With countless hours behind the wheel of new vehicles, the Cars.com reviewers identified what they consider the five most notable features that debuted in 2007.
The top five new-car features according to Cars.com include:
1. Lane-departure prevention. This is a warning system that detects lane markings and sounds a chime if you drift astray. If the warnings are ignored, LDP goes one step further by gently applying the brakes to certain wheels to nudge you back on course. On straight roads, it intervenes with just a hint of deceleration, and the dashboard chime alerts you of its actions.
2. Full-size hybrid SUVs or trucks. To date, hybrid technology has graced only compact and midsize SUVs. Sharing a new, Two-Mode Hybrid system, several GM and Chrysler Group full-size SUVs and a pickup truck deliver significant mileage gains-if early estimates prove accurate. The trucks give up almost none of their hauling and towing capabilities, remaining useful to the people who really need them.
3. Heartbeat sensor. Cars.com is dubious about the usefulness of a heartbeat sensor, but they were won over by the fact that such a futuristic feature is available in today's cars. The heartbeat sensor, found in the Volvo S80, can help you determine whether someone is waiting inside your car and is part of the S80 sedan's Personal Car Communicator fob that can also do things like tell you if your car is locked or unlocked, up to about 300 feet away.
4. Sirius satellite TV. Any parent can tell you that one of the big drags about taking children on long trips is all the stuff you've got to carry with you. Chrysler's new Sirius Satellite TV makes this a bit easier by removing your DVD collection from the list. Your children can watch one of the three channels (the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network) on one or both of the rear swing-down screens; if it's just one, the other can show a DVD or video game.
5. Volvo blind spot information system. Volvo prides itself on safety innovations, and this is the latest. The new models have an optional blind spot information system that alerts drivers about cars that are hard to spot using mirrors. Two cameras are attached to the side mirrors, and a pale orange light illuminates whenever changing lanes would lead to hitting someone in the dreaded blind spot.