5 New Car Features Consumer Reports Hates

Are all new car features meant to make your life easier? On the drawing board and in concept, almost all new car technology is meant to ensure you have a smoother, safer, and more advanced driving experience than before. Unfortunately, in some cases, these features have gone too far. Here are five new car features Consumer Reports says you can easily live without in your ride.

Flush or electronic door handles are one of the most useless new car features

Flush Door Handles of a Tesla Model 3 - these are a useless feature on most cars
Flush Door Handles of a Tesla Model 3 | Tesla

Why do some automakers install flush or electronic door handles? What’s wrong with reaching down, grabbing a door, and having it open using a mechanical latch? Do we really need everything on our cars to be electronic?

The idea behind these door handles is to improve aerodynamics and reduce drag, which should improve fuel economy or electric driving range. Seriously though, how much drag do the door handles create? This is a feature you’ll want to skip if you can.

Soft-touch surfaces and reflective interior trim can be a hassle

Reflective Surfaces on the Nissan Murano Dashboard can be distracting to drivers when the sun hits them.
Reflective Surfaces on the Nissan Murano Dashboard | Nissan

That shiny black interior trim that every car seems to have will create a reflection in the morning or evening sun. Instead of blocking out the sun with the sunshade, you’ve not got a surface on the dashboard that will reflect light into your eyes. Additionally, heavily padded dashboards and armrests can be difficult to clean.

Soft surfaces and reflective trim aren’t worth the added headaches, but you’ll have a hard time finding a new car without these features. Unfortunately, you’re probably stuck with it.

The new ways of shifting gears can be troublesome

Rotary Shifter in a Chrysler Pacifica
Rotary Shifter in a Chrysler Pacifica | Chrysler

In older cars, getting in and finding all of the controls wasn’t difficult. The shifter was in the same place, the wipers were on one side or the other, and in a few seconds, you could take off. Some newer cars have gear selectors that resemble volume knobs or buttons that engage the Park setting. Is this one of the new car features you can live without?

Switching to alternative ways to shift gears is part of new car technology. However, it comes with a steeper learning curve. If you’re unsure about the gear selector, Consumer Reports recommends you try doing a three-point turn in a parking lot to see how easy it is to change from Reverse to Drive and back again.

Some have already seen problems with do-it-all touchscreens

Massive Touchscreen in a Tesla Model S - This could b one of the most unsafe new car features offered
Massive Touchscreen in a Tesla Model S | Tesla

Tesla was the first brand to offer a touchscreen that replaced all of the control features of its vehicles. Now, many new EVs have these items. Thankfully, some automakers have seen the error of this path and now offer redundant controls with knobs and buttons.

If you’re considering a vehicle that uses a touchscreen for every item, you might want to read reviews and learn how many drivers have had problems with those screens. Try changing the volume or climate settings while driving. It might not be easy and it takes your focus off the road to complete this task. You might be in for an undesirable adventure.

You don’t need larger wheels and tires on your ride

21-Inch GT2 RS Wheels from Porsche
21-Inch GT2 RS Wheels | Porsche

Many modern vehicles offer 19, 20, or 21-inch wheels. These wheels reduce the size of the sidewalls to a nearly low-profile setting. These larger wheels with thinner tires are prone to pothole damage and often provide a harsher ride. If you can stick with smaller wheels and thicker sidewalls, you’ll have a much smoother ride.

Unfortunately, if you select the sportier trims and better handling packages of some vehicles, you’ll be stuck with the larger wheels. However, if you can avoid these items, you’ll have a nicer ride and could save some money in the process.

Next, check out five new car features Consumer Reports loves, or learn more about some new car features that you can live without in this video below:


8 Things That Will Be Gone From Cars by 2030; Will We Actually Miss Them?