10 car features people want most (and 7 they want least)

New cars are offered with ever-increasing numbers of 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 over 50,000 of them planning on buying another new car in the future. The company asked about 100 different choices, and these are the top 10 features people want:

  1. Heated seats: 66%
  2. Blind-spot monitoring: 60%
  3. Front and rear parking sensors: 55%
  4. All-wheel or four-wheel drive: 54%
  5. Lane-departure warning: 54%
  6. Apple CarPlay and/or Android Auto: 53%
  7. Power front passenger seat: 52%
  8. LED accent lights: 52%
  9. Ventilated or cooled seats: 50%
  10. Memory driver’s seat: 49%

We’re actually pretty impressed at these buyers’ preferences, since all of these features are quite good. In particular, these driver aids – blind-spot monitoring, parking sensors and lane-departure warning – are probably among the most helpful, as well as least intrusive, driver aids on the market. And of course all of these convenience features are handy on a regular basis and are easy to use. It’s also interesting that while Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard equipment on a vast array of cars, they’re sixth in the list. Many of these other safety and convenience features are still optional. Hopefully this will convince more automakers to start including more of these as standard.

At the other end of the spectrum are features customers just aren’t interested in. Note, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re avoiding them, just that they aren’t features they would be looking for.

  1. Augmented reality head-up display: 14%
  2. Electronic engine noise enhancement: 13%
  3. Ability to purchase things from the vehicle infotainment system: 12%
  4. Biometric features: 9%
  5. Gesture controls: 9%
  6. Concierge services: 7%
  7. Fully-autonomous, hands-free driving with no steering wheel: 7%

Again, we’re impressed because we feel like many of these features are gimmicks that don’t add much to the car. Some we would argue even detract from the experience, such as electronic engine noises and gesture controls. It’s also quite interesting how few people were interested in a full-on autonomous car, considering how much time and money is being spent by companies to reach full autonomy.

It’s also worth noting that there may be a variety of factors playing into some of these features not being particularly desired. AutoPacific analyst Robby DeGraff told us that the low interest could come from many of these features being uncommon and somewhat unknown. People may not fully understand the potential benefits, and as such, they just aren’t interested. He also noted that some people could have some concerns about security, such as with biometric features.

All of this is quite interesting, and we’ll be keen to see what the car industry does in response, and to see what becomes popular in the future.

Related video:

Source: AutoBlog.com

Police bodycam shows what it’s like to be a cop who’s hit by a car

Police bodycam videos have been eye-opening, allowing us to witness the good and the bad of law enforcement. The POV nature of the cams lets us walk in a cop’s shoes. In this case, we get to see, in a small sense, what it’s like to be hit by a car.

Fair warning — this is difficult to watch.

Atlanta police Officer Steven Randerson is working a post-rush-hour morning accident on the shoulder of I-75. At first, the traffic looks light in the video. But the officer turns his back to oncoming traffic — and is struck before he can make his way to a safer spot ahead of the police vehicles. The entire operation is bordered on one side by a concrete wall.  

“The oncoming vehicle was traveling too fast for the wet conditions and lost control as it approached the area of the accident,” the Atlanta Police Department wrote. “The driver who rammed into Randerson was cited for going too fast for conditions.”

Randerson, a nine-year veteran of the Atlanta PD, is still on medical leave two weeks after being struck and seriously injured. The crash happened Oct. 6, but the bodycam video was not made public until this week.

“We remind motorists of Georgia’s Move Over Law, which was put in place to avoid exactly this type of thing from happening. This law states that drivers must move over one lane when emergency vehicles are stopped on the side of the road,” APD wrote.

Most states these days have Move Over laws, requiring motorists to give police, fire crews, tow truck drivers, utility crews and the like a lane of space. If you can’t move over, then you’re required to slow to a speed that would allow you to safely stop. Anyone who drives a car should know this — the laws have been on the books for years at this point. Yet police say there is an awareness problem. Here at Autoblog, we see motorists all the time who do not move over, do not slow down, who do nothing to give first responders a margin of safety. (Really, you should make space for any vehicle on the shoulder, official or civilian.) And we see drivers going too fast in rain, as was the case here.

After seeing this video, can we all do better? Please move over. 

Source: AutoBlog.com

Chevy teases 2023 Corvette Z06’s 8,600 RPM red line with new video

Chevy answered one of the most pressing 2023 Corvette Z06 questions Wednesday with a new teaser video released exactly 8,600 minutes before the new high-performance coupe’s virtual unveiling. While there’s limited footage of the car’s exterior, we do get to hear it revving past an indicated 8,500 RPM at approximately 100 MPH as the car tops out third gear. 

