9 Car Features That Aren’t Worth Paying For
As a nation, America loves it’s gadgets. From the now obsolete calculator watch (you got me through sixth grade math, and I’ll always love you for it), to the app loaded smartphone, gadgets have found their way into every part of our lives, and the car is no exception. But before you go waving your money in the car dealer’s face and shouting “I want one with everything on it!” take a moment and consider which car features are worth the price. Here are nine that you may want to skip out on.
1. Dual zone climate control
This one makes about as much sense as having smoking and nonsmoking sections on airplanes. Air, be it warm, cold, or smokey, has a natural tendency to disperse evenly throughout a room (or car) thanks to entropic pressure. So aside from maybe producing a thunderstorm between the driver and passenger seats, having two different climate controls a couple of feet away from each other isn’t going to do anyone much good.
2. Voice command
We’ve been warned time and time again how dangerous it is to drive while distracted. In that light, it seems like it would be a really good idea to do away with all of the buttons and dials inside the car and just make the whole thing voice responsive. The problem is that the manufacturers that have tried it have come up with voice command instructions that are way too complicated and confusing to use. It actually requires more energy and concentration to figure out how to tell your car to turn on the windshield wipers then to just turn the knob yourself.
3. CD player
I know, it’s never fun to see something that was once so cutting edge and hip become obsolete. CD players, however, are on their way out. And just as you probably wouldn’t bother to pay extra for a cassette deck in your car, you shouldn’t for CDs either. Chances are that you have all of your favorite music captured on your mobile device anyway. If you need to hear that music pumping out through your car’s speakers, then opt for a car with Aux input jack. That way you can tap into music from your smartphone, MP3 player, or satellite radio.
4. TV System
Okay, let me preface this: If you have a fussy child and you need to take long car trips, built in DVD/TV systems in your car are priceless. If, on the other hand, you don’t have any children and there’s seldom more than one or two people in your car at once, then what good is a TV in the back going to do you anyway? I guess you could listen to the TV, or set up a complex system of mirrors so you could watch it from the front, but come on; how much entertainment do you need all at once? Besides, if texting while driving is a bad idea, I can’t imagine that watching TV could be much better.
5. Self parking cars
Wait a minute, self parking cars? Is that a real thing? Apparently, yes. Now look, maybe I’m way off base, but it seems to me that if you don’t know how to park your own car, then maybe you shouldn’t be driving it. Besides, here’s a fun fact: If a self parking car screws up and scrapes the paint off of an adjacent vehicle, you’re still the one who gets to pay for it.
6. Built-in navigation systems
Getting lost on the road sucks. That’s why when built-in GPS systems first started showing up in cars, it was such a leap forward. However, technology moves on, and what was once a great feature is now somewhat redundant. If you own a smart device, you can now download any number of navigational GPS programs for free or close to it., and even if you don’t, it’s still generally more cost effective to just purchase a portable GPS unit than to opt for the built-in kind, and you’ll be able to use it no matter what car you get into.
7. In-car Internet
You’ve probably already got the internet on your phone, why do you need it built into your car too? You would not believe all of the things that have to be installed to turn a car into a WiFi hotspot on wheels. Just stick with the phone/ipad. It’ll cost you a lot less, and you’ll be able to use it outside the car too.
8. Power whatever
Yes, it’s nice to be able to roll down the window without pulling a muscle, and locking all your car doors involved a bit more stretching and grunting before power locks were introduced. But really, do we need to power-ize everything? Are trunks really that hard to open without help? Do doors not shut as well when their not being controlled by a tiny motor? Can I not find the perfect seat position without getting electricity involved? Just remember: if it’s an electrical system, it can break. So before you pay more for a self-opening and closing tailgate, ask yourself how much extra you’re willing to pay for something that you can just as easily do yourself, and that you probably will be doing yourself a few years down the line once the motor conks out.
9. Adaptive headlights
Ok, this seems like it should be a good idea in theory. After all, when it’s dark outside and you’re turning a corner, it’s nice to be able to see what’s coming up. However, the question is, has anyone ever really been in a situation where this was needed? I don’t know about anyone else, but when I turn a corner at night, I tend to slow down a little bit; the more angled the turn, the slower I go. As such, I have plenty of time to realign my forward facing headlights with the road I’m on before shooting off at high speeds. Adaptive headlights sound like solutions to a problem that never really existed. Besides, what happens when you jerk the wheel to avoid something in the road, do you momentarily lose your forward facing lights as the beams shoot off to the side for a moment? The fact is, if they really were the safety breakthrough that some manufacturers claim, they’d show up on more than just overpriced luxury vehicles. There’s a reason that seatbelts come standard in every new car; it’s because they work.