If a qualifying sales question reveals that a shopper commutes a lot, showroom sales people might focus on vehicle features that ease the strain of long drives.
The average commuter spends the equivalent of nearly nine full days every year commuting to and from work, according to the latest report from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Edmunds.com has identified 10 vehicle features that make commutes more tolerable. Sales staffers can point them out to commuters who are in the market for a new vehicle.
- Comfortable Seats
Features to tout are lumbar support, power controls, adjustable seat height, heated seats and, for those with long legs, seats that scoot far enough back.
- Automatic Transmission
Stop-and-go traffic can be particularly trying for those with a manual transmission. Automatic transmissions can make the drive smoother.
- Good visibility
Thin A, B and C pillars help in this area; so do large side-view mirrors and height-adjustable seats.
- In-dash CD changer or satellite radio
The changers allow drivers to load several discs at a time, while satellite radio can help them avoid irritating commercials.
- Steering wheel-mounted stereo controls
These allow volume and station adjustments without drivers taking their eyes off the road and hands off the wheel.
- Controlled noise, vibration and handling
Excessive engine vibration and road and wind noise can annoy those who spend a lot of time in their cars. On test drives, tout vehicles without these problems. Shoppers should know of the pros and cons of tighter handling versus ride comfort.
- Fuel economy
Good gas mileage is critical to many commuters.
- Well-designed cup holders and ample storage
Drivers need a place to keep their morning coffee safe and within sipping distance, as well as a place to store their parking cards, toll money, breakfast, cell phones and other commuting gear.
- Two power points and a hands-free voice activated phone system
Two power outlets will allow drivers to charge a mobile phone as well as a laptop battery. A hands-free voice-activated phone system enables drivers to place calls and chat on a cell phone safely.
- Reasonably compact size
Many commuters are uninterested in a big SUV or truck. They may want a smaller vehicle that's easier to maneuver, park and thread through traffic.