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The Best New-Car Features Of 2013

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Nissan Altima Tire Pressure Assistant

Nissan Altima Tire Pressure Assistant

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Some of the best ideas need no explanation, and many are relatively simple—things that make you ask, why didn't anyone come up with this before?

That’s probably what you’re going to beam after first encountering a couple of our best features for 2013—Nissan’s Easy-Fill Tire Alert in the Altima, and Honda’s LaneWatch in the Accord.

How do you parse out the best from the rest of the options list? The best features are simply the ones that make your motoring easier, safer, and more convenient, without detracting from the experience when you really want to enjoy driving.

If in doubt, try it out. Take the car out for a test drive and put this feature to the test; beyond the novelty of the first demo or two, it should feel useful, perhaps even lifesaving.

In choosing some of the best features of the year, we’ve avoided pointing only to the most expensive, exclusive features, instead looking at items (and ideas) we soon might see expanding to the market at large.

Click through our choices in the following pages, weighing them in light of your own shopping priorities, and use these as a starting point. And be sure to let us know what you think are the year’s standout features in your comments below!

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Comments (12)
  1. No the vacuum cleaner is stupid.Kids should not eat in the car that's why they are getting so fat.Parents need to stop using there car as a living room and stay at home and spend some time raising there kids.The problem is parent are not educating but getting on the highway put on the dvd videos in the car so they have to pay attention to there brats.

  2. For being a "budget-friendly" car, Honda is really pushing some luxury in their vehicles, specifically the Accord. I feel like pretty soon they'll move it to the Acura line-up.

    Dino Cajic
    First Choice Wheels and Tires

  3. Re: Honda’s LaneWatch...I think it s a good idea. My car gives me an audible alarm if I put I blinker on and there is a car in my blind spot. I think the Honda should include an audible alarm as well if it doesn't already have it. It's a faster warning than the visual and makes a difference!

  4. It's a pretty good idea so long as it doesn't add to the chance of more malfunctions that cost more money to fix than what they are worth. Such as the tire pressure sensors themselves. i.e.-they're a good item to have until they malfunction or the stem gets damaged then they cost an arm and a leg to replace them. Since they made them mandatory you have no choice. Personally I would prefer to keep simple things simple.

  5. Above applies to "Easy-Fill Tire Alert"

  6. Good item if you can switch it on or off as desired. Like ON when you're playing with your cell phone or driving long hours and subject to dozing off. And OFF when you should be paying full attention to what you are doing.

  7. Above applies to "Lane Departure Warning"

  8. Re: Honda's Built-in Vacuum...Assuming it has more power than a dust buster and includes sufficient hose to get to all parts of the vehicle, not a bad idea.

  9. This overall subject leases me. When we were fighting the US auto makers to make good seat belts, seats and airbags standard they argued that the increased for non-observable features would decrease sales. Baloney. Today everyone expects a pre-crash and crash safer car. Now we will be competing with features like those in this story - especially those that minimize fender-benders like several of those mentioned here.

  10. I prefer a Blind Spot Monitoring system (such as the BSM on my 2012 Mazda CX-9) to Honda’s LaneWatch because it constantly monitors both rear corners (blind spots). If a vehicle is detected on either side, a yellow warning lights up on the side mirror on that side of the car. If you signal a lane change, a warning sounds, a light illuminates on the dash and the warning on the side mirror starts flashing.

    I still use my properly adjusted mirrors and a glance over the shoulder before making a lane change, just to be certain it’s clear. But even if I have no intention or need to make a lane change, it’s reassuring to always know when someone is on either/both rear corners in my blind spots. If I needed to make an emergency lane change for

  11. The Odyssey starts at $28,825 for the LX model, but the HondaVAC is only available on the top-of-the-line Touring Elite model. The Touring Elite is priced at $44,450 ($15,625 more than the plain jane LX). It’s a neat feature and, according to a few sites who have tested it works very well, but ONLY if you’re willing to spend $45k to get it!

    I think it would be a great idea for Honda to offer the HondaVAC as a dealer-installed option on lesser Odyssey models! For a few hundred bucks, it could be added to the Odyssey models that people (families) actually buy!

  12. This article makes me think of just how feature-less cars used to be back in the day - when all there really was to a car is a set of necessities like gauges, steering wheel and so forth. Now we have pretty much anything.

    I recently discovered an article that outlines which features you need and which ones you don't. Good read:

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