Drivers Want To Stay Cool, Calm And Connected

According to new research this week, it reveals that after this summer’s heatwave it has left a lasting impression on the nation’s drivers.  A study published this week, shows that when it comes to purchasing their next car, motorists’ number one ‘must-have’ feature is air conditioning.

In addition to keeping cool, demanded by the 35% of motorists who say air-con is an essential feature which they would pay extra for, today’s car buyers are keen to keep in contact, as Bluetooth connectivity is the second most desired option in their next car (17%).  And as well as looking back to sweltering journeys in the summer, drivers also appear to be thinking ahead to icy mornings, as a heated windscreen is third on the must-have list when going shopping for cars (16%).

The top five is completed by in-car satellite navigation (16% of drivers) and parking assistance cameras (13%).

Despite huge investment by car manufacturers in developing safety technology, such as collision alert or anti-drowsiness warning systems, research found that these do not hold as much appeal to car buyers as other features.  Indeed, almost half (49%) of drivers said they would not pay extra for this type of feature, preferring to spend their budget on comfort or convenience features.

Over 14 million motorists say they expect to buy a new vehicle in the next two years, with the North West and South East having the greatest proportion of drivers looking for a new car in that period – 58% and 57% respectively.

On average, British drivers plan to spend £13,980 on their next car and are willing to break their budget by £800 (6%) for their desired upgrades.  Londoners are prepared to spend the most on their next car, with drivers in the capital budgeting an average of £16,690, while Welsh motorists are most cost conscious, planning on an average outlay of £11,310.

The research also revealed the options drivers think are a waste of money and are not prepared to spend their hard cash on.  Despite the growth of voice activated devices in the home, 81% of drivers said they would not pay any extra for voice control in the car.

Once considered a sign of luxury, sun roofs appear to have lost popularity, with three quarters (77%) shunning panoramic glass roofs or simple sun roofs (74%).  And while manufacturers believe that ‘heads-up’ dashboard displays are an added safety feature, 75% of drivers would not be willing to pay extra for them.

The top five: the must-have features:

Features Drivers stating it is a ‘must-have’ they would pay extra for
Air conditioning 35%
Bluetooth connectivity 17%
Heated windscreen 16%
Satnav 16%
Parking assistance cameras 13%


The bottom five – the least desirable features:

Features Drivers stating that they would definitely NOT pay extra for feature
Voice control 81%
Panoramic glass roof 77%
Heads-up speedometer display 75%
Adaptive suspension 74%
Sunroof 74%


Roger Griggs, communications director said: “Following the summer we’ve just had it is no surprise that air conditioning is on everyone’s wish list. It’s a great option to have and not only can make a journey so much more comfortable and enjoyable in the heat, it makes de-misting the windows during the winter much easier. While it’s brilliant to have, it is a feature that needs attention and regular servicing to ensure it operates well.  We advise drivers not to keep their air conditioning permanently off through winter, but to use it regularly to keep the system lubricated.”

Whatever options drivers choose, servicing and maintaining a car is essential to both keep them working and maintain the car’s value.


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