Tips, Tricks & Trends

Car Features We Don’t Really Need or Want

Modern-day cars have what seems like an endless amount of features to make your drive safer, more comfortable, and sometimes even just more fun. There are some features that are offered that sound way cooler than they actually turn out to be, and some of them are actually quite useless.

Voice Control

I’m not here to hate on any of these features, but I can’t say with any amount of confidence that a majority of people that have voice control options on their cars, actually use them. In fact, voice control options are all together relatively useless to most people. Any noise from the road, the car itself or passengers can render the voice control function essentially useless in many cars. While it may still work in others, for the hassle of yelling “Call mom” seven times many people just end up using the voice control on their phone.

Touchpads

Touchpads are a really cool ideal that almost never work well and are paired with much easier tools that accomplish the same end goal. Some cars, such as Audi and BMW, have touchpads that you can ‘draw’ on with your finger to type into the infotainment system for things like navigation. It sounds like a good idea in theory, but the technology seems more similar to that of an older digital agenda than a high-end car. The car is only able to recognize letters that are drawn out clearly and even with the most precise movements it is still prone to errors.

Navigation

Navigation is a cool feature that most people look for when they are purchasing their car, but it’s something that doesn’t usually get used as often as we anticipate. While navigation systems may be a big bonus for some people, it’s easier and more likely for someone to reach down and use their smartphone for directions. Brand new cars offer faster, more updated maps and routes, but they never seem to be quite as up to par as what we want from Google Maps.

Touch screen navigation system in a Tesla Model 3
| Angel Garcia/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Electronic Oil Level Measurements

As we move away from using dipsticks to quickly check the oil – assuming the owner knew what they were even looking for, electronic oil level measurement systems have seemed to become a new gimmick. While it sounds cool to be able to check your car’s oil level with the click of a button, the system all together has some faults in logic. With the introduction of this electronic system, dipsticks are being removed altogether, so while you can check your oil level you can’t necessarily check your oil quality – something you must be looking at the oil to determine. This can also be annoying for mechanics or DIY owners who can’t syphon oil out of the engine without a dipstick.

Artificial Engine Noise

Artificial engine noises achieved through speakers are another feature that many electric cars, such as the BMW I8, have to replace the fact that the car itself makes no satisfying noises. It may not make sense to some people why you would want to make your car sound louder than it is, artificial engine noises are able to produce the classic nodes that car enthusiasts love to hear. Artificial engine noises are the equivalent to a car ‘catfish’, it may sound good, but it’s all a lie.

2020 BMW i8 | BMW-1
2020 BMW i8 | BMW

Paddle Shifters

Paddle shifters always seem like a cool, sporty feature, but with today’s technology, your car’s automatic transmission is guaranteed to shift more accurately than you can. Paddle shifters are used to make a car feel more like a ‘driver’s car’ but without a clutch pedal, most driver’s are left feeling pretty empty inside. You’re either driving an automatic or a manual, and the in-between option seems to be left relatively unused by most drivers.

You may have read through this list and thought ‘Hey! I DO use those features’ and that’s fine too. Some people really appreciate the artificial engine noises and paddle shifters to make their car feel like it’s something it isn’t. When it comes down to it, these features are all personal preference, but really, for these ones specifically, we think we could live without them just fine.