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When we leave our houses after the threat of the pandemic subsides, these cars will keep out the pollutants
Not all cars are made equal. Today, increasingly, it is the number of features on offer that sway a buying decision in the favour of a certain carmaker. Over and above the mechanicals, it is things like wireless charging, ventilated seats, Android Auto/ Apple CarPlay support that is becoming important factors affecting purchasing decisions. A new addition to that list is car purifiers.
Now, before everyone who reads this decides to go after my throat, here is a disclaimer. Coronavirus can't be filtered out by the way of air purifiers currently on offer in a number of cars. In fact, it is much like how 2-ply face masks aren't a 100 per cent foolproof. Yes, air purifiers will stop some pathogens from entering into the cabin, but some other Coronavirus droplets are too small in size to be intercepted. It is indeed necessary to stay indoors to keep yourself safe from the Coronavirus pandemic.
However, in some time from now when the threat of the pandemic subsides and we do step out of our homes, a lot of our choices will, in fact, be influenced by a greater emphasis on our health and wellbeing. Indian cities are among the most polluted in the world. In fact, prolonged exposure to such polluted air can increase the chances of respiratory illnesses. Some manufacturers have taken the lead in offering in-built air purifiers in their cars. In fact some of these cars have HEPA filtration to ensure that almost all toxic pollutants stay out of the cabin. Here's a list of high-volume mass-market cars with air filtration.
Hyundai's Venue sub-4m SUV is the first and only compact SUV to offer an air-purifier. It is offered in the top-spec SX(O) and SX+ variants that are priced upwards of Rs 10.85 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). The air purifier takes up space in one of the cupholders and is detachable too.
The Kia Seltos gets an air purifier that's integrated into the front central armrest. It also gets a display that tells you the Air Quality Index at the back of the armrest for the rear passengers. Additionally, it also adds a subtle perfume to the filtered, purified air. You can control the unit from the central infotainment system and through the smartphone app. It is available from the HTX variant onwards.
MG ZS EV
The MG ZS EV, unlike the other cars on this list, doesn't offer any controls for the filtration. It in fact only offers a PM2.5 filtration instead of a HEPA filter (a finer level of filtration) like in the others. However, it shouldn't be something you should be worried about as MG ZS EV will keep out the dreaded particulate matter that fossil fuel-guzzling cars produce. The air purifier in the MG ZS EV switches on as you switch on the air conditioning.
The recently launched new Hyundai Creta gets an air purifier integrated into the front central armrest. Like the Seltos, it gets a display (albeit a larger one) for the rear passengers. It can be controlled from the infotainment system as well as the smartphone app. Like the Seltos, the Creta also gets a perfume diffuser built into the air purifier. Both the Seltos and the Creta will notify you when the air purifier has to be serviced.
With increasing pollution levels, air purifiers are set to make their way to a host of new cars. Cars themselves are becoming cleaner and some, with electric drivetrains, are going a step further by eliminating tailpipe emissions altogether. Soon, with cleaner cars and air purifiers, we should be able to breathe easy.