Tips, Tricks & Trends

This Car Feature Sounds Cool but Is Nothing but Trouble

When automakers offer new car features, consumers typically get excited. Usually, there are enhancements designed to make driving easier, safer, and more enjoyable. However, there have been some vehicle upgrades that have proven to be more problematic than they’re worth. There is one car feature, in particular, that upon its introduction seemed cool, but in reality, it is nothing but trouble.

Inventions that fell on deaf ears, and critics’ ‘worst of’ reviews

Paddle shifters are fantastic little options for those behind the wheel of a top-performing machine in race-like conditions. But, automakers began adding the sporty features to mid-size sedans and SUVs as well in an attempt to create that ‘sporty feel’ of those not so sporty vehicles.

Some vehicles began offering social media options as part of the infotainment systems. Not an entirely useful feature, since most people aren’t trying to tweet while they’re driving. Heads-up display is another example of an upgrade that not everyone has embraced. With the smart innovations with the gauge clusters and screen technology, many are finding just what they need visually there, without the windshield display.

From radio to infotainment systems

Technological innovations have come a long way, and many have been smart and safety-driven. In recent years, most vehicles have transitioned from the radio and audio of old to designing complete infotainment systems.

Listening to your favorite tunes is just an understood benchmark now. How you use Bluetooth to connect to various music devices, how you use voice command for navigation options, and how you connect with the outside world is what convenience is all about behind the wheel. Imagine the teens getting their licenses today, who will never know the true pain of dialing a knob to find a radio station without static. Or worse yet, having to deal with a CD skipping because you steered your car over a bumpy road.

The cool car feature that is more of a headache

Along with the audio and infotainment upgrades, came the touchscreen and touchpad controls. For many, this revolutionized things and allowed drivers to make quick decisions, without taking their eyes off the road.

However, for some models, using touchpads to adjust air vent controls, or to try and scroll through sub-menus of options has become a hassle. Many of the pads aren’t precise, making the selection process more annoying and distracting. Despite being designed to simplify things, many of the pad-driven selection processes are actually pulling eyes off the road.

Impractical and in many cases, unsafe

Automakers are trying to keep up with the demands for connectivity and control. But are they really considering the practicality and safety? Hands-free technology is essential, and being able to connect without taking your hands off the wheel is critical.

However, when vehicles require more attention to screen information, or concentration to make precise selections with a touchscreen, it can end up being more impractical and unsafe. While you might consider many of these additional tech options cool, it’s best to consider how you drive and whether or not you need another screen to manage.

When you’re ready to consider a new or new-to-you vehicle, be mindful of the car features that make the most sense for your driving lifestyle. Staying connected is an obvious perk. But having to spend too much time navigating your screens, could be more of a hassle than an improvement.

Your best bet is to sample the available tech and options during your test drives. If you find you’re pulling your hands off the wheel and eyes off the road too often, it’s probably a car feature you don’t need.