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Gadgets and features to improve your automotive experience

Published:Sunday | November 6, 2016 | 12:00 AM
BMW 7 Series – gesture control
Jaguar XJ Ultimate – executive seats
BMW 7 Series
Kia Cadenza – hydrophobic glass
Nissan Versa – Follow-me-home headlamps

If you haven't purchased a new vehicle in the past five years, or made a trip to your favourite manufacturer's local dealership, you may be missing out on a few current gadgets and features that will make any vehicle seem like a luxurious second home.


Executive/lounge rear seating:


As seen in many high-end models such as the Mercedes

S-Class, BMW 7 Series, and Jaguar XJ, executive rear seats offer more than a massage function. These seats are often equipped with ventilating capabilities and a touch-screen remote housing audio and climate controls, as well as a refrigerator. They are also fully adjustable and can be reclined.


Powered trunk/lift gate:


Once only an option found on high-end vehicles, the powered trunk/lift gate is making its appearance in several models. Even though this may seem like an unnecessary feature, it will prevent fingerprints and smudges around the trunk/lift gate on that freshly washed car. Many powered trunk /lift gates are programmed to stop closure, once an object in its path has been detected.


Hydrophobic glass:


Available as an option on the 2016 Kia Cadenza, these windows aren't afraid of moisture as the name would suggest, but the glass has been treated to shed water to preserve visibility during a downpour. These windows resist liquid absorption in order to simplify cleaning and handling. The hydrophobic surface causes liquids to form droplets on contact rather than spreading across the surface.


Gesture control:


The recently revealed BMW 7-series showed us a glimpse of the future using an infrared camera. It is mounted in the cabin and can recognises hand gestures to control 'infotainment' and multimedia functions.

Simple gestures such as 'swiping' or 'pointing' are identified in the recognition area above the centre console. These gestures trigger functions such as accepting or rejecting incoming telephone calls.

Volume can be adjusted by circular motions of the index finger. In a few years, this feature should be available across the BMW model range as well as other manufacturers.


Follow me home lighting:


With this feature, the headlights stay on for a few seconds after your car has been turned off, illuminating the path ahead. It is a convenient feature that should help you see your way safely to your door at nights. In most cars with this feature, the timer can be adjusted anywhere from 20 to 45 seconds.