5 Features That New Cars Could Do Without

The new cars in the market today are filled with high-tech features and gadgetry that will make any Boomer’s head spin. We should know. We get to drive a lot of different cars every year to review them and report back accordingly. And although we push every button and flick every switch to see what they will do, we’ll admit that not every feature in every car is entirely useful for your daily drive.

As such, here are five features that some cars in the new market could do without.

1. Automatic Start and Stop

The driver's display of the 2023 Kia Telluride which presents menus and ADAS safety feature information
The driver’s display of the 2023 Kia Telluride | Kia America

The automatic start and stop feature can be found in most cars produced over the last decade. The concept is simple – turn the car’s engine off while it’s at a complete stop to save gas. However, we have found that some auto start/stop features lag when starting back up, which gets annoying while driving. What’s also annoying is that when the engine shuts off, the air conditioning does, too, which is even more inconvenient.

2. HVAC controls in the infotainment system

It’s rare to see climate control buttons on a new car’s center console nowadays. Many automakers, like Tesla and Volkswagen, have incorporated these controls into the car’s infotainment screen. But what happens if the screen breaks? There go your precious climate controls. No, thank you, please stick to the buttons.

3. Continuously variable transmissions

2023 Nissan Altima shifter
2023 Nissan Altima | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

In the last few years, many automakers, like Honda, have widely used continuously variable transmissions (CVT) in their cars. Unlike their traditionally geared counterparts, CVTs operate with a belt and two pulleys, which create infinite gear ratios for optimal efficiency and performance

Driving-wise, a CVT will make a car feel like it’s operating on a single gear, which can get buzzy at cruising speeds. CVTs also make cars slow to accelerate, which is annoying if you’re a driving enthusiast. Fortunately, cars like the Toyota Corolla have a “launch gear,” or a traditional first gear, in their CVT to make their acceleration snappier.

4. Lane assist

A driver assist graphic on an instrument panel.
A driver assist graphic on an instrument panel. | Getty Images

The lane-assist feature has popped up on many new cars as a driver-assist feature. When activated, it uses the car’s sensors and cameras to keep it in the center of the lane. It works well in some vehicles, but in others, it can ping-pong the car in between the lines making it look like you’ve had a few too many. For the most part, we think that cars can do without this feature. Fortunately, there’s a button to turn it off.

5. Control knobs for infotainment systems

Infotainment system touchscreen in 2023 Hyundai Venue, most affordable new SUV with the best warranty coverage
2023 Hyundai Venue | Hyundai

Although touchscreen infotainment systems are prevalent in most new cars today, plenty still use a control knob in the center console. And while this antiquated technology works fine, we think it’s cumbersome to use (we’re looking at you, Mazda). Just stick with a touchscreen; it’s easier and less distracting to use.

New car features that don’t need to exist

Although the features that we outlined here can be helpful when driving, they’re not completely necessary. Gone are the days of analog driving, but that doesn’t mean these fancy new features must be in every car.