Top 10 Commuter Car Features
average commuter spends the equivalent of nearly nine full days
every year commuting to and from work, according to reports from
the U.S. Census Bureau. The editors at Edmunds.com
have identified the following top 10 features that will make any
commute more tolerable.
- Comfortable Seats — Among the features to look for are lumbar support, power controls, adjustable seat height, heated seats and, for those with long legs, seats that scoot far enough back.
- Automatic Transmission — Stop-and-go traffic can be particularly trying for those with a manual transmission. Automatic transmissions can make the drive home smoother and allow drivers to keep both hands on the wheel.
- Good visibility — Thin A-, B-
and C-pillars help; so do large side-view mirrors and height-adjustable
seats. Many convertibles have poor rear visibility when the
top is up.
- In-dash CD changer or satellite radio — In-dash CD changers allow drivers to load several discs at a time to take the edge off long commutes, while satellite radio can help them avoid morning chatter and irritating commercials.
- Steering wheel-mounted stereo controls — Sometimes the only way to make it through a long drive is to have good music. Steering wheel-mounted controls allow volume and station adjustments without drivers having to take their eyes off the road or hands off the wheel.
- Controlled noise, vibration
and handling — Excessive engine vibration,
road and wind noise can prove very annoying for those who spend
a lot of time in their cars. Pay attention to these noises during
test drives. Shoppers should also consider the pros and cons
of tighter handling versus ride comfort.
- Good fuel economy
— Obtaining good gas mileage is critical for the commuter car.
Nothing burns up more gas than stop-and-go traffic.
- Well-designed cup holders and ample storage — Drivers need a place to keep their morning coffee safe and within sipping distance, as well as a place to store their parking cards, toll money, breakfast, etc.
- Two power points and a hands-free
voice activated phone system — Two power outlets
will allow drivers to charge a mobile phone as well as a laptop
battery. A hands-free voice-activated phone system enables drivers
to place calls or chat on a cell phone without letting go of
- Reasonably compact size
— For a vehicle primarily used for commuting, an SUV
or truck usually isn't necessary. A smaller vehicle is easier
to maneuver, park and thread through the daily traffic.
"The driver is the single most important safety component of a vehicle, so he or she should be comfortable, alert and as stress-free as possible when behind the wheel," said Karl Brauer, editor in chief of Edmunds.com. "Vehicle features can really help drivers be safe and maintain a positive attitude through their commuting experiences."
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