Consumer Reports New Cars – November 2019

(Kiana) #1

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Save your money,
our experts say

These often make the ride less
comfortable, primarily because
smaller sidewalls make tires stiffer.
In addition, larger wheels and thin-
ner tires are more susceptible to
costly damage from potholes
and curbs.
“Don’t be fooled by how they
look,” says Gene Petersen, who
runs CR’s tire-testing program.
“Low-profile tires and larger
wheels mean there’s less rubber
to absorb road bumps. You’ll
definitely feel the difference, and
not in a good way.”

Most are expensive and may
require map updates. Instead,
use Android Auto and Apple
CarPlay by plugging your smart-
phone into your car through a USB
port. Doing so allows drivers to
directly tap into their phone’s map
apps—such as Google Maps
or Waze—and display them on
the car’s screen.

Automatically steers or brakes
when the car crosses lane
markings if the driver hasn’t
activated a turn signal.
“There are no data to show
that automated steering has any
safety benefits,” says CR’s Kelly
Funkhouser, who examines how
drivers and passengers use car
controls. “There are still kinks that
need to be worked out, such as
the system trying to keep the car
in a lane even though the driver is
intentionally crossing the lane line
in order to give a bicyclist more
room on the road.”

Instead, get an inexpensive tablet
so kids can watch movies, read
books, and play games.

a 1.5-, 2.0-, or 2.4-amp
rating (noted by 1.5A,
2A, 2.1A, or 2.4A on the
outlet). Newer USB
Type-C plugs support
up to 3 amps of charging.
They require a specific
cord, but really speed
up charging.

(^) Keyless entry: This
feature works by the
car sensing that the fob
is nearby, without the
driver having to press
any buttons on the fob.
It’s a very handy way to
lock or unlock a vehicle
without fishing for the
keys or putting bags,
boxes, or a child down
on the ground. Some
systems unlock the
door automatically if it
senses the key is nearby,
but others require
drivers to touch a
button on a front-door
handle. A number of
vehicles have the ability
to unlock and raise the
tailgate or trunk as well,
just by sensing the
fob’s presence.
Multizone climate
systems: This lets drivers
and passengers set
their own temperature
for their climate zone.
In some models, even
rear-seat passengers
can get their own
climate controls, which
can really help to take
some stress out of
family travel.
(^) WiFi hotspot: These
are often bundled with
telematics systems or
upgraded infotainment
packages. They provide
WiFi in the vehicle,
allowing passengers
to use mobile devices
without eating up
their cellular data
plans. Often, a hotspot
service is free for an
introductory period,
then owners must pay
a monthly fee which
may be cheaper than
a phone’s data plan.
(^) Wireless charging
pad: These pads use
induction to directly
charge a phone battery
without connecting it
to a USB outlet. Most of
the newest smartphones
can be charged this
way; others will need
a special case to do
so. One benefit to
this kind of wireless
charging setup is that
it keeps the phone
tucked away, so the
driver is less tempted to
use it while driving.
Eyes On the Road
Head-up displays
project vital
information into
the driver’s
line of sight.

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