COOLEST FEATURES ON SUVS OVER $15,000
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‘Magic’ seats, hands-free tailgates, cable-less smartphone charging, car park-friendly doors, a driver aid for off-road novices (and experts), and a system that warns when the vehicle ahead is moving off…
Let Gumtree Cars introduce you to six of its favourite, coolest features to be found on SUVs today.
Forget card tricks and pulling rabbits out of hats. They won’t help you on a trip to Ikea, but the Honda HR-V will.
The HR-V is the little SUV that swallows bulky items with ease with its ‘magic seats’. It’s almost as easy as saying ‘abracadabra’ to adapt the HR-V’s rear seats into almost any position you want.
Sure, you can fold down the seat backs in every SUV we can think of, but the Honda’s rear cushion bases also flip upwards so you can load awkward items sideways in the car – or tall, delicate objects such as a large plant.
Or flick levers in the boot and the rear seats collapse to create a fully flat cargo area that triples the original size of the boot.
Because the rear seats are divided, you can still have a passenger in the back while having another section flat for longer/bigger things – including a mountain bike if you don’t have an external rack.
Not so many years ago, going off-road typically meant some nous was required to operate a vehicle over tricky terrain – not least the operation in many cases of a secondary gear lever for controlling the all-important high and low-range gearing.
Then in 2005, the Land Rover Discovery turned up with a patented system called Terrain Response.
And it does what it says on the tin: with a simple turn of a rotary dial on the console, the Discovery responds to different types of terrain by adjusting settings for the gearbox, suspension, differentials, throttle response and stability/traction-control systems.
Don’t want to get stuck in a (mud) rut? Then simply select Mud+Ruts mode. Heading to the beach to drive over some dunes rather than swim? Then choose Sand.
Other modes include Rock Crawl, Grass/Gravel/Snow, and General Driving.
In 2013 Terrain Response 2 made things even easier with an Auto mode where the vehicle would just figure things out for itself.
Terrain Response features on all Land Rovers with the exception of the (now discontinued) Defender. Not surprisingly, copycat systems followed.
We all need an extra pair of hands sometimes. So, how about ‘hands’ to open your SUV’s tailgate when you’ve got yours full carrying shopping bags or a box of groceries? Some cool SUVs offer this feature.
Well, since the Ford Kuga became the first SUV to offer a ‘hands-free’ tailgate system, the technology has become increasingly common.
It couldn’t be simpler. Just approach the boot of the SUV with the keyfob in your pocket and then flick your leg underneath the vehicle.
When sensors under the rear bumper detect this kicking motion, the tailgate swings up – with no need to drop bags or boxes on the floor before popping then into the boot.
WIRELESS SMARTPHONE CHARGING
Forgot your USB charging cable? Of course you have, because we’ve all done that.
And it’s frustrating if your smartphone’s battery is almost out of juice.
What you need is an in-car wireless charging pad. Just place your smartphone on the dedicated tray and through inductive charging your battery power is topped up while you drive.
Qi is the common wireless standard.
You’ll need to look around as the tech is still fairly new (certainly in terms of cars) and not all SUVs are available with it. Or it may have been standard only on certain models within a range, or an option on certain variants.
Your first port of call could be the Lexus NX, which in 2014 became the first SUV to feature wireless charging.
Just note that some older phones – including the Apple iPhone 7 – need a special case for the charging to work.
Yes, we shouldn’t be distracted while driving, but try telling that to parents with playful/noisy kids in the back.
And if you hate being beeped at for missing traffic lights that have turned green, you’ll love one of the features of Subaru’s EyeSight safety system.
Front Vehicle Start Alert monitors the space directly ahead of you, and if the vehicle in front moves off and you don’t, the system will warn you with both an audible sound and a notification on the driver display.
EyeSight, which includes a variety of driver aids including adaptive cruise control, debuted on certain variants of the Subaru Outback SUV/wagon in 2012 before moving into some versions of the Forester SUV.
Subaru Australia has continued to add it to models over the years, so just check whether the one you like includes it.
It’s not always easy trying to open your vehicle’s doors in the typically tight confines of a shopping centre car park space – especially when trying to get kids out of the back.
Inevitably, the doors occasionally bump into the vehicle parked alongside.
The Kodiaq SUV from those ‘simply clever’ people at Skoda has an ingeniously simple solution to help prevent scratches, making it onto our list of features for cool SUVs .
When the front or rear doors open to an angle of 11 degrees, a rubber protector flips out automatically to act as a buffer. It’s a mechanical, spring-loaded action that doesn’t involve the Skoda’s electrical system.
Start to close the door and the protector retracts automatically.
The rear doors provide another form of protection, too: umbrellas in the case of rain!
For more cool car features on sedans, check out this post.