Best Ways to be Pampered in your Car
Some of the BlogHer women were discussing recently whether we tend to be the ones who get spoiled, or whether we are the ones who do the actual spoiling. So the question was asked "Is it better to be spoiled than to spoil others?"
It got me to thinking about ways to be spoiled while in the car. At AskPatty, we often have opportunities to evaluate vehicles with a large assortment of special features and options, and have come across many automotive luxuries that make the time in these cars nearly equivalent to time spent in a spa. We spend enough time in them schlepping kids, groceries, etc., that we deserve to have some comfort, darnit!
I informally polled my friends at Twitter and Facebook, and found that most of the women who responded had a few favorite ways that they liked to be pampered in the car, and I thought it would be nice to include their suggestions, as well as a few other really special ultra-luxe ways that women can be spoiled in their cars.
Hands-down, this was the most popular response! Heated seats are an option on just about any new car sold these days. Some upscale vehicles (like the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid, Audi A8, and Acura RL) even have a cooling feature, so your backside can be the perfect temperature for you, regardless of whether you are driving in the blazing heat of the Arizona desert, or the wintry cold of Connecticut. SOME cars even extend this feature to passengers in the back seat!!
A close second place! If you're not against killing cows for your automotive comfort, nice leather-trimmed interiors are available in practically every car from the Honda Civic to the Chevy Malibu. Up on the top end, the Porsche Cayenne GTS sport/utility vehicle can be outfitted with an amazing interior that features an incredible Alcantara suede headliner and some of the most comfortable and supportive seats you will ever sit in. And let me not leave out the fabulous interior of the Audi S8 which not only features the most supple leather I have ever touched, but also boasts...
You know how sometimes you go to get a pedicure and they have those delicious massage chairs to relax your back while you get your toes done? Well, the 2009 Audi A8/S8 and 2009 Volvo S80 and XC90 Executive models will do the same thing for you while you're driving. Push a button, get a massage, arrive home happy.
Kickin' Sound System
Once upon a time, you had to go to an aftermarket audio shop to get killer tunes in your car. Not any more: Most manufacturers offer top-of-the-line audio entertainment systems that will give you aural pleasure equivalent to some concert halls. Acura offers an amazing 10-speaker Bose surround sound DVD system. Audi partners with Danish advanced sound expert Bang & Olufsen to treat your ears. Radio Disney couldn't sound better. The Cadillac CTS features a 40-gig harddrive which allows you not only to import your music library, but also to pause and rewind live radio in much the same way a DVR allows you to timeshift television. And practically everyone, from Mercedes to Mini, offers some kind of slick iPod integration kit that will give your iPod plug-and-play functionality.
Rear-View Camera Systems
Not merely a luxury anymore, these systems are excellent safety devices to protect against accidental backovers of small children or pets who might be unnoticed behind a vehicle. Beyond the safety aspect, these systems make perfect guides for the parking impaired thanks to a fisheye camera in the tail of the vehicle that shows what's behind you in an onscreen display. Some cars offer predictive guides to help you navigate according to your steering input; Infiniti's excellent Around View Monitor found on EX and FX models actually features four cameras, giving drivers a 360-degree view around the car.
Keyless Entry and Start
Another no-brainer available on almost every car from the Audi Q7 to the Nissan Versa to the Volvo S80 are smart keyfobs that will allow you to enter and start the car as long as the fob is somewhere on your person. If you're as key-challenged as me, simply having the key in your purse or diaper bag will allow you to enter and drive without having to engage in an intense search for the key before leaving the house. Some of these systems are so intelligent, they allow you to set seating, audio, and climate preferences to specific drivers, so that when you approach the car, it will set itself to accommodate that driver's unique needs. Infiniti vehicles even recognize the fob upon approach, so that exterior and interior lights automatically activate to "welcome" you to the vehicle. And that extra lighting is not just convenient, but a safety feature to illuminate unwelcome lurkers in dark parking lots.
One-Touch Up/Down Windows and Rear Hatch
Most cars give the driver one-touch up and down controls, but some vehicles offer it on both front windows while others extend it to the back seats as well. Maybe not so good in the carwash, but it's an excellent feature on hot days when you want to purge the interior of suffocating hot air. If you've got a babe in arms, or arms full of groceries, a push-button tailgate control is a life saver for easy access. Concerned that opening the rear hatch door might cause it to bash into a low-hanging garage-door mechanism? The height of the Porsche Cayenne can be programmed to protect it from such mishaps! All these systems are equipped with pressure-sensors to protect noggins from (much) injury, but you should always take care to keep fingers away from closing portals.
Automatic Parallel Parking
Are you parallel parking challenged? Several manufacturers now offer parking assist systems to help you safely maneuver into place. Lexus offers an Intuitive Parking Assist system that helps you detect how close the LS is to surrounding objects by offering audible beeps and displaying distance guides on a display. Volkswagen is also developing a parking assist system. But the creme de la creme is the 'Active Park Assist' system available in mid 2009 on the 2010 Lincoln MKS sedan and MKT luxury crossover vehicles. The system uses an ultrasonic-based sensing system and electric power assisted steering to position the vehicle for parallel parking, and actually steer the vehicle into a parking spot. You don't even have to touch the steering wheel! AskPatty staffers have seen demonstrations of this technology, and it made them want to sing and dance! Don't believe me? Watch a demo of it at YouTube!
So, next time you go car hunting, consider this list of luxuries among the features you might like to have in your next vehicle. I'm not sure you can get them ALL in one car, but you can certainly choose to indulge yourself with a few of these niceties. Have I left anything off? Then be sure to let me know by leaving your comments here!
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