The 5.5-liter, flat-plane crank V8 expected to power the high-performance road car has been the subject of endless speculation; early rumors suggested a red line of 9,000 RPM, which Chevy appears to have quashed today. Fundamentally, it’s related to the engine used in the C8.R race car, and while 8,600 RPM may seem disappointing in that context, the street car’s engine will still be significantly more powerful than that used by the C8.R, which appears to hit fuel cut around 7,400 RPM thanks to series-imposed power restrictions.

We also expect the Z06 to come with 345-section-width rubber in back and 275s up front. Some spy shots have suggested Michelin’s Pilot Sport Cup 2 will at least be available, if not standard equipment, though we do expect the Z06 to be offered in multiple stages of suspension and aerodynamic preparation as has been the case in the past. The 2023 Corvette Z06 will debut on Oct. 26. 

Related video:

Source: AutoBlog.com

Least expensive cars to insure in America

The monthly payment isn’t the only regular cost new car buyers need to consider when shopping for a new vehicle. Fuel, scheduled maintenance and, yes, insurance must be factored in when deciding how much you can afford to spend on transportation. And these costs can vary dramatically, with the most expensive vehicle to insure in America costing nearly four times that of the least expensive vehicle to insure.

In an effort to help shoppers consider the cost of insuring their new vehicle, Insure.com calculated the rates of nearly 3,000 individual car models and compared them between six large insurance carriers using 10 different zip codes in each of the 50 states. The calculations were done based on a single 40-year-old male who commutes 12 miles to work each day, and while the actual rates for other types of drivers in differing situations may change, the rank order is likely similar.

Here are the vehicles that are cheapest to insure in the U.S.:

10. Jeep Wrangler Sport (JL)

National Average Rate: $1,339

More on the 2021 Jeep Wrangler:

Review | Pricing | Incentives

9. Subaru Forester 2.5i

National Average Rate: $1,333

More on the 2021 Subaru Forester:

Review | Pricing | Incentives

8. Subaru Outback 2.5i

National Average Rate: $1,330

More on the 2021 Subaru Outback:

Review | Pricing | Incentives

7. Mazda CX-5 Sport

National Average Rate: $1,328

More on the 2021 Mazda CX-5:

Review | Pricing | Incentives

6. Jeep Compass Sport

National Average Rate: $1,324

More on the 2021 Jeep Compass:

Review | Pricing | Incentives

5. Honda HR-V LX

National Average Rate: $1,322

More on the 2021 Honda HR-V:

Review | Pricing | Incentives

4. Fiat 500X Trekking

National Average Rate: $1,301

More on the 2021 Fiat 500X:

Review | Pricing | Incentives

3. Mazda CX-3 Sport

National Average Rate: $1,294

More on the 2021 Mazda CX-3:

Review | Pricing | Incentives

2. Honda CR-V LX

National Average Rate: $1,285

More on the 2021 Honda CR-V:

Review | Pricing | Incentives

1. Chrysler Voyager L

National Average Rate: $1,272

More on the 2021 Chrysler Voyager:

Review | Pricing | Incentives

Source: AutoBlog.com

Stink bugs add to global supply-chain headaches

Shortages of raw materials, computer chips, labor and just about everything else have caused significant disruptions to the global supply chain since the height of the covid pandemic, but a new problem has crept up in Australia, and this time it’s one of overabundance. Of what, you ask? Stink bugs. Invasive, nasty stink bugs. 

The presence of brown marmorated stink bugs has delayed car imports into Australia by up to a month, ABC News reports, as importers work to fumigate containers where the bugs have been spotted. The aggressively invasive pests can lie dormant for months in the crevices of shipping containers and the goods they carry, making detection and elimination of the bugs all the more difficult. 

“The bug’s ability to hitchhike, fly, and to feed on a wide range of plant hosts, enables it to spread rapidly when it is introduced to new areas,” Australian Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment biosecurity boss Andrew Tongue told ABC Radio Brisbane.

Compounding the issue is the fact that the bugs have now taken hold worldwide, forcing ships even from ports where the bugs are not native to be subject to inspection, as they are often just as likely to harbor infestations. The bug’s habitat now includes the United States and countries throughout Asia and Europe. Australia is hoping to prevent a full-blown invasion. 

