Top five gadgets to choose for your new car

• Top five car gadgets you need to consider for hassle-free ownership
• From iPhone integration to self-parking cars to essential DAB radio
• Features designed to make driving easier and owning a breeze

New car buyers have never had such an array of clever gadgets which can make their lives easier.

From cars that will park themselves to boots that open at the wave of a foot, the technology now available is mind-boggling.

However, the technology can also be expensive, so to help you navigate through the swathes of options being offered by car manufacturers, Parkers has picked the five most handy options and tells you if they’re worth paying the extra for or not.

The top five gadgets:

1. Hands-free boot opening

Ford Kuga boot self opening


This takes the hassle out of walking towards your car with handfuls of shopping and not being able to open the boot.

 A handy option, but an expensive one – Ford charges £350 for it as part of a general keyless entry package on the Kuga, while at the other end of the scale BMW wants £1,750 for it as part of the Comfort Pack on the 5 Series.

Remember though you must have the key on you for the boot to self open when you waggle your foot under the bumper.

Which makes offer it? Ford (Kuga), BMW (3 and 5 Series Touring, X1, X3, X5 and X6) and Volkswagen (Passat estate and Touareg)

2. Self parking

Ford Focus self parking


Why get stressed about wondering if you can fit into that tiny gap – simply park alongside the empty space and let the car decide for you.

If it can fit, then let the car park itself – all you have to do is operate the accelerator, clutch and brake. Simple!

Prices vary for these systems – Volkswagen changes £590 for Park Assist on the Golf while it is standard on many top-end Lexus models.

If parking is a real issue for you, this could be an option well worth considering.

Which makes offer it? Most manufacturers do on selected models including Volkswagen, Ford, Skoda, and Lexus 

3. DAB Radio

VW DAB radio


At present DAB radios are a luxury option, but by 2015 when the Government switches off the analogue signal they will be a necessity.

DAB radio offers improved sound and easier navigation between stations. Costing from around £300 on an Audi A4, for example, the package basically enables you to futureproof your car so it will be compatible when DAB takes over the airwaves from 2015.

An essential option to safeguard your car’s residual value.

Which makes offer it? Increasingly all manufacturers including Audi, VW, Ford, BMW and Vauxhall

4. Smart phone connection

Ford SYNC system


Cars are increasingly being engineered to be even more compatible with the latest smart phones and, in particular, the Apple iPhone.

The latest move sees not only the car able to sync with the phone to make and receive calls, but also to access music and messages stored on the iPhone, access social media accounts such as Facebook, and also ask questions of the phone’s SIRI built-in assistant.

Clever technology, and also surprisingly affordable – Ford charges from £100 for its SYNC technology while all Mercedes-Benz models can have the Drive Kit Plus retro-fitted at a dealer for around £400.

If you spend a lot of time behind the wheel and can’t bear to be out of contact for more than a few minutes, this is an option well worth exploring.

Which makes offer it? Most manufacturers do though whether it is standard or an optional extra will vary from model to model

5. Innovative in-car storage

Toyota RAV4 boot


Gloveboxes, under-seat and roof mounted storage boxes and luggage nets are nothing new, but manufacturers are coming up with new solutions to transport goods and keep them from shifting about.

Nissan pioneered the curry hook – a hook on the transmission tunnel to keep your curry from slopping over the seats, while the latest Toyota RAV4 features a hammock in the boot so you can store smaller items of shopping in it and they can swing freely without breaking the eggs.

Which makes offer it? All do, though some systems are better than others. Audi, VW and Skoda offer a retaining bar and strap across their  estate boots, plus Peugeot’s 3008 has a very useful two-tier boot system.