Must Have Car Features for First-Time Drivers

By Angela Monroe - July 17, 2020


Cars for new drivers have a tough life. They often end up with a few ‘love marks’ and ‘battle wounds’ to show it. So what are the important car features for a first-time driver needs?

In this article, we list a few of the must-haves. 

Firstly – Choice

signpost silhouette

Specifically choosing a car matched to your requirements. This is more crucial than you may realise. Selecting a modified performance car for daily driving and commuting needs is a common example of where dramas start from. If your car gets defected for illegal modifications, the bills to get it roadworthy again can be massive. 

Another example is an SUV for inner-city driving for first-time drivers. Those tight parking spaces can be extra tricky in a large vehicle.

If possible, try to choose a car that matches your lifestyle and driving needs.

Reverse Camera

reverse camera

Did you know that these are now mandatory on new cars sold in the United States? It makes sense as these cameras make tight spots so much easier and faster to negotiate. If you haven’t used one before, they display a view from the rear bumper when you’re in reverse. The image is shown on a screen, usually in the car’s central display.

Some variants come with washer fluid sprays to clean the lens automatically and graphics on the screen showing where the car will travel when you start moving.


Bluetooth connection

If you’re a young first-time driver, communication is probably pretty important – as is driving safely. The ability to make and receive calls safely while driving is possible via Bluetooth. Most modern cars are able to connect via their infotainment systems. Otherwise, you can simply upgrade your stereo to allow for Bluetooth connectivity. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto also make things super easy – basically access the screen of your phone from your car’s infotainment system.

Interesting point: Did you know that Bluetooth’s funny name actually comes from a tenth century king of Denmark! He was known for uniting Danish tribes (not with Bluetooth of course!). The name for the technology implies that it ‘unites’ devices like the king did with the Danish tribes.

Memory Seats

Memory Seats

One of the best car features for first-time drivers for those who share cars. This feature allows you to set the seat position to your specifications and save it – like a computer file. When another driver whom you may share the car with changes the height, backrest and positioning, they’ll be able to save their position too.

Each time you drive the car, you simply hit the saved position button and the seat will automatically re-adjust to your previously saved position. This one’s perfect for couples sharing a car – especially when one driver’s taller than the other.

Parking Sensors

Parking Sensors

These are pretty common and pretty handy. Again, most modern cars have them standard. They are an array of sensors around the perimeter of the car that sense when objects get too close. An audible warning will sound when something gets too close, for example when you’re maneuvering the car in a tight space. The warning sound gets louder and more intense the close you get to an object which allows for tight parking.

Auto Headlights

oncoming headlights

A great feature for first-time drivers. These basically replace the need to turn on and off your headlights. They use a light sensor to check the outside light and turn on or off your lights accordingly. For example, if you’re driving at sunset, when it’s dark enough to require headlights, they’ll come on automatically. It’s the same when you turn off the engine, the headlights will turn off automatically, removing the risk of leaving lights on. 

Another advantage is underground parking or in dark car parks. Even in daytime, the lights will come on to help you see properly and turn off when you exit the car park into the sunlight.

Roof Racks 

roof racks on 4WD

Really for all drivers, not just new drivers, roof racks come in pretty handy. If you plan to go on a road trip with a group of friends and struggle for boot space, a roof rack will make things much easier. Additionally, if you plan to transport awkward items or building supplies from places like Bunnings that may damage upholstery, tie them onto a roof rack.

End of the Day

car keys

If your car doesn’t have the above features, there are plenty of budget friendly ways to upgrade your car. Next time you buy a car, make sure you have a checklist of things that suit your lifestyle and needs.

Angela Monroe
Angela Monroe is the Community Manager at The Positive Group, specialising in giving people the information that they need when they need it, and putting you on the path to a fair financial future. She has 8 years of experience in helping Australians find the right finance solutions, and regularly contributes articles to empower Australians with the knowledge they need to become financially healthy.


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