Source: AutoBlog.com

Have a go hero: When an F1 stalwart floundered in an underbaked Aston

Splitting his time between driving Mercedes and Aston Martins at grand prix weekends, 2003 British Formula 3 champion Alan van der Merwe has a job that would be the envy of many. But, while his role as Formula 1’s medical driver means he’s not actively racing anymore, the 41-year-old does have experience of racing an Aston on his CV from a brief spell in sportscars. The South African had completed just two races with a roof over his head before agreeing to join the James Watt Automotive team that had been selected as one of the first customer squads to run the Aston Martin Vantage GT2 in the 2008 Le Mans Series. His first had been six years previously in the 2002 Daytona 24 Hours, the Bell Motorsports BMW M3 GTR he’d been entrusted with halted prematurely by gearbox problems, while the other came at the Nurburgring 24 Hours in 2006 with a rally-spec Subaru Impreza that “really didn’t want to be on the Nordschleife”. It was therefore something of a departure for ex-BAR-Honda F1 tester van der Merwe, who describes it as “a very odd stage in my career where I didn’t quite know where it was going to go”. He had represented his nation in the A1GP championship in 2006-07, but a mystery illness that he suspects today was a post-viral infection picked up while doing PR events for BAR partner Lucky Strike left him “hanging on for dear life” and meant “the car was driving me in the end”. “I’d lost a huge amount of weight and I wasn’t physically strong enough to drive the A1 car,” he tells Autosport of a period that ultimately lasted 18 months before he got back to full fitness. “I was wasting away, I had no energy. “I went to see tropical disease specialists, I was busy with some oncologists as well. There were all sorts of theories and all quite scary things. I had biopsies and I was fine, but doctors basically recommended that I shouldn’t be competing anyway. Mystery illness hampered his time in A1GP and prompted van der Merwe to look for new opportunities Photo by: Motorsport Images “I did try, but you’re only as good as your last race. I kept having these bad performances and it doesn’t really matter why you’re not performing, the bottom line is that you’re not.” Upon moving to GT racing, van der Merwe admits he felt “very much out of my comfort zone”, much the same as he had while testing a year-old Mercedes DTM car in the winter of 2004. “I always knew I would take a good season or two to really figure it out,” he says, “and at that level, you don’t really want to be learning anymore.” “I think it was just bad timing. Maybe I shouldn’t have been involved in that very early process” Alan van der Merwe Unfortunately for van der Merwe, the car that would go on to score Le Mans 24 Hours class wins in GTE Pro (2017) and GTE Am (2014) in a lengthy competition career with the Prodrive-operated factory team was, in 2008, somewhat under-baked. A planned debut at Barcelona was called off – “it was something to do with a timing belt or oil feed, we could have gone racing but we were probably going to end up blowing something up,” he says. Then his experience of racing at Silverstone was entirely forgettable, 13 laps down on the GT2 class-winning Virgo Ferrari in the car he shared with Tim Sugden and Michael Outzen. “We were miles off the pace there, all we did was drive around quite slowly,” he recalls. “We were never really going to be setting the world on fire. You could tell the car had potential, but it wasn’t really competitive yet. On straightline speed, we were very far off and Balance of Performance was still quite new back then, there was a lot of variance. “I think it was just bad timing. Maybe I shouldn’t have been involved in that very early process. Aston Martin went on to have a lot of success with that car in the hands of more experienced drivers and with Prodrive running it.” Van der Merwe’s only race in the Aston at Silverstone was entirely forgettable due to its lack of performance Photo by: Motorsport Images Van der Merwe says that he “didn’t really enjoy” his sportscar stint, even before off-track problems clouded things further and conspired to put him off seeking other opportunities. “It was the usual motorsport story, I didn’t end up getting paid the way I was supposed to,” he says. “So there weren’t really major discussions [about continuing]. “I’d always be involved with very professional, pretty much the best outfits around. Haywood Racing and Carlin, at the time you couldn’t really get better, so then having this wake-up call where you might not get paid, to me it just wasn’t racing. “I was used to a very pure, very single-minded approach and then dealing with all of this stuff… my introduction to sportscars was quite chaotic and I think that probably played into it. “It just fizzled out in the end. Maybe I could have gone on to have a decent career in that, but I don’t really regret it.” He was close to getting “a regular office job”, recognising that “my momentum had started to drop and getting into seats that I would have found worthwhile was getting more and more difficult” when he received an out of the blue call from his former Carlin F3 team manager David Lowe. His first assumption that Lowe had “called by mistake because I hadn’t spoken to him for seven years” couldn’t have been wider from the mark. Van der Merwe has served as the medical car driver for F1 since 2009 Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images “He just said, ‘Charlie [Whiting] has asked me to find somebody to drive the medical car’,” recalls van der Merwe. Initially unsure what this would entail – “I didn’t know that there was such a thing as a medical car driver!” – he agreed to a meeting with Whiting at Heathrow, where they shook hands on a deal that would take effect from the start of the 2009 F1 season. It would effectively demand that van der Merwe give up racing and so was a fairly significant personal choice. But, aside from a return to A1GP for the final-ever meeting at Brands Hatch in 2009 on a non-clashing F1 weekend, he has stuck to the agreement ever since. The medical car Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images shares comments
Source: AutoSport.com

