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The 10 Things You Need in Your Car
By David Walters
March 17, 2006
1. GPS SYSTEM: Every time you stop to ask for directions, a little piece of you dies. Look for touch-screen controls, real-time navigation, and traffic rerouting. May we suggest: Sony NV-U70 ($600; sonystyle.com1).
2. SATELLITE RADIO: 150 commercial-free channels and counting. Make sure you choose one with a large display and a vehicle installation kit. May we suggest: Audiovox XM Xpress radio ($80; xmradio.com2).
3. TOOL KIT: Even if you're not a certified gear head, you never know when you'll need long-nose pliers, a ratcheting screwdriver, or a fish scaler. May we suggest: Sharper Image 121-piece tool set ($50; sharperimage.com3).
4. PERSONAL BREATHALYZER: Blow into your own before your friendly local law-enforcement officer pulls you over and offers you his. May we suggest: Alcohawk Elite digital breath-alcohol detector ($140; q3i.com4).
5. AIR PURIFIER: Consumers swear by it. Consumer Reports calls it a crock. Use it if you think smog is your copilot. May we suggest: Sharper Image Ionic Breeze auto air purifier ($50; sharperimage.com5).
6. DRIVING SUNGLASSES: Shades that are too dark will impede road vision. Shades that are mirrored will make you look like Boss Godfrey in Cool Hand Luke. Choose polarized lenses to eliminate glare and reduce eye fatigue. May we suggest: Serengeti Arezzo sunglasses ($160; serengetieyewear.com6).
7. RADAR DETECTOR: The three goals of effective radar detection are maximizing range, minimizing false alarms, and avoiding flashing blue lights. May we suggest: Escort Passport 8500 X50 radar laser detector ($340; escortradar.com7).
8. IPOD ADAPTER: Plenty of devices let you play your iPod through your car speakers. But the best have large dashboard displays and mounted control knobs for intuitive song scrolling. May we suggest: Harman/Kardon Drive+Play ($200; harmankardon.com8).
9. FLASHLIGHT: Today's flashlight has no need for batteries, just magnets moving through metal coils. Thanks, Faraday's law of inductance. May we suggest: Hummer shake flashlight ($20; hummerstuff.com9).
10. BLENDER: Need, of course, is a relative term, but with a long enough cord and a 12-volt plug for your cigarette lighter, the tailgating and camping possibilities are endless. May we suggest: Waring Tailgater blender ($190; waringproducts.com10).