7 Most Useless Car Features

With every new iteration of vehicles, we get a slew of new car features. Some things are valuable, easy things to pay for because they will get so much use. However, others are completely useless and don’t provide any value. Sometimes automakers make things a little more confusing than they need to be. Furthermore, we think with certain car-related features, simple is always better. That’s why these are the most useless car features.

1. Social media integration

2023 Lexus UX250
2023 Lexus UX250 | Lexus

According to Top Gear, one of the most useless car features is social media integration and messaging. Sure, adding Apple CarPlay or Android Auto to your infotainment system is outstanding. It turns your car’s software operating system into your cell phone. However, do you really need to use social media? Especially the messaging aspect of Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and any other social media platform. Automakers attempt to cut down on distracted driving by reading your texts aloud, adding voice commands, and more, but then let you get Facebook notifications on your car’s infotainment system.

2. Gesture control

Next, we have a feature that isn’t as common as others on this list. In real life, gestures are used to greet someone, say goodbye, or even express dismay toward someone unkindly. However, in cars, they’re entirely unnecessary. We think the idea with gesture control was to prevent drivers from having to touch physical knobs, buttons, or touchscreens. Unfortunately, moving your hand in a specific location takes just about the same level of attention, and it doesn’t accomplish anything that voice commands can’t.

3. Anything usable that’s installed for the aesthetic

A white 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe midsize SUV is driving off-road.
The 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe | Hyundai

Thirdly, a useless car feature is one that doesn’t get the job done but pretends it does. This could be any number of different things. Top Gear gave a few good examples, like roof rails that barely hold any weight, brush guards that offer little protection, and more. We want to add some vehicles’ “rugged” exterior designs to this list. If the owner can’t take a car off-roading or use any of the features for their intended purpose, donning the look of a vehicle that could do those things is pretty useless.

4. Heated/cooled cup holders

2022 Summit Reserve interior
Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve | Jeep

Alright, this one isn’t a completely useless feature. It obviously fulfills its purpose of heating or cooling your drinks while they sit in your car’s cup holder. A better term to describe this particular feature would be “over-the-top.” While automakers nickel and dime us for everything a vehicle offers, inside and out, some people are paying extra for this extravagant piece of luxury. It might come from a place of envy, but we don’t think heated, and cooled cup holders are worth the price.

5. Massaging seats

Dashboard and front seats in 2023 Mazda CX-30
2023 Mazda CX-30 | Mazda

Fifth is a good set of massaging seats. Similarly to the cup holders, this is something people choose to pay a lot of extra money for. As a result, they’re sitting in their car during a road trip, or maybe a ride to the store, getting a back massage. Not only is this a little over-the-top, but it’s a little dangerous. Falling asleep or being too comfortable while driving isn’t a good thing. According to Hot Cars, it can numb your nerves if used too much, sitting too comfortably is dangerous, and it can drain your car’s battery more quickly.

6. G-force meter

2022 Dodge Challenger | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit
2022 Dodge Challenger | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

Sixth is a G-force meter, not found in many modern vehicles. However, for those that do have it, why? According to Top Gear, G-force is very important to a pilot, not a driver. For pilots, heading too far into positive or negative G can cause them to pass out, which is catastrophic. In a car, however, it’s basically just a number for someone with a Dodge Challenger to brag to their friends about. Some might find it cool, but we think it’s a pretty useless car feature.

7. Engine sound synthesizers

The Hellcat V8 makes V6 power look diminutive.
SRT Hellcat 6.2L supercharged V8 | Stellantis

Lastly, engine sound synthesizers are a pretty useless feature. For as long as cars have existed, humans have loved the sound of engines. We don’t understand why, and it doesn’t really matter. Unfortunately, as Top Gear so elegantly put it, “that wonderfully mellifluous and sonorous sound is, at its core, the sound of inefficiency.” As a result, modern vehicles with better fuel economy (or all-electric models) don’t have such a great engine sound. Automakers’ solution? Create artificial engine sounds that are more pleasing to the ear. At least for us, it’s pretty useless because if we’re not going fast, what good is a loud engine?

Some car features are useless

In conclusion, there are a few car features we think are completely useless. Some people might disagree and think these things add value to a vehicle, which is fine. However, if you’re paying extra to cool your drink in your cup holder, to make your engine sound cooler, or to get a Facebook notification from your Aunt Betty on the go, we think you’re wasting money.

Are there any other features you’ve noticed in cars recently that are completely useless or just a bit over-the-top?

RELATED: 3 Over-the-Top Car Features You Don’t Need