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Dublin: 5 °C Wednesday 11 December, 2019

Doing massive motorway miles? 6 car features that'll make your life easier

From a fuel tank that’ll last the journey to a handy home for your loose change.

Image: Sam Boal/

FINDING THE RIGHT car for your needs, lifestyle and budget can be a tricky process. We want to help streamline the search. As part of our Insights series, every week we’ll take a different car-buying question to the experts at the heart of the motor industry.

This week, we’re speaking to Simon Barrett. Simon is brand manager at Spirit Skoda, one of Dublin’s leading Skoda dealerships.

Well-maintained highways are easier on a car than rural roads and city streets, but a choosing a car for motorway miles still requires some advance consideration.

If you spend more time on the M7 or the M1 than you ever do in the city centre, here are some car features to put at the top of your list when buying, in Simon’s words…

1. Cruise control

shutterstock_253495804 Source: Shutterstock

Cruise control makes the driving experience more comfortable and gives you peace of mind if you’re wary of going over the speed limit and ending up with penalty points.

You can get plenty of manual models with cruise control, but it’s more effective on an automatic, because the gear changes are looked after for you too. We even have automatic models now with ‘adaptive cruise control’ which will automatically adjust your speed when required – if the car up ahead slows down, for example.

2. A driver’s seat that supports your back

More and more we’re seeing people with back issues requesting seats with lumbar support. New cars in general have more comfortable seats these days, but if you can, look for one with adjustable lumbar support that you can fine-tune to suit your driving style and posture. It’ll stand to you on those long drives.

3. A fuel tank that can last long journeys

shutterstock_628248431 Source: Shutterstock/OH_HO

It’s not just the cost of refilling the tank that’s a concern for drivers covering long distances – it’s the amount of times they need to stop to refill it. What you’re looking for is a lighter car with a larger tank of around 50 or 60 litres. With a heavy SUV or four-wheel drive, you’ll probably get 600 – 700km per refill, but by choosing a lighter car you can raise that figure to 900km or higher.

4. Top-notch connectivity

Factory-fitted sat nat features are becoming less popular now because people have great mapping technology on their phone. For that reason, what you should really be looking out for is an infotainment system that allows you to port or mirror your phone, so you can access music, maps and contacts easily.

5. Exterior lights that’ll get you seen

shutterstock_488687188 Source: Shutterstock/Quality Stock Arts

Most of the typical car safety features come as standard on any new car, but if you can, choose one that has LED daytime running lights rather than the classic halogen. You’ll be more conspicuous on the road, you’ll be seen at the junction, and they look good too!

6. And finally, space for your coffee cup (and your toll booth coins)

Don’t forget the added small features that will make your life easier as you get from A to B. In particular, having somewhere to put your coffee, tea or water is invaluable, as is a handy place to keep loose change for tolls, your keys, your phone and all of the essentials.

More Insights: Deciding on a new car? 7 things you need to know about engine and fuel type

More Insights: Choosing between infotainment systems? We asked an expert what to look for

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