This year I’ve had the pleasure to drive more than 20 different press cars from 12 different car manufacturers; from affordable Hondas to a luxury Bentley Bentayga V8 and many cars in between.
It has been a wonderful experience to see how different manufacturers go about putting a car together based on their philosophy. Here’s what we’ve learnt about the experience.
Cars are getting safer and smarter
The active safety features that are now available even on affordable cars are extensive. If you are buying a car and it doesn’t have active cruise control, lane keep assist and blind spot assist then you should look for one that does. These safety measures really are a must, especially if you are regularly commuting on our busy motorways.
Of course it’s also exciting what features are coming our way as they filter down from the luxury market into more everyday cars. For this reason I can’t wait to see night vision in our cars, I was so impressed with how it worked in the Bentley Bentayga V8 (review in Issue Three of Driven Women Magazine).
It was only ten years ago that connecting your phone to your car via Bluetooth was difficult to do, if you had a car that even included this feature at all. Now I can get into any car and pretty much be guaranteed to have my phone connected via Bluetooth in a matter of minutes. And with the advent of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto this integration of the car and phone is now even more implicit.
The next step for the integration of cars into our busy lives is built in artificial intelligence and fully autonomous vehicles that we simply step into and say our destination and the car takes us there without any further input from us. I still think this is quite a way off yet though.
Modern cars are good
I haven’t driven a car this year that I thought was rubbish. Although I’ve not liked some features on cars and thought that there were aspects that could be improved, I haven’t driven any car that didn’t impress me in some way.
Driving a manual car is still fun!
With automatic and dual clutch gearboxes being almost ubiquitous in the automotive industry, it is fantastic when I get to drive a manual car again. It is so satisfying to change gears yourself,revving a car to the rpm you want, before changing up again and finding that sweet spot that lets you ride the torque curve on and on.
Driving a manual car makes me feel young again as well; it takes me back to when I first got my license and my first car and all the fun adventures that were had, ah those were the days…
Car companies are trying to engage better with women
Car companies have clearly got the message about who is influencing new car sales in the household and are trying very hard to market to women in a non-patronising way. I particularly love the advertisement for the new Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door that has a mother beating Lewis Hamilton off at the lights with two children in the back of the AMG.
But for all of the effort that the car companies are making the message still sometimes struggles to trickle down to the dealers as I’m regularly told by women about their bad experiences in dealerships when they go in with their husband/partner and the salesperson completely ignores them and talks to the man. Really we a nearly a 20 years into the 21st century, this kind of thing just should not happen.
The age of the EV is well and truly upon us
I only reviewed one EV in 2018, the Tesla Model X, but 2018 has seen nearly every major car manufacturer either announce or release an all-electric vehicle into their model range.
In addition traditional fuel companies are getting on board by providing vehicle charging points at the petrol service stations (currently only overseas). In Australia the Federal Government has announced funding to install EV charging, motoring organisations like the NRMA are installing chargers and Tesla is continuing to expand their charging network with it now being possible to drive from Brisbane to Adelaide via their network.
Some of the electric vehicles released or announced this year include the Hyundai Ioniq and Kona, Jaguar I-PACE, Kia Soul and Niro, Audi e-tron, Mercedes-Benz EQ range, Nissan Leaf second generation, Porsche Taycan and the Tesla Model 3.
Stay tuned for our very own version of ‘Car of the Year’ to be announced later this week!
Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.