Safety and fuel efficiency features seem to be the trend in new vehicles available to consumers at local car dealerships in 2016.
Terry Hagen, sales manager at Hillsboro Ford, said Ford has made a rather large change to its flagship truck line.
“They’ve transitioned the F150 from an all stamp steel body to an aluminum body,” Hagen said. “It’s lighter and stronger. In a half-ton pickup it shed about 700 pounds.”
The transition was prompted by the “government’s Fuel Café” (Corporate Average Fuel Economy), he said.
He said the new aluminum bodies will never rust, and that insurance companies did not find any difference in the cost to fix an aluminum body, so insurance rates on those vehicles shouldn’t change much, if at all.
The new body has been paired with new line engines that are more powerful and efficient, he said.
“They have tremendous horse power,” Hagen said. “Coupled with the shed in weight it’s more fuel efficient.”
Hagen said rear cameras and rear viewing sensors seem to be a trend.
“We’re seeing a lot more vehicles with them,” he said. “It’s a safety thing.”
Tire pressure monitoring systems also have become a standard where they used to be optional.
Lyle Ediger, general sales manager at Midway Motors in Hillsboro, said most new cars have new safety and “hands-free” features available as options.
He said car radios can be connected wirelessly to cell phones allowing for texting and “hands-free” calling, which in turn is supposed to make it easier and safer for drivers to stay connected while on the road.
He noted that many vehicles, including the new Chevrolet Impala line, have front, rear, and side sensors meant to increase safety, too.
“They’ve got full grid mounted radar sensors that detect fast-moving vehicles approaching,” Ediger said. “They’re kind of like eyes.”
He said sensors are employed in full speed adaptive cruise control, too. With it, drivers can maintain cruise speed and set a gap distance between themselves and cars in front of theirs. Sensors monitor that distance and adapt accordingly.
Sensors are used in front automatic braking feature that is designed to reduce the frequency of crashes, he said.
“These sensors are supposed to make you brake before you hit something,” Ediger said.
Some sensors also provide drivers a “lane change alert” and “blind zone alert” that indicate if a vehicle is crossing a traffic line or if there is another motorist in their vehicle’s blind spots.