New cars are offered with increasing safety, convenience and performance features, but what do buyers really want? AutoPacific has some answers from the company’s annual Future Attribute Demand Study, which surveyed nearly 90,000 recent car buyers, with more than 50,000 planning to buy another new car in the future. The company asked about 100 different choices, and here are the top 10 features people want:
Seat heating: 66% Blind spot monitoring: 60% Front and rear parking sensors: 55% Four-wheel or four-wheel drive: 54% Lane departure warning: 54% Apple CarPlay and/or Android Auto: 53% Electric front passenger seat: 52% LED accent lighting: 52% Ventilated or refrigerated seats: 50% Memory driver seat: 49%
We’re actually quite impressed with these buyers’ preferences as all these features are pretty good. These driver aids in particular – blind spot monitoring, parking sensors and lane departure warning – are probably among the most useful and least obtrusive driving aids on the market. And of course, all these convenience features are regularly useful and easy to use. It’s also interesting that while Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard equipment on a large number of cars, they rank sixth in the list. Many of these other safety and convenience features are still optional. Hopefully this will convince more automakers to include more of this standard.
At the other end of the spectrum are features that customers just aren’t interested in. Mind you, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re avoiding them, just that they aren’t features they’re looking for.
Head-up display with augmented reality: 14% Electronic engine sound improvement: 13% Ability to buy things through the vehicle’s infotainment system: 12% Biometrics: 9% Motion controls: 9% Concierge services: 7% Fully autonomous, hands-free driving without a steering wheel : 7%
Again, we’re impressed because we feel like a lot of these features are gimmicks that don’t add much to the car. Some would even detract from the experience, such as electronic engine sounds and gesture controls. It’s also quite interesting how few people were interested in a fully autonomous car, when you consider how much time and money companies spend on achieving full autonomy.
It’s also worth noting that there could be several factors that go into some of these features that aren’t particularly desirable. AutoPacific analyst Robby DeGraff told us the low interest could be because many of these features are unusual and somewhat unfamiliar. People may not fully understand the potential benefits and as such they are simply not interested. He also noted that some people might be concerned about security, such as with biometric identifiers.
This is all very interesting, and we are curious to see what the auto industry is doing in response to this and what will become popular in the future.