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The five must-have features for new drivers

By Cameron Kirby, 05 Aug 2018 Car Advice

The five must-have features for new drivers

If you’re buying a new car for the learner driver in your life, these are the features you need to tick off

Automatic Emergency Braking

This automatic braking technology (often abbreviated to AEB) is a fantastic safety feature which is thankfully becoming more common in new cars, even at lower price points.

Manufacturers will usually have their own lingo for the technology (don’t worry though, we’ve got a handy list to help you figure it out), but each system ostensibly performs the same function.

AEB is not a replacement for good driving behaviour, but it can help minimise (or sometimes completely prevent) a collision, by detecting a possible incident, and applying the brakes to slow and stop the vehicle if a driver hasn’t reacted.

Reversing Camera/ Rear cross-traffic alert

Reversing cameras were once the preserve of luxury car makers, but are now available in just about every car on sale in Australia.

Read next: 360-degree parking monitors explained

The next advancement are 360-degree cameras, which provide an unparalleled view of the vehicles surrounds, making parking in tight and tricky situations a breeze.

New drivers should also be on the lookout for rear cross-traffic alert, a system which can provide a warning of unseen traffic when reversing out of driveways and parking spots.


With strict phone restrictions for P-plate drivers in many states preventing phones from being used to provide navigation directions, sat-nav can be a handy feature for new drivers.

Read next: How to use satellite navigation

Driving solo for the first time can be a stressful and anxious experience. Add in trying to find a place you’ve never been before, and it can make for a negative time. Having an in-built sat-nav system in the car will help your new driver navigate the roads with greater confidence, and spend less time lost and panicking in back streets.

Smartphone mirroring

Speaking of phone restrictions for new drivers, smartphone mirroring apps like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto fall into a legislative grey area. The systems don’t require Bluetooth to function, but perform a similar function, and legislative wording hasn’t been updated to properly clarify if P-platers can use the tech.

But as an aside from its legality for new drivers, the technology should be high on new driver priorities, with its ability to function as an audio streaming service and sat-nav in one.

Head-up display

Read more about Head-up displays

Another useful safety feature which is trickling into more affordable models is a head-up display. This bit of tech will allow a new driver to spend less time with their eyes off the road, looking at a speedo. By displaying just the most relevant information on the windscreen in front of the driver, a head-up display is a small feature which can make a big difference, reducing the amount of processing power required by inexperienced drivers overwhelmed by information overload.