Top 5 backseat tech innovations
Ã?Get in the back seatÃ? used to be something akin to Ã?hereÃ?s your orange suit and ticket to Guantanamo BayÃ?. Luckily, in the last few years carmakers have started making the 2nd row less like steerage. IÃ?m Brian Cooley with my Top 5 rear seat tech innovations. Now, weÃ?re not talking about your awkward fumblings on dates back in high school, rather the ways carmakers have turned the 2nd row into much more than just a place to sit. IÃ?m going to rank these by everyday usefulness. 5 - Rear CoolerSure, you could use it to keep a can of Red Bull cold but these really say Ã?champagneÃ?, especially since they only show up on quasi-limos. Now, as you canÃ?t open the contents of your cooler legally almost anywhere in the U.S., this would seem to be low utility. 4 - Climate ControlMany cars have a back seat climate zone, some even split the back into two zones and a very few have a separate heat and A/C system for the rear. But I rank this pretty low since its sort of B.S.: A car remains a small, undivided place -- eventually all the air goes to all the seats. 3 - Wi-Fi HotspotNow most of our mobile devices have their own connection or can bum one off the other but for a number tablets and laptops this is cool. Add in the fact that GM is about to make it common on its cars and 4G powered and you just lost your last excuse to take a break from work. 2 - Rear Seat Entertainment IÃ?m no fan of dopey dual DVD headrest systems, but letÃ?s face it they arenÃ?t there for elegant execution: TheyÃ?re there parental sanity. The most interesting systems today have really wide screens...or let you plumb your portable in as a source instead of an antique optical disc. InterstitialBefore I get to #1, thereÃ?s one great innovation that touches all of these: Rear seat control panels. The 2004 Jag XJ-R and VDP were a breakthrough in this area...all the way to the latest Bentley Flying Spur with a detachable wireless controller that even connects to front row stuff. One day, the best tech may all be in the back. 1 - Recline/MassageThis is #1 because back seats have always been purgatory, with cramped room and no adjustments and you feel that every time you wedge yourself back there. Adjustable rear seats were formerly the domain of MaybachÃ?s and stretch LSÃ?s but you can now fly, er, ride in this comfort in a Hyundai Equus. IÃ?ve never understood massage seats anywhere in the car but I seem to be the oddball in that respect.