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Beth Twigg

Beth Twigg

Beth is our Content and Paid Media Specialist, tasked with creating great articles to keep you both entertained and informed. She has two years previous experience, but has been writing and scribbling for much longer.

Read time of 6 minutes.

The top nine features car buyers are looking for

From premium audio systems to adaptive headlights, these are the most popular car features that have people saying ‘yes’ to the car.

If you’re searching for a new car lease, chances are you’ve got a wishlist of features that you’d like – with some more important than others.

And you’re not alone.

Results from a recent YouGov study have revealed the top features that drivers across the globe consider when they’re searching for their next set of wheels.

We’ve dived into the top 10 features British drivers are looking for, from driver assistance systems to head-up displays.

But which feature is top of your list?

Car connectivity apps

1. Driver assistance features

Driver assistance features, like blind spot monitoring, parking sensors and 360 degree cameras, are the number one thing that drivers in the UK are looking for in their new cars.

Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are technologies that car manufacturers utilise to help drivers operate their cars safely, improving car and road safety for everyone on our (increasingly potholed) roads.

Crossing over with advanced safety systems, driver aids are specifically targeted at making the driver’s life easier, rather than being aimed at the whole car. Ultimately this does result in a safer experience for everyone, but that’s a handy side effect, rather than the sole purpose of the technology.

ADAS relies on automated technologies, like cameras and sensors, to detect whether there are any obstacles around, and responds accordingly, whether that’s putting the brakes on or keeping you in your lane.

Every car will come equipped with different driver aids (and some might only be available as optional extras you can add on for an additional cost), so if having the top driver assistance systems is important to you, it’s worth shopping around.

2. Navigation system

Coming in as the second most important car feature for British drivers, it’s the humble navigation system.

Gone are the days where you had to fork out for a sat nav that attached to your windscreen (I still remember when my dad got his first TomTom and I was fascinated by it, though it didn't stop us from getting lost down multiple country lanes) – these days, many cars come with inbuilt navigation systems.

The integrated system has pros and cons, and if you’re a fan of a particular brand or app, you might still opt for using your phone or another standalone system.

But with these often relying on cellular data to download maps, you could be up the proverbial creek without a paddle if you find yourself deep in the Great British Countryside with no signal – and no map.

However, your car’s system should come with every map it needs stored in its memory, allowing you and your trusty vehicle to easily find your way back to civilisation without going around in circles, swearing you’ve already seen that same patch of trees three times.

3. Advanced safety features

Though advanced safety features globally came out on top as the most popular car feature, it’s only the third most sought after feature for us Brits.

Again, there are many overlaps between safety tech and driver aids. In fact, many of them could feature in either section, with technologies like adaptive cruise control and autonomous emergency braking aiding the driver as well as improving safety.

The main difference is that safety features have two different umbrellas: active safety features and passive safety features.

Active safety features are your advanced technologies, like lane-keeping tech, visibility aids, speed-limiting devices and smart seatbelt reminders, while passive features include the body shell itself, airbags and head restraints.

Again, different cars will come equipped with different safety features, so it’s always worth shopping around, perusing the safety lists and options for the bits you want, and – if in doubt – speak to your leasing consultant to make sure your new lease car comes with everything on your list.

BYD ATTO 3 interior

4. Connectivity

Not that long ago, connectivity was only for those of us with a bit more cash to splash, reserved only for the most premium and pricy of cars.

But the connected car has become the norm, and it’s rare to find a new car without some form of connectivity, whether that’s a simple Bluetooth connection that allows you to pair your phone with the infotainment screen, or a wireless connection that lets the car operate more like a computer.

There is a whole spectrum of connectivity, too.

The majority of connected cars will allow you to access/send data, connect with other devices, and allow you to use the manufacturer’s dedicated app to access functions like unlocking/locking the vehicle, opening the sunroof, starting/stopping the engine and climate control.

Some automakers, like Tesla, have stepped the game up, and their connected cars come with a whole host of added extras on top of the ‘normal’ connected car features, including the Tesla Arcade and Netflix capability, so you can play games or watch films while parked up in your car.

5. Automatic climate control

Automatic climate control is the next step up from bog-standard air conditioning. Though they both control the temperature of the cabin, air con essentially just heats or cools the car’s interior, while automatic climate control is a little bit cleverer.

It’s essentially a ‘set it and forget it’ type system.

You simply choose the temperature you’d like the cabin to be, and the automatic climate control does the rest, automatically heating or cooling the car to keep it at the right temperature.

Some of the more advanced systems are split into dual-, tri- or quad-zones, allowing you to set the different areas of the car at different temperatures. Dual-zone climate control splits the car in half down the central console.

Tri-zone treats the front two seats as two separate zones and the rear as the third zone, while quad-zone climate control treats the driver, the front seat passenger, the rear left seat and the rear right seat as four zones independent of each other.

6. Infotainment system

Now, this did surprise us. We thought that an infotainment system would be way higher up the list of peoples priorities when they’re searching for a new car, but it’s just slipped out of the top five to come in at number six.

Perhaps it’s that people expect their cars to come with an infotainment system now – especially if it’s a brand new car – and so aren’t searching for it. We’re not sure.

However, the humble infotainment system is a very handy addition to any car.

Though the technology isn’t perhaps as impressive as it was when it first launched all those years ago, it has gone through several upgrades. While the most basic of screens will allow you to control the traditional dashboard features and likely connect your smartphone to the screen via Bluetooth, more advanced systems have layers and layers of controls.

Whether you’re blasting your favourite Spotify playlist, adjusting the seats, setting vehicle preferences, or even watching a film, there’s so much that the more premium systems can do to keep you connected and entertained on the go.

Lotus Eletre with headlights on

7. Adaptive headlights

Adaptive headlights are a nifty little addition to your car lease, especially if – like us – you often find yourself navigating down a dark lane in the depths of winter.

The clue is in the name. Adaptive headlights adapt to the road ahead to help illuminate your path, leaving no corner unlit and no pothole out of the spotlight.

The headlights automatically move from side to side with the steering wheel, allowing you to see more as the light moves to where you’re driving to and thus where you’re looking. Not all adaptive headlights dim the light automatically, so make sure you check your car to avoid dazzling any oncoming traffic. 

8. Smart key technology

More of a nice to have than a necessity for most of us, though many more premium cars are using this technology now, and we’re sure it won’t be long before the smart key becomes more standard across the board.

Smart keys are quite a handy feature though, allowing you to unlock, lock, or even start your car with your key still in your pocket. You do have to be in range of your car so the key can talk to the vehicle, but it saves you having to faff with getting your keys out of your pocket when your hands are full of bags or kids.

9. Premium sound system

Hands up who loves a car karaoke moment? Caraoke, if you will.

We’ve got both of our hands up.

Nothing screams summer like a carefully curated playlist blasting through the speakers on a long road trip. It’s one of the most cathartic activities – and many of us want a good sound system to elevate the whole experience.

Premium sound systems are not just for premium cars anymore – many manufacturers are bringing high-end audio to the mainstream. Data gathered by S&P Mobility in 2022 has shown that Honda and Toyota rank in the top 10 brands associated with premium audio, joining the likes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Every automaker works with a different brand however, with providers like Sony, Bose, Panasonic, Harmon-Karmon and Bang & Olufson featuring across the board. Some have even installed ambient lighting that changes to suit the mood of the music you’re playing.

Having a little car cry when it’s raining outside and you’re pretending like you’re the main character in a movie (just me?) will never be the same again.

Know which features you want, but not which car you want?