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Push a button on this 2015 Cadillac Escalade and the tailgate raises and lowers automatically. (General Motors)

Push a button on this 2015 Cadillac Escalade and the tailgate raises and lowers automatically.

(General Motors)

In Pictures

10 modern conveniences for the road Add to ...

Nothing beats a family road trip. I fondly remember hitting the open road with my family, with all of our belongings crammed into Dad’s station wagon. It was eighteen hours on the road to South Carolina, with little to do but fight with my siblings, eat, and play games such as “I Spy with My Little Eye.” It’s a different story now, with modern conveniences that make family trips more enjoyable. Here are some of the latest – I wish I had them growing up.


Petrina Gentile

1. Flexible Seating

Every kid will have room to spare in the Lexus LX 470, which seats up to eight. With flexible seating, you won’t break your back trying to raise and lower the second or third row seats. Just touch a button inside the cargo area and the seats come down in a cinch.

Petrina Gentile

2. Hands-Free Trunk

There’s no need to fiddle with keys to unlock the trunk anymore. The hands-free trunk opener from Mercedes is easy to use: just wave your foot under the rear bumper and voila, the trunk opens for you instantly. Beware, though, it can be fickle when wearing boots with buckles.

Petrina Gentile

3. Versatile Cargo Space

This Nissan Versa Note has cargo space to spare. A Divide-N-Hide adjustable floor is smart. It lets you adjust the height of the load floor to accommodate big, bulky items. There’s even a hidden compartment, perfect for separating dirty shoes or wet swimsuits from your clean clothes.

Petrina Gentile

4. Power Liftgates

Power liftgates make loading and unloading suitcases, grocery bags, and hockey equipment a breeze. Push a button on this 2015 Cadillac Escalade and the tailgate raises and lowers automatically. You can even operate it via a button on your key fob.

Petrina Gentile

5. Keyless Driving

Are you sick of searching for your keys? Now you can leave them in your pocket or buried in the bottomless pit of your purse. The Jaguar F-Type has a keyless entry system – walk up to the car and the doors unlock automatically. Start the engine by pushing the bright yellow button - no need for a key.

Petrina Gentile

6. Dual DVD players

DVD entertainment systems will keep kids occupied for endless hours. With the dual DVD screens integrated into the front seat headrests in the Hyundai Equus, there’s no need for kids to fight about which movie to watch.

Petrina Gentile

7. Plugs Galore

The 2015 Chrysler 200 has clever storage spots for all your tech gadgets. Hidden under the cup holders is a storage area complete with power outlets, audio jacks, and remote USB ports. There’s even a hole for your iPod plug that connects to another hidden compartment.

Petrina Gentile

8. Safety Sensors

The Volvo V60 has the world’s first cyclist detection system. It uses sensors to monitor the area in front of your vehicle. If a cyclist darts in front of your car, the system will automatically applies the brakes to avoid an accident. The upcoming Volvo XC90 will go one step further by detecting animals in your path, too.

Petrina Gentile

9. Self-Parking

The 2014 Jeep Cherokee can park itself in either perpendicular or parallel parking spots. It’ll find a parking spot and guide you in – the driver controls the gas and brake while the steering wheel whips around by itself.

Petrina Gentile

10. Accident Avoidance

Infiniti’s Predictive Forward Collision Warning system warns of dangers up to two cars ahead of you. If the system senses a crash, it’ll warn you with audible and visual cues – perfect for parents distracted by screaming kids in the back seat.

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