Weight a key factor in Aston Martin’s tweaked green F1 livery choice

The Silverstone-based team has begun looking into a potential tweak of its green livery for 2022, with the dark pantone having not been as good as it originally hoped. While the team was happy with how the green looked in real life, the colours have not come across as well on television images. And, in particular with the way that cameras pick up the light, the dark Aston Martin has often been hard to distinguish from the black Mercedes in certain angles. Speaking earlier this year, team principal Otmar Szafnauer said that the type of green used on its car would be reconsidered. “I think it’s a stunning colour in the sun and when you’re looking at it in person,” he said. “But I believe we should be looking at making it pop a little bit more on television, without losing the green when you’re looking at it outside. “I don’t know if we can do that, but that’s one thing that we’re looking to do, just to make sure that it differentiates itself on TV from some of the other darker cars.” Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal and CEO, Aston Martin F1, is interviewed Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images Talks at Aston Martin about its 2022 livery, and the choice of green, began this week at its Silverstone factory, with senior chiefs now working out what would be best. But Szafnauer is clear that the team needs to carefully consider any change of green, and especially cannot choose one based on optics if it ends up adding too much weight to the car. Asked by Autosport about the latest situation on the paint scheme, Szafnauer explained that one of the key issues the team faced for 2022 was getting close to the minimum weight limit. “We just started looking at that,” explained Szafnauer in a media call ahead of the United States Grand Prix. “We’ve had a senior team management meeting and we started talking about next year’s paint, and how much of the car we will be painting next year, with what colour. “But weight is also a big factor. We’ve got to take as much weight out as we can. So we’re just in the process of that now.” Read Also: Aston Martin is not alone in facing a battle to get its car close to the minimum weight limit for 2022. New regulations, increased crash test demands, plus larger wheels and brakes, has led to an increase in the mass of cars – and teams are reluctant in the cost cap era about being forced to use expensive weight-saving materials. The latest update of F1’s 2022 regulations published this week lifted the minimum weight to 792kg for next year, but teams still think it will be tough to hit that. shares comments
Source: AutoSport.com

Jeep sweeps Rebelle Rally podium and pockets first-time electrified finish

The 2021 Rebelle Rally was good for Jeep. Its new Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid became the first electrified vehicle to complete the annual women’s off-road endurance event, taking first and second place. Another Wrangler (non-4xe) took third, completing the sweep, and five of the top 10 finishers in the sixth-annual running of the 1,500-mile desert course. 

First place went to 4xEventure, with Nena Barlow and Teralin Petereit at the helm of Wrangler 4xe # 129, which never finished lower than third in any of the Rebelle Rally’s seven stages. Team Jeep Thrills, driven by mother-daughter team Christine and Emily Benzie, brought the #177 Wrangler 4xe in second, taking one stage win. These two teams also put Jeep’s entrants 1-2 in the Bone Stock category to boot. Jeep also sponsored Team Asdzáá Skoden Rebelles (#160) of Shandiina Peters and Racquel Black, the first all-Navajo team to compete in the Rally.

“The course was more challenging than ever this year, but the Wrangler 4xe made it easy,” said Nena Barlow of Team 4xEventure. “We torqued up dunes and rock-crawled mountains and washes with ease and efficiency. Not to mention, we never lacked for range or power.”

“The Jeep brand has supported the Rebelle Rally since the beginning six years ago and, this year, we were excited to showcase the new Wrangler 4xe in the most difficult off-road rally conditions,” said Jeep Vice President Jim Morrison, in the company’s announcement. “It’s a testament to our teams in the race and our engineering teams at home that this year Jeep Wrangler swept the podium, with two Wrangler 4xe SUVs placing first and second overall, as well taking the Bone Stock and electrified awards without a single issue the entire Rally. Congratulations to everyone who rallied this year.”

