1. WiFi ConnectivityThe last decade has seen an unprecedented rise in vehicle connectivity, following the trend of society and its attachment to smartphones, social media, and constantly being updated by everyone with everything. Manufacturers call their WiFi hotspot equipment various things but the premise is the same; ConnectedDrive, OnStar, Connect, InControl to name a just a few. Suitably-equipped vehicles have a WiFi hotspot to allow devices to connect to the internet while you’re on the move. Perfect for families (especially for those parents who have smartphones attached to teenagers), as well as passengers doing some business on the move.
2. DVD PlayersThis was a logical progression from CDs, and while streaming is all the rage at the moment the simple fact is there is very little that is easier than putting on the favorite movie or TV show of bored kids in the back of your car. Portable units are readily available, packaged up with a screen and easily installed onto the back of the front seats, while DVD-compatible head units and fold-down or headrest-mounted screens can be installed into any car. Most new cars nowadays claiming to have a family focus will offer the option of a rear screen, or screens, and DVD playback functionality. If you ever drive more than a couple of hours with kids, a DVD player is a no-brainer.
3. Satellite NavigationGone are the days when you’d pull over off the road, get out with maps in hand, unfold them over the hood and argue with your spouse where the heck you think you should have turned an hour earlier. With portable GPS units and built-in navigation very much the norm, as well as the convenience of being able to use your suitably-modern smartphone, getting around town or the country has never been easier. Looking for accommodation, restaurants, places of interest, it’s all there. Most modern GPS systems update their maps and features remotely over the internet, but even older systems requiring DVD (or, gasp, CD) updates are worth persevering with. Being lost in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere is not ideal with a brace of tired kids in the car.
Honorable MentionsDon’t discount the value of an additional 12V power socket or an extra USB port these days; with the large number of devices most families have (phones, tablets, sat-nav units, laptops, smartwatches to name just a few), being able to charge them is absolutely essential. Most family cars will have a pair of 12V plugs (one front and one rear), and with the advent of the MP3 player and smartphone USB ports are becoming more and more an expectation rather than an exception.