Skip or Keep – Which Car Features Do You Really Need in Your New Car?

Sell, keep, or toss is a game played on some TV shows to help homeowners clean up the clutter. The same applies to buying a new car, using skip or keep. Which features do you need in your new car, and which ones should you avoid? Are there items the dealer added that you don’t want to pay for in the vehicle you see? Let’s play our version of sell, keep, or toss using skip or keep.

Keep: safety features that are must-have items in your car

According to Consumer Reports, your new vehicle needs to have a couple of items that help you avoid an accident and stay a bit safer on the road. These items are:

  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Forward collision warning
  • Blind-spot monitoring/alert

Items that are nice to have but not required are automatic high beams and rear cross-traffic warnings. If you find other included safety features in your vehicle, they could be dealer add-ons that you can negotiate. If those items are part of the trim package, you might be stuck with them.

Skip: are the bigger wheels important to you?

These BMW Large Wheels cause a stiffer ride than standard wheel sizes.
BMW Large Wheels | BMW

Larger wheels typically use low-profile tires, which means less cushion between you and the road. The stiffer ride translates to less comfort for your and your passengers. Yes, larger wheels look great, but they don’t add anything to your drive. Unless you’re blown away by the look of larger wheels, stick to the stock wheels. You’ll pay a little less and enjoy a more comfortable ride with the stock wheel size on your car.

Keep: a remote engine starter is an excellent car feature

If you live in an area with harsh winters or hot summers, you’ll truly appreciate a remote engine starter. Make sure this starter also engages the climate control system to warm up your cabin and defrost your windows on cold mornings. When you face extreme temperatures, Hot Cars tells us a remote engine starter is a useful feature to include in your car.

Skip: don’t pay extra for onboard navigation

This Dashboard with Navigation Screen is one of the car features you should skip.
Dashboard with Navigation Screen | Getty Images

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Even though most of us use GPS to navigate areas we’re unfamiliar with, we mostly do this via smartphone technology and don’t need an onboard navigation system. In fact, both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto project the app data from your smartphone to your infotainment system to give you the map layout on the screen. An onboard navigation system is an unnecessary car feature because of its redundancy with your smartphone.

Keep: heated and ventilated seats are wonderful car features

Heated and Cooled Seats are some of the best car features you can have in your vehicle.
Heated and Cooled Seats | Shutterstock

Some automakers only offer heated seats, but those that offer seats with ventilation or cooling add a bit more to the comfort level of your drive. According to Forbes, heated seats hit the top of the list regarding features consumers desire the most. If you don’t face cold weather, you may prefer the cooled seats, which could be a regional offering in your area.

Skip: don’t pay for piped in fake engine noises

Why are some buyers paying for electronic engine noise enhancements? This is one of the most useless features you can find, and thankfully, it’s one that most shoppers have no interest in buying. Those that want this feature are looking to make their car sound louder and more aggressive. Most drivers would rather have a quieter ride and not a louder one on the way to work.

Keep: several convenience items are must-have car features you’ll enjoy

Some items you should look for that make your drive more convenient and easier to experience include:

  • Android Auto/Apple CarPlay
  • Knobs to control the audio and climate systems
  • USB charging ports
  • Auto-dimming mirrors

A few items that would be nice to have but aren’t required include:

  • 360-degree surround-view camera system
  • Keyless entry
  • Multi-zone climate system
  • Head-up display
  • Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Wireless charging pad

Skip: what convenience items can you live without

Toyota Rear-Seat Entertainment System is a feature you can skip
Toyota Rear-Seat Entertainment System | Toyota

According to Business Insider, some of the car features you absolutely don’t need are:

  • Rear-seat entertainment system
  • Paddle shifters
  • Social media integration
  • Gesture control

What should you do if some of the car features you don’t want are included in the vehicle you want to buy?

When the car features you don’t want are already part of a model on the dealer lot, you can ask to negotiate these features out of the cost. If the items are dealer-added, they should be negotiable. However, if the items are part of the trim level, you’ll have to either live with them or select a different trim of that vehicle.

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