BMW climateA cool 95% of all new cars sold in Britain now come with air conditioning fitted as standard – and a further 2% choosing it as an option mean it is close to becoming a feature of EVERY new car that leaves the showroom.

Back in 2004, 75% of cars featured air con as standard, with a further 13% choosing it as an option: this meant that more than 1 in 10 cars did NOT feature air con a decade ago.

The SMMT, which revealed the figures, says this is because today’s new car buyers are ever-more demanding. Manufacturers have responded by fitting must-haves such as air con as standard because so many were choosing it as an option: standardising it may raise prices, but efficiencies of scale mean that buyers still save.

It’s not just air con that buyers are demanding, either. The fitment of alloy wheels as standard has grown from 65% in 2004 to 87% in 2013, while MP3/USB/Aux-in compatibility has rocketed from 83% to nearly 96% in just four years.

“With the new car market growing for a record 27 consecutive months, SMMT looked at buying trends,” revealed the organisation. And the conclusion? “Motorists are demanding ever-increasing levels of style, comfort and functionality from their cars.”

What are car buyers going to demand next, though? MR reported recently on the fitment of DAB radio, which is rising fast, and growing numbers of cars are also coming with gadgets such as parking sensors and insurance-friendly city braking systems.

Share with us your thoughts on what’s going to become the next must-have car feature…