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Road trippers should take an extra-long test drive

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Update time : 2018-08-07 01:35:49

If you're looking for a new car, here's a little advice from your fellow travelers: Take your time. I mean, really take your time. Test drive the vehicle a few extra miles, or hundreds of miles, to make sure the designers didn't take the day off when they signed off.

I'm not being cute. Some of today's cars are so thoughtlessly designed that they leave travelers cramped and annoyed. If you're planning to take a lengthy road trip this spring or summer, you don't want to be stuck in one of these uncomfortable cars.

“Most drivers and passengers today are looking for three things," explains Chris Ludwig,  a senior director at Harman International, which develops car technology. "Comfort, convenience and connectivity."

That sounds simple, but it's not. Many new vehicles are more flashy than functional, which may move a car off the sales lot, but down the road can really rub you the wrong way. The fix: careful evaluation, reading customer reviews and common sense. It's something to keep in mind during the coming weeks, which happens to be one of the best times to buy a new set of wheels.

But let's talk annoyances. Of the three "C"s Ludwig mentioned, the biggest seems to be connectivity. And it's the chargers that really drain travelers. Either there are not enough of them, which means you have to bring a tangly extension cord with you, or the chargers are difficult to reach. Joshua Zweighaft, a flight attendant for an airline based in New York, is irked by the wireless charger in his, which is located behind a display screen. 

"I can’t access the phone or vehicle touch-screen while charging," he complains.

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