The car has been around for over a hundred years now. With all this time, cars have improved significantly to give more power, safety, and fuel economy. In addition to these utilitarian improvements, other features have been added over time and become commonplace. Such examples are seatbelts, electric starters, and pneumatic tires. While these are amazing improvements, there have been some features to come along that have stuck around to become standard on even some of the cheapest cars, even though they aren’t necessary. If you enjoy these creature comforts, you should rest easy knowing most new cars will come with these niceties.
Keyless entry allows you to press a button on your key to unlock the doors from afar, or even unlocks the door automatically when you get close to the vehicle. While this feature is nice in certain situations (running away from Ghostface), you’re going to be grabbing the door handle to open or close the door anyway, why does this need to be wireless?
If you cannot be bothered to insert a key into the door, why would the ignition be any different? Now we press the start button instead of turning a key. While this can discourage theft in some ways, if the battery dies or you lose the key, you’ll have to pay up at the dealer for a new one. It is also easier to leave the car running since cars are very quiet these days. You could accidentally leave the key in the car and walk away and the car would just stay running forever!
Misinterpretation of commands is one of the top problems drivers experience regarding voice recognition. Repeating yourself and taking your eyes off the road to connect with “computer lady” is a danger, but this convenient option could also save your life if it keeps your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. We ask Siri or Alexa to do a lot for us nowadays, so let’s hope this technology continues to develop into less of a distraction and more of the assistant we so badly want it to be. “CAR!” *ding* “CALL MOM!” *calling… MOM!*
Speed Sensitive Volume
The faster your car goes, the louder the wind noise becomes. Speed sensitive volume remedies this by increasing the volume of the radio proportional to speed. It’s a nice feature, especially on base model cars that have poor sound deadening. However, implementing this feature requires a vehicle speed signal to the radio, which adds undue complexity. How hard is it to turn the knob?
Some of the cheapest cars being sold right now come with Wi-Fi as standard equipment (such as the $13,000 Chevrolet Spark). But why-fi? Most people have cell phone plans that can serve as a wireless hotspot to share data with other devices, and the Wi-Fi usually comes with a subscription fee. This might be useful for a long road trip, but not for everybody’s everyday drive.
Steering Wheel Audio Controls
Back in the day, you had to move your arm over to the radio to change the station or adjust the volume. Not so anymore! Today’s steering wheels have more buttons than selections on a vending machine, and most of them are redundant to controls elsewhere. Since when did you need a pilot’s license to drive a car?
It seems all new cars come with a large infotainment screen. While it is nice for showing navigation information (as long as you consistently update the software), it seems to be a hindrance and distraction otherwise. It usually comes with the elimination of tactile buttons which make you take your eyes off the road to adjust settings such as radio volume or climate controls.
I’m not against most of these features (personally, I’d love to have the keyless ignition). I’m just the type of driver who puts more importance on the driving experience. However, we are living in an age where most of the vehicles are magical comfort-boxes that remove you from the experience instead of immersing you in it (you can hardly even find a manual transmission or hear new cars when they turn on)! But whether you’re looking for the ultimate comfort or the ultimate drive, you’ll be able to find that car on Carsforsale.com.
P.S. What ever happened to that person that fills up your gas tank for you?
Now, that’s a feature I’d pay for.
What can’t you live without in your car? Tell us below!