Cars have come a long way over the past couple of decades. They used to come with roll-up windows and CD players, which turned into power auto up/down windows and Apple Carplay. And while many of the latest and greatest features have made our everyday commutes that much more bearable, there have been some automotive features over the years that are not-so-useful and others that are downright pointless. Here are a few that you might be familiar with.
1. Soft Close Doors
Soft-close doors were introduced in the automotive world around the early 1990s, Top Speed reports. However, while they work well for household items like cabinets and doors, soft-close doors are rather pointless in the modern automobile. Of course, some will disagree and contend that the powered, suction-type doors prevent damage due to slamming, but that’s not always true.
Repetitive slamming can actually damage the soft-close mechanism over time, which can lead to costly repairs. Also, there have been reported cases of people’s fingers getting caught and crushed when the doors close automatically. Ouch!
2. Rear-seat entertainment systems
We’ll admit that the rear-seat entertainment system was once a sign of luxury, but now, it’s kind of pointless. Sure, keeping your kids entertained on a long road trip is gold, but that’s what personal tablets are for, right? Plus, those little tablets are cheaper and more convenient than installing small TVs in your car’s headrests and trying to keep your kids’ attention with an old DVD. It’s sad to say, but it’s probably time for the rear-seat entertainment system to join the VCR in old-tech heaven.
3. Third-row seats in small crossovers
Have you ever sat in the third row of a Volkswagen Tiguan? Did you even know that extra seating is an option in that small crossover? Well, it is. And it’s also an option in small luxury crossovers like the Mercedes-Benz GLB. In both cases, that third row is practically useless given the fact that both cars are only designed to fit up to five passengers comfortably. As you can imagine, trying to stuff two more people in the cargo is not really a good idea.
4. Paddle shifters
Paddle shifters are little paddles that sit behind the steering wheel and allow the driver to take control of shifting the car’s gears with the flick of a finger. It’s like the shifters in F1 cars, although, not nearly as responsive or cool-looking. In fact, we have found that most of the cars with paddle shifters that are worth using are those with dual-clutch or ZF transmissions, which are typically very expensive.
Unfortunately, many automakers are installing them on cars with CVTs, which is completely pointless since CVTs don’t have gears. In the end, what could be a really cool feature is now pretty useless.
5. Smart park
Have you seen the new Hyundai Sonata’s “Smart Park” feature? It’s a feature that moves the car forward and backward autonomously in order to park it in tight spaces without the driver in it. The main point behind this feature is that it allows the driver to park the car without having to squeeze in or out of the doorway afterward.
If you live in a busy city or need to park your car in a really tight space every day, then this feature is a godsend. But if you don’t need to park your Sonata in tight spaces, then we found this feature to be utterly pointless. Although, you can definitely impress your friends with it from time to time, so maybe it’s not that pointless.
Some features have a shelf life
While the following features are mostly pointless, we will say that a few of them served their purpose at some point in time. However, it goes to show that some car features have a shelf life. As technology evolves so do the features in our cars. At least now we don’t have to worry about rolling up windows or even locking our door, the car does it for us.