If you’re stressed out and running late, the prospect of navigating traffic may seem overwhelming. Add feelings of fatigue, crankiness, or hunger that are common as our hormones fluctuate, and the ride gets even more nerve-wracking. One woman wrote in Get the Gloss about how menopause made her fearful of driving.
But if you shift your relationship to your commute, and think about your time in the car from a different perspective, then driving can be a mindful pursuit. As an automotive journalist and the founder of Le Car, I’ve spent the past two decades test-driving cars. Some cars are fun to drive because they’re deliriously fast. Others flaunt gorgeous form or offer top-line safety features. But in recent months, I’ve developed a new appreciation for cars that help me practice mindfulness when I drive.
Experience tells me that I can make my driving time feel present and tuned in. I pay attention to the environment around me in the car, and also what I see up ahead. I am purposeful when I belt in, check my mirrors, and settle into drive. I pay attention to my breathing and notice how I am feeling.
I’ve learned to value a delicious audio experience or sometimes even a little bit of quiet to reflect on my day as the miles peel away. Great ergonomics, quiet cabins, and attention to detail can make slight differences in the driving experience. Mindful driving is a new concept and one that I’m starting to think more deeply about as we all reexamine our relationship to mobility.
Some cars are more suited to mindful driving than others. Here are some of Le Car’s top picks for cars that make for a better, mindful driving experience.
The Buick Envision infotainment system and interior had heavy input from lead women engineers — and their attention to detail shows. The curated partnership with Hello Sunshine means that you don’t even have to think to find great audio experiences cued up for you.
This new all-electric vehicle from Volvo’s sister brand is a design exercise in simplicity that makes it easy to focus and stay attuned to the surrounding environment.
The Nautilus ranks high on comfort and quiet and delivers the kind of peaceful environment I seek when I need to unwind.
Nothing is more distracting than clutter. If you’re traveling with the family, the Pacifica hits all the marks for genius options. There’s so many places to store things that even if you lack the time to Marie Kondo your minivan, you can keep your car tidy and declutter your mind-body connection.
If you’re living large and can totally splurge, the S Class, Mercedes-Benz’s flagship sedan is like driving a flying bed from the Four Seasons. All of the extras like massage seats and the controls are handled through an improved infotainment system that’s highly personalized, so you can make everything to your liking.
The quiet, spacious and comfortable G90 is part of the luxe Genesis brand lineup and the standard features make the Genesis a sleeper pick for pulling over to meditate or kicking back and taking a well-deserved nap.
Tamara Warren is the founder of Le Car, a car shopping platform developed by journalists. She has written for over 150 publications including The New York Times, Elle, Car and Driver, and Vox. Tamara is the former transportation editor and senior transportation reporter at The Verge. She has appeared as a guest on ABC World News Tonight, CBS, CNBC, Cheddar, PBS News Hour, The History Channel, and the documentary feature Autonomy.
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