Each year, more and more gadgets are added to the equipment lists of new cars. But it's not just gadgets. Simple features, such as extendable sun visors and wide-angle side mirrors, are also popping up. I’m all about the former, but the verdict is still out on the latter.
I started noticing the wide-angle side mirror trend last fall when I drove the redesigned-for-2012 Honda CR-V. These mirrors seem to be everywhere, including many Ford vehicles and my last test car, the Ford Fiesta.
On the Fiesta (above), the side mirrors house a separate, smaller mirror in an upper corner. It's a slightly domed square that provides a wide-angle view, like a fisheye lens. They’re similar to ones you can buy at the local car-care store that stick onto regular mirrors.
The CR-V's wide-angle mirror (below) is limited to the driver's side. It's more convex — an entire quarter of the mirror is angled for a wider view. And it's actually part of the mirror itself; it doesn’t look stuck-on.
In both cars, I found the standard added mirrors distracting and disorienting.
Sure, these mirrors help eliminate blind spots, but wouldn't setting your mirrors correctly do the same thing? The Cars.com editorial staff recently took a defensive driving class at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Ill., and learned some tips: