The July holidays were just around the corner, that was until of course lockdown restrictions were tightened. It’s safe to say that most South Africans won’t be jetting off on holiday any time soon.
When we do, we will be opting for a staycation – meaning we will be loading up the car and heading off towards a fabulous local destination, by car. But which are the five best features that the holiday car should have?
1. A refrigerated cubbyhole
Right now, spending time in restaurants may not be the very best thing. A picnic on the side of the road, on the other hand, is always lots of fun. A refrigerated cubbyhole can keep your grub and drinks fresh and chilled. Examples of cars that have this feature include the 2008 Fiat Scudo van and 2002 Citroën C3 while the 2021 Range Rover has an optional front centre console refrigerator compartment.
2. A cigarette lighter or 12V power socket
Many car manufacturers no longer include ashtrays and cigarette lighters in cars. However most still offer the 12V socket that used to power those lighters. Right now, that socket is extremely useful. You can even use it to power a 12V hairdryer – meaning there’s no need to use ones in communal toilets. You can also plug a 12V kettle into this socket … and then brew a nice cuppa for that picnic.
3. As many USB ports as possible
Virtually everyone needs a USB port now – whether it is to power a mobile phone or a portable DVD player. A car with more than one USB port will undoubtedly reduce the squabbles en route to your destination. Or if you drive a Volvo XC40 you’ll find a wireless iPhone charging pad in the middle console, which gives you an extra charging station in the car. Nifty!
4. A really good navigation system
Right now, you definitely don’t want to be stopping and asking people for directions. After all, social distancing is the name of the game. This means that you need a really good navigation system. Maybe your car has one. If not, there are some terrific phone apps such as Waze that can guide you safely to your destination.
5. Enough space
Finally, there’s the most practical thing you need for your staycation: enough space. “This means that you need enough space for the people travelling in the car and also enough space for their luggage. Luckily, we have lots of seven-seater cars and minibuses available in South Africa. When packing the boot, ensure that nothing can fly around if you take a sharp turn or brake suddenly. Also, ensure that you never place items above the seat height: you need to be able to see out of the back window safely. If the boot won’t accommodate all your luggage, consider investing in a roof rack or roof box,” advises AutoTrader’s CEO George Mienie.