Jeep has now taken the overall victory in five of the Rebelle Rally’s six runnings to date. We expect manufacturer competition to get stiffer as the hot 4×4 segment continues to expand, and we’re sure Ford would like to see its revived Bronco on the podium sooner rather than later. Jeep might be hearing hoofbeats, as Shelby Hall and Penny Dale placed fourth in a Bronco.

Source: AutoBlog.com

Watch vehicles go flying in terrifying train crash with car hauler

The video above captures what happened after a semi truck carrying a load of vehicles got itself high-centered on a railroad crossing Friday near Thackerville, Okla. An Amtrak train hits the incapacitated truck at speed in one of the most spectacular crashes we can recall, sending the truckload of vehicles flying and crumpling the car trailer. Worse, five people aboard the Amtrak were injured and were transported to a hospital, according to Love County firefighters, though the injuries were non-critical.

Fire officials said the driver of the truck was not injured, nor were his dogs. In the video, you can see someone jumping up and down in a vain attempt to warn the train. That may well have been the trucker.

Photos in the gallery below show the aftermath of the crash, with some vehicles nearly unrecognizable. The impact lifted the locomotive off the tracks and derailed it, as you can see in one of the photos.

The train was northbound. Thackerville is in southern Oklahoma north of Dallas/Fort Worth. Some of the Amtrak passengers were ferried in school buses to lodging, while some stayed aboard. There was a locomotive at the rear of the train, so the damaged locomotive was uncoupled and a locomotive at the south end of the train was used to take passengers back to Fort Worth.

 

Source: AutoBlog.com

Volvo’s $2.9 billion stock IPO is a key test in shift to EVs

Volvo Car AB is looking to raise 25 billion kronor ($2.9 billion) in a Stockholm initial public offering in a test for automakers amid the transition to electric vehicles.

The Swedish carmaker, owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., is offering shares at 53 kronor to 68 kronor each (about $6-$8), according to a statement Monday. 

The deal values Volvo Cars at as much as $23 billion, 11 years after the Chinese firm bought the business from Ford Motor Co. for $1.8 billion. The IPO is set to be Europe’s largest since January, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The carmaker, with an ambitious plan to only sell full electric cars by 2030, plans to use the funds to add carmaking capacity so it can nearly double annual sales to more than 1.2 million vehicles. Volvo Cars also plans to construct a battery plant in Europe.

“We have a very clear strategy to be an electric company in 2030 and we’ve been on that journey for some years now,” Volvo Cars CEO Hakan Samuelsson said in an interview. “With this, of course, we can secure that transformation, because of course, it’s not free of charge.”

Volvo’s projected market capitalization of about $20 billion compares to roughly $65 billion for BMW AG, while the German premium carmaker produces more than 2 million vehicles versus Volvo Cars’ 660,000 last year. Newer entrants to the industry such as China’s Nio Inc. and Tesla Inc. have seen their share prices surge past traditional manufacturers even as they sell only a fraction of the number of vehicles.

The IPO also comes less than a month after electric-vehicle maker Polestar, controlled by Volvo Cars and Geely, said it will go public in New York via a blank-check merger. The deal implies an enterprise value of $20 billion for the startup, with Volvo Cars expecting to hold a 50% stake in Polestar after it lists.

While the century-old Swedish industry stalwart and Polestar have similar valuations, 4-year-old Polestar has a target of delivering only about 29,000 cars this year.

Geely previously attempted to take Volvo Cars public in 2018, but called off the listing after investors were said to balk at its valuation expectations of as much as $30 billion. 

A group of pension funds and institutional investors have committed to buying 6.4 billion kronor worth of shares in the IPO.

The offering of as much as 21% of Volvo Cars runs through Oct. 27, and the shares are set to start trading in Stockholm on Oct. 28.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and SEB AB are global coordinators on the IPOs, alongside bookrunners Morgan Stanley, BNP Paribas SA, HSBC Holdings Plc, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Nordea Bank Abp. Carnegie Investment Bank and Swedbank AB are co-lead managers.

The IPO is set to be Europe’s biggest since Polish parcel-locker provider InPost SA’s 2.8 billion-euro offering in January.

Source: AutoBlog.com