyless start and entry
Seats that fold into the floor
High safety ratings
High reliability ratings

There were a few features that were at the top of my list that were wants, but not necessarily needs:

Dual moon roof
Adaptive cruise control
Heated steering wheel
Back up guide lines
Full camera {the Kia Sedona had a great camera system}

And there were some features that I just wasn't interested in having at all:

Lane departure warning {I find it super annoying at not at all helpful}
DVD player {never been a fan of in car entertainment}
heads up display {I don't like having something in my line of vision}

I know that not all of you will be as lucky as I have been to be able to review cars for a week at a time and make a running list of features that you like. Hopefully, you can go back to my car review posts to become more informed if you find yourself looking for a new car, especially ones that have features you just may not be familiar with. You can search car review in the search bar to the right.

I would love to hear. What are your favorite new features in a car? Did I miss any?

dislaimer: I was able to drive the Mazda's in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are 100% my own. 


carol@The Red Painted Cottage said...

So glad that you're OK, considering how the car looks! We just rented a Toyota Corolla to drive down to TX. I told my husband when it comes time to replace my Jeep Liberty, I must have something that rises higher than a car. I love sitting higher up versus down so low in a car. I also LOVE my heated leather seats, especially living in MI. The car we rented had the backup camera which I really liked. We don't have a heated steering wheel, but we do have leather covered steering wheels, which we love.

Tamara said...

Hi Rachel! My family is in the market for a new mini-van and I came back to your blog knowing you had reviewed them recently. I have to say I'm surprised you went wth the Sienna! That was our least favorite. We are debating between the Odyssey and the Sedona. It really is a 50/50 debate right now. We heard that Honda is redesigning the Odyssey for 2017 and we're curious about that. Not sure we can wait for it to come out though! Thank you to you and Aiden for your vehicle reviews. I obviously value your opinion!

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