With another sweltering summer upon us, having a car with good climate control that keeps you and your passengers cool is more than just a luxury — it’s a necessity. Sure, straightforward air conditioning is the obvious solution to fighting off the heat, but there are other innovations — big and small — that can turn a hot and sweaty road trip into a much more comfortable cruising experience. And that goes double for those who live in warm climates and need temperature relief year-round for their everyday commute. Here are five popular vehicles that will help you beat the heat this summer with cool climate control features.
2017 Acura RDX
The Acura RDX has always been known for its savviness when it comes to tech, and this small crossover’s GPS-linked solar-sensing climate control feature is right in line with its modern, cutting-edge persona. Taking automatic climate control to the next level of sophistication, the system adjusts the cabin temperature based on the sun’s position and intensity relative to the driver and front passenger. The system communicates with global positioning satellites and adjusts the dual-zone climate control to make the sunny side of the cabin as cool as the side in the shade. Now that’s pretty futuristic. This "cool" feature is included in the RDX with the Technology package, which has a starting price of $39,070.
2016 Toyota Prius
Clean, efficient and decidedly aerodynamic, there’s no car more synonymous with the green car movement than the Toyota Prius. As part of its eco-conscious attributes, this hybrid hatchback takes an interesting spin on cabin cooling. The Prius’ solar-powered ventilation system utilizes an electric fan to draw in and circulate fresh air from outside whenever the vehicle is parked and the cabin temperature goes over 68 degrees. In addition, the car’s electric air-conditioning compressor can be turned on remotely via Toyota’s Entune smartphone-based telematics system and will operate for up to 3 minutes on battery power alone. All of this means your Prius can be nicely chilled before you even get in, in a manner that’s much more efficient than a conventional gasoline-powered automobile. These features become available on the midlevel Prius Three, which has a base MSRP of $26,250.
2016 Honda Odyssey
Regulating the temperature of a large vehicle like a minivan can be problematic without an effective cooling system. To make eight passengers across three rows of seating comfortable takes an effective and well-working setup. To that end, the Honda Odyssey gets the job done. The Odyssey’s tri-zone climate control system with humidity control and air filtration keeps the cabin cool and dry with clean air continuously recycling from front to back. Taking creature comforts up another notch, the Odyssey also offers window sunshades and a refrigerated storage box in the second-row center console to keep cold beverages cold. These features are available with the Odyssey EX-L, which starts at $36,050.
2017 Buick Regal
Aside from its excellent mix of ride and handling, the Buick Regal is impressive on the passenger comfort front, especially when it comes to interior climate. To help maintain a cool, dry space within, this premium sedan comes equipped with a windshield temperature and humidity sensor that informs the HVAC system of changes in the cabin environment. In addition, all Regals are fitted with a standard solar-absorbing windshield that features a special layer in the glass, which soaks up a portion of the sun’s rays before passing into the passenger compartment. These innovations, in tandem with air conditioning, make hot commutes on the highway much more bearable. The Regal has a starting price of $27,065.
2016 Hyundai Sonata
The Hyundai Sonata offers a modern design, great build quality and one of the best warranties in the business. But in the thick of summer, the only thing that will matter to you is its ability to cool you down. The car’s dual-zone climate control is fine, but we recommend the ventilated seats that circulate cool air beneath the front row, standard on the Sonata Limited. This will effectively minimize the sweat factor and keep you from sticking to the leather. And if you’re looking for a breeze as you drive along, the Sonata’s large panoramic roof — one of the most gaping in its class — will give you all the fresh air you could want. The range-topping Sonata Limited has a base MSRP of $27,350.