I’ve mentioned that I’m often amazed by technology that isn’t new. For instance, I didn’t know this was a feature on my iPhone until we were at a hotel that made use of it.
Imagine my surprise when our rental car in Iceland had two features I never knew existed. I left it up to our travel agent to book a car for us to make sure it had an automatic transmission. While it did, the car also had several features I wasn’t familiar with.
We rented a Kia Ceed but we were given a Renault Magane (which Enterprise considers a comparable vehicle).
Disclaimer: I received it with the dent on the passenger side door.
There were many firsts with this rental. It was the first car I rented outside of the United States. It was also the first car I’ve driven with rain-sensing windshield wipers.
For most of our time in Iceland, we experienced overcast skies with occasional rain. While the rain was never as heavy as I’ve experienced while on our road trips around the southeastern U.S., it was constant, with moments approaching a downpour.
Imagine my confusion when it started to rain during our drive around the Golden Circle and the windshield wipers turned on by themselves. Adding to my amazement was that the wipers sped up when the rain got heavier and when the rain stopped, the wipers turned off.
I was shocked to find out this feature has been available for over a decade. As someone who lives in Florida where it often rains while it’s sunny, I’d love to have this feature, but only a few U.S. models offer this and apparently not in the cars Sharon and I have bought in recent years.
How did we learn more about these wipers while in Iceland? We used our phones that were connected to the internet through a Wi-Fi router that plugged into our cigarette lighter.
Yes, that’s also a thing.
As part of our rental, we were provided a Huawei Wi-Fi hub. We could connect all our devices and get 4G LTE coverage wherever we were with no caps on data. This worked wherever we were in Iceland. That’s how Sharon managed to constantly post to her Facebook about each of our stops in real-time. The rental agent even said that we could stream videos to the car if we wanted. However, I didn’t want to sit in my car and watch Disney+.
Actually, all we wanted was for Google Maps to give us directions down the gravel roads we needed to travel to get to some of our hotels.
Sure, the Chinese government may know everything on my iPhone but since I’m not planning on visiting China anytime soon, that’s not a problem.
It’s often said that travel opens the mind. For me, it was a trip to find out about all of the technological advancements we’re missing out on in the U.S. I thought we were the tech forerunners, but we’re far behind the rest of the world in these two areas.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary