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5 Family-Friendly Car Features

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Automakers have been putting kid-proof locks and rear-seat DVD players on vehicles for years, but here's a look at some lesser-known car features that can make anyone's life a little easier.

From special safety features to equipment that makes loading and unloading a vehicle a snap, below are my picks for some of the most family-friendly auto amenities of the 2014 model year. 

Built-in refrigerator/cooler

Nothing can calm down a fussy child in a hot car better than a cold drink, which is partly why automakers offer built-in cold storage in certain models.

Some devices are merely insulated coolers that keep already-cold items from heating up (or cool them off a bit using cold air from the car's air conditioner). But other models come with full-blown mini-refrigerators that tap into a vehicle's electrical system for power.

Car cold-storage bins are usually only big enough to hold a few cans of soda, but that can mean the difference between a temper tantrum and a quiet ride when you're stuck in traffic on a summer driving vacation.

Some cars that offer cold storage as standard or optional equipment include the Ford Flex Limited, the Honda Odyssey's upper trim levels, the Lincoln MKT and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

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