Don’t look back in anger: carwow reveals reversing cameras are the most in-demand optional extra

September 01, 2022 by

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Analysis of thousands of buyers using on carwow’s configurator finds reversing cameras, heat pumps for electric cars and panoramic sunroof are the most requested optional extras

An analysis of tens of thousands of vehicles configured by buyers on carwow’s online sales platform has found that reversing cameras are the most in-demand optional extra.

Reversing cameras, while mandatory on new cars in the USA and Canada since 2018, remain an optional extra on a number of models in the UK, including some high-end cars like the Porsche 911 and Audi Q4 e-tron; but it is this feature that buyers are most likely to select when configuring their new car.

The next most popular optional extra is a heat pump for electric cars. EVs don’t generate the same amount of heat as petrol and diesel cars when running, and while some use a battery-sapping element to warm the cabin, many EVs can be configured with a heat pump. This acts like a refrigerator in reverse, and is far more efficient at warming a car’s interior than an element.

Panoramic sunroofs were the next most configured item, followed by heated steering wheels. And although many car makers provide a compressor and a can of sealant to help drivers deal with a puncture, drivers remain seemingly unconvinced by these, with the fifth-most selected option being a space-saver spare wheel.

Head-up displays were the next most sought-after option, with leather upholstery (and specifically black leather upholstery), a bi-tone black roof, tinted windows (also known as ‘privacy glass’) and heated front seats completing the top 10.

The top 10 most popular options configured by buyers on carwow’s online configurator* were:

  1. Rear view camera
  2. Heat pump
  3. Panoramic sunroof
  4. Heated steering wheel
  5. Space saver spare wheel
  6. Head up Display
  7. Leather – Black
  8. Bi-tone black roof
  9. Privacy glass
  10. Heated front seats

*Data gathered from 680,000 individual user sessions on carwow’s configurator in the three months from May to July 2022; approximately 10% of users specified individual options when configuring a car.

Commenting on the data, carwow’s consumer editor, Hugo Griffiths said:

“Cars have grown substantially in size over the years, and crash structures often bring thick C-pillars that can obscure rearward visibility; it’s therefore understandable that a reversing camera is the most in-demand optional extra for buyers visiting carwow’s online configurator. Legislation that became active this year mandates that new cars must have at least reversing sensors, but it seems buyers prefer the reassurance that comes with a proper backup camera.

“Electric cars remain hugely popular among carwow customers, with approximately 25% of all configurations being for EVs, and it seems heat pumps are hugely important for prospective EV buyers. These pumps tend not to be cheap, running to £1,000 or so, but drivers with a keen eye on residual values would do well to consider optioning their electric car with a heat pump, as this could make it more attractive when selling on or trading in further down the line.

“The fact that panoramic sunroofs and heated steering wheels are also popular indicates that buyers want to make the most of the UK’s sunlight, while also staving off chilly hands during our long autumns and winters.

“Manufacturers should also take note that carwow’s data indicates drivers are unconvinced by tyre-repair kits. These won’t get you back on the road if you have a serious puncture or blowout, and a fair number of motorists would rather pay a little bit extra to have a space-saver spare wheel in their car, rather than having to wait for a recovery truck if a tyre is seriously damaged.”