High tech features of cars today, and why they’re worth every peso

By Monch Henares Philippine Daily Inquirer September 09,2018

Buying a car in the 60s to the early 90s was such a simple task. We only had to ask ourselves three main things before deciding on the make, engine size, and color.


Number one: Do we want a two-door coupé or a four-door sedan?


Singles would always go for the two-door, because it exuded more machismo and made them look handsome, as bilib-sa–sarili guys would claim.


A two-door coupé attracts the ladies and gives a sort of playboy feel, while a four-door sedan gives a more family and married-with-kids feel.


I often wondered why a coupé was more expensive than a sedan when the latter had more doors, and therefore more parts?


Number two: Do we want to drive it with an automatic transmission or a manual stick-shift?


Because an automatic transmission was more expensive, majority of the cars plying the streets were the standard 4-speed manual drives.


Everyone in those days learned to drive a stick-shift, so shifting to an automatic was not a nightmare.


Today, a good percentage of drivers can’t even drive a manual. They’re missing all the fun.


Number three: Do we want an air-conditioner installed?


It was so expensive then to have an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) system installed.


That’s why aftermarket air-conditioning shops like Mac Frost and Denso became a big name.


We even had a choice of a built-in unit or a hanging type. The former was more difficult to install because it required the removal of the whole dashboard.


The built-in type looked neater and resembled the OEMs, but it wasn’t as efficient as a hanging type that usually was installed under the glove box and froze the front passenger to a block of ice.


Thank God, ice-cold and efficient air-conditioning now come standard on all the new cars.


A ton of options


Today, it is such a stressful experience for the regular Juan to choose and buy the right car.


Juan has to go through a ton of options to choose from. He has to take into account several factors and options for safety, convenience, body kits, engines (diesel or gasoline), and luxury.


I often help friends and readers choose the right vehicle for them.


I first ask them what they will be using the car for.


What is more important to them? Is it safety, convenience and comfort, luxury, or the driving experience?


The most important question is their budget. All these extra options don’t come cheap.


Test drive


I recently test-drove a vehicle that had mostly all the options and features every Juan would dream of.


That vehicle was the 2018 Honda CRV 1.6L Diesel Turbo 9AT AWD.


Driving it up to the City of Pines was such a pleasure. I actually felt like a king, having all the comfort, protection, and power.


I love that it has a 1.6-liter turbo diesel engine mated with a 9-speed automatic transmission that is cockpit-controlled, with a push-button electronic gear selector.


It had the power of a bull, and the precision of a timepiece climbing the steep inclines of Kennon Road.


Navigation system


Helping us find the best route was its Garmin navigation system, which is built-in to its 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system.


It’s a computer, GPS, entertainment, and voice-activated communication device all rolled into one.


We all felt protected with the front and side curtain air-bags ready to surround us with utmost safety in the event of a collision.


Keeping us glued to the road were four Michelin Primacy 4 tires, which are one of the safest tires in the market.


Sensing suite


What really sets this vehicle apart from the rest is the Honda sensing suite of advanced safety and driver assistive technologies that comprises adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow, lane keep assist system, road departure mitigation, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and collision mitigation braking system.


The Honda sensing and cruise control, once set to your desired speed and distance, would brake and accelerate for you even at low speeds. Truly hi-tech stuff. What else will they think of?


The lane keep assist system was so amusing. It uses cameras up front, and the system recognizes the broken lines on the road that keeps you in the middle of the lane at all times.


Obviously, convenience is all over this Honda CVR with the presence of automatic headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, power-folding mirrors, parking camera, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, panoramic sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, and notably, an electric power tailgate.


Car companies like Honda spend millions of dollars in research and development. Their main thrust is safety, convenience, fuel economy, comfort, and most important, the end-user.


Cars may cost about 50 times the amount it did 50 years ago, but all that increase went to a safer, more economical, more reliable, convenient automobile, thus making it worth its value.


For more stories, visit www.monchsterchronicles.